How to Print to PDF

Quickly convert anything to PDF on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux

To "print" a PDF just means to save something to a PDF file instead of to a physical piece of paper. Printing to a PDF is usually much faster than using a PDF converter tool, and is helpful not only for saving a web page offline but also so that you can share things in the very popular and widely acceptable PDF file format.

What separates a PDF printer from a converter is that the printer actually appears as a printer and is listed next to any other installed printers. When it's time to print, just choose the PDF option instead of a regular printer, and a new PDF will be created that's a replica of whatever it is you're printing.

There are multiple ways to do this. If the operating system or program you're using doesn't support PDF printing, there are third-party tools that can be used instead that will install a virtual printer that saves anything to PDF.

This article includes options for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

Use the Built-in PDF Printer

Depending on the software or operating system you're using, you might be able to print to PDF without even having to install anything.

Windows 10

Screenshot of the Microsoft Print to PDF option in Word on Windows 10
Printing to PDF in Windows 10 Using MS Word.

A built-in PDF printer is included in Windows 10 called Microsoft Print to PDF that works regardless of the program you're using. Go through the regular printing process but choose the PDF option instead of a physical printer, after which you'll be asked where you want to save the new PDF file.

If you don't see the "print to PDF" printer listed in Windows 10, you can install it in a few simple steps.

  1. Open the Power User Menu with the Win+X keyboard shortcut.

  2. Choose Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners > Add a printer or scanner.

    Screenshot of the add a printer or scanner option in Windows 10 settings
    The 'Add a Printer or Scanner' Option in Windows 10.
  3. Select the link called The printer that I want isn't listed.

  4. Select Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings, and then select Next.

    Screenshot of the add printer dialog box in Windows 10
    Windows 10 Option to Add a Local Printer.
  5. Choose FILE: (Print to File) under the Use an existing port option, and then select Next.

    Screenshot of the printer port options in Windows 10
    Windows 10 Printer Port Options.
  6. Choose Microsoft from the left side, and then Microsoft Print To PDF from the right side.

    Screenshot of the print to pdf option when installing printers in Windows 10
    Installing the 'Microsoft Print To PDF' Printer.
  7. Select Next and follow through with the wizard, accepting any defaults to add the PDF printer to Windows 10. When asked, you can name the printer anything you like.

Linux

Some versions of Linux have a similar option as Windows 10 when printing a document.

Screenshot of the print to file option in Ubuntu to save a web page to PDF
Printing to PDF in Ubuntu.

To print to PDF on Linux, choose Print to File instead of a regular printer. If you're given the option, select PDF as the output format, otherwise it will default to the PDF format. Use the folder picker to choose where to save it and what to name it, and then use the Print button to finish.

If your Linux operating system doesn't support PDF printing by default, you can install a third-party tool. There's more on that below.

Google Chrome

  1. Use the Ctrl+P keyboard shortcut to open the print options, or go into Chrome's menu (the three stacked dots) and choose Print.

  2. Pick Save as PDF from the menu next to Destination.

    Screenshot of the Chrome built-in PDF printer option
    'Save as PDF' Option in Chrome.
  3. Select Save to name the PDF and choose where it should go.

Safari on macOS

There are two ways to print to PDF from Safari: via File > Export as PDF or through the regular print function.

  1. Go to File > Print or use the Command+P keyboard shortcut.

  2. Select PDF from the menu on the bottom left side of the print dialog box, and choose Save as PDF.

    Save as PDF option in Safari on macOS Big Sur
    'Save as PDF' Option in Safari for Mac.

    Other options are available here, too, like to save to iCloud Drive or send it as an email.

  3. Name the PDF and save it wherever you like.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Apple's iOS and iPadOS devices have a PDF printer available, too, and you don't need to install any strange apps or pay for anything. This method uses the Apple Books app, so you need to get that if you don't already have it.

From the web page you want to have in the PDF format, use the share option in Safari to open a new menu. From there, select Books like you see below, and the PDF will be created and automatically inserted into your library.

Screenshot of the send to Books option on an iPad
Safari's Web Page Sharing Options.

The Apple Books method works for other things, too, like for saving photos to PDF. If you don't see the option from the share menu, scroll to the far right, select More, and then pick it from the list.

Another way to save a web page to PDF from your iPhone or iPad is to use Safari's built-in PDF creator. This lets you draw on the PDF and save it to iCloud Drive or send it through email or another messaging app.

From the page you want to print, open the share menu and tap Options just below the page's title and above the listed apps. Select PDF and then Back. Now to you can share it through one of your apps, tap Markup to draw on it, save it to Files, etc.

Screenshot of the iPad PDF sharing options
PDF Sharing Options on iPad.

Android

The easiest way to print to PDF on Android is to use the Chrome app since, much like the desktop version, it includes the option by default.

  1. With the page open that you want to print, open the menu button at the top right and navigate to Share > Print.

  2. Choose Save to PDF as the printer.

    Screenshots of the Save as PDF option in Chrome for Android
    Save as PDF Option in Chrome for Android.

    If you plan to upload the PDF to your Google Drive account, feel free to do that now by selecting Save to Google Drive. You'll have the option later, too.

  3. Change the save settings if you wish, like to include or exclude color or certain pages. Do this by selecting the down arrow at the top.

  4. Select the PDF button off to the side.

  5. When prompted to save, name the file whatever you wish and then either press SAVE or use the menu button at the top to pick Drive so that it'll be sent to your Google Drive account instead.

    Screenshots of Chrome for Android saving a PDF file
    PDF Save Options on Android.

Google Docs

Google Docs isn't an operating system, but considering how widely used this word processing tool is, we'd be remiss not to mention its PDF printing abilities.

There are a few ways to convert a Google doc to PDF, but we'll go over the one that saves the file to your computer. It's simple: open the document and go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf).

Screenshot of the download as PDF option in Google Docs
Google Docs PDF Download Option.

You can do the same with Google Sheets and Google Slides.

Install a Free PDF Printer

If you're not running an OS or software program that supports PDF printing by default, you can install a third-party printer tool. There are numerous programs that can be installed to create a virtual printer for the sole purpose of printing anything to a PDF.

Once installed, the virtual printer is listed next to any other printer and can be selected just as easily as a standard, physical one. Different PDF printers have different options though, so some of them might immediately save the document to PDF but others might invoke the printing software and ask how you want to save it (e.g., compression options, where to store it, etc.).

Some examples include CutePDF Writer, PDF24 Creator, PDFlite, Pdf995, PDFCreator, Ashampoo PDF Free, TinyPDF, and doPDF.

It's important to be careful when installing some of these programs, particularly PDFlite, because they might ask you to install some other unrelated programs that you don't need. You can choose not to install them, just be sure to skip them when asked.

Use a Conversion Tool Instead

If you just want to print a web page to PDF, you don't have to worry about installing anything. While it's true that the methods above do let you convert web pages to PDF, they're unnecessary since there are online PDF printers that can do that.

With an online PDF printer, you just have to plug the page's URL into the converter. For example, with PDFmyURL.com or Web2PDF, paste the page's URL into the textbox and then hit the save or convert button to make the PDF, and follow any other directions to download it.

Both of these online PDF printers save a small watermark on the page.

This doesn't count as a no-install PDF printer, but the Print Friendly & PDF add-on can be installed to Firefox to print web pages to PDF without having to install a system-wide PDF printer that applies to all of your programs.

If you're on a mobile device, you might have better luck with a dedicated converter instead of trying to upload the PDF through a website. UrlToPDF is one example of a method for Android.

Keep in mind that there are also PDF converter programs that can convert files to the PDF format. For example, Doxillion and Zamzar can save MS Word formats like DOCX to PDF. However, in this example, instead of using a PDF printer that requires you to open the DOCX file in Word first before you "print" it, a file converter program can save the file to PDF without it being open in a DOCX viewer.

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