Almost every computer and mobile device on the face of the Earth can open a PDF file, which makes the format extremely useful for sharing documents. The person you’re sending the document to doesn’t need any software or fonts to see it exactly what you’re seeing, and thanks to our ever-evolving operating systems, you can now print to PDF in Windows 10 with little to no hassle.
Doing so hasn’t always been easy, however. If you’re running an older OS, the option to print PDF may not be available. What’s more, you may want to opt for a third-party alternative, which will afford you additional functionality. Regardless of which method you prefer, though, creating a PDF in Windows is easier now than ever before.
Whether you want to use Windows 10’s own PDF printer, or remain loyal to Windows 7 and 8, this guide will walk you through the process every step of the way. Here is our comprehensive rundown of the best ways to print to PDF in Windows.
Looking to take things a step further? We also have a guide on how to convert PDFs into DocX files.
How to print to PDF using native tools in Windows 10
MacOS and Linux users have had a PDF printer included by default for more than a decade, and a number of browsers have made it a cinch for a while now, but Microsoft didn’t add the feature until Windows 10. Thankfully, it should be activated by default. To use it, go to print your document as you normally would, and select Microsoft Print To PDF as your printer.
You’ll be asked where you’d like to save the resulting file, and after a few seconds, you’ll have a brand-new PDF. If for whatever reason Microsoft Print To PDF isn’t listed as an option, don’t fret, as it’s easy to set up. The first step, is to navigate to the Windows 10 Settings page, which you can find in the Start menu. Once there, click on Devices.
The ensuing window automatically opens the Printers & scanners menu, which shows each printer available to the Windows 10 user. This is where — if all was well — you would see Microsoft Print to PDF listed alongside real-world printers. In this scenario, however, it’s not, so to fix that, you need to click Add a printer or scanner at the top of the window.
From there, Windows will attempt to find your elusive printer, but since the one we’re trying to install doesn’t exist in the physical world, it will come up short. Simply click the The printer that I want isn’t listed prompt, which should appear shortly.
This opens up a new window, one in which you can add a printer manually. Select Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings. In the next window, open the drop-down menu beside Use an existing port, select FILE: (Print to File), and click Next.
In the following window, choose “Microsoft” as the manufacturer, then scroll down to highlight Microsoft Print To PDF before hitting Next again. When given the choice to replace the current driver or use the driver already installed, we recommend simply using the current driver and selecting Next. After Windows 10 prompts you to name the print-to-PDF feature — we recommend just assigning it the default name so it’s easier to find — click Next one last time to install the desired printer.
With the function now available for use, simply open the document or webpage you wish to convert to PDF and navigate to the Print function. When prompted, select Microsoft Print to PDF in the list of printer destinations and click Print to convert the file to PDF.
If done correctly, the page will immediately ask you where you’d like to save the PDF document, and to give the file a name. Simply choose a save location on your storage drive, give it a unique name, and hit Save to create your PDF. Once saved, use one of these PDF editors to make any changes, if need be.