How to print to PDF in Windows

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Printing to PDF hasn’t always been easy in Windows. 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 don’t worry: Microsoft did eventually add the feature to Windows 10, and now it should be activated by default.

Here is our comprehensive rundown of how to print to PDF in Windows. We also have other helpful guides too, including how to password protect a PDF, convert a PDF to Excel, and combine PDF files.

Using native tools in Windows 10

Step 1: Go to print your document as you normally would, and select Microsoft Print To PDF as your printer.

Print to PDF in Windows

Step 2: You’ll be asked where you’d like to save the resulting file. Choose the location and a name and click OK. 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: It’s easy to set up.

Setting up Microsoft Print To PDF

Step 1: Navigate to the Windows 10 Settings page, which you can find in the Start menu. Once there, click on Devices.

Print to PDF in Windows

Step 2: 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.

Print to PDF in Windows

Step 3: 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 on The printer that I want isn’t listed prompt, which should appear shortly.

Step 4: 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.

Print to PDF in Windows

Step 5: In the following window, choose Microsoft as the manufacturer, then scroll down to highlight Microsoft Print To PDF before hitting Next again.

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: 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.

Step 8: With the function now available for use, simply open the document or web page 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.

Step 9: 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.

Using a third-party application

Although the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system makes it very easy to print to PDF in Windows 10, older versions of Windows may not, and users may want access to more advanced options when it comes to controlling their print-to-PDF settings. In these cases, third-party software can offer an alternative way to “print” your documents into PDF form.

Adobe Acrobat

If you have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer, you’ve got another print-to-PDF option. This is great for those using Windows 7 or 8, because neither operating system comes pre-installed with a PDF printer. Although it’s an expensive tool, there is a free trial available for those looking for a short-term solution.

Once installed, head to the document printer as you usually would and select Adobe PDF as your printer.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 4.42.09 PM

Click Print or Save, then name your document and choose a save location for the resulting file. From here, you can do what you like with it — you can even turn your PDF into a JPEG.

doPDF

For those of you without Adobe Acrobat or Windows 10, rest assured you can still print to PDF with the right PDF converter, even if the process is a bit trickier. We recommend the free converter doPDF, which you can download from the developer’s official website. We prefer this software because, unlike similar software, it doesn’t force you to download any random add-ons or malware. It also works with both Windows 7 and the newest iterations of Windows 8, as well as Windows 10. When you get to the website, simply click the green Download Now! button, which is located directly beneath Free PDF Converter.

print pdf windows dopdf02

Once clicked, the installer will download to your computer. Access your Downloads folder and run the doPDF installer — it will appear as an executable file. Afterward, install the optional add-on for Microsoft Office, or uncheck the box to stick with the basics (recommended).

print pdf windows dopdf01

Step 1: Launch the application as you would any other piece of software, and you’ll immediately see an option to Convert a file to PDF.

Step 2: Click the Browse button and choose which file you’d like to convert to PDF.

print pdf windows dopdf03

Step 3: Once you’ve selected a file, click Create and choose a save location for your new PDF. Then, click OK to finish.

print pdf windows dopdf05
Product Review

It's a camera! It's a printer! And it's more fun than it has any right to be

By going digital and adding a built-in mobile printer, the Instax Mini LiPlay puts more features into a smaller form factor than previous Instax cameras, while still being every bit as fun.
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Social Media

These are the best ways to make your own animated GIF to share

Love sharing GIFs with your friends and peers, but wish you could make your own? Here's how to do so in Photoshop, or using a few other methods that don't require you to shell out a premium fee with each calendar year.
Home Theater

Got a long plane ride? Here's how to download movies from Netflix

If you want to watch your favorite Netflix films and TV shows but don't have a data connection, you need to download them to view offline. Here, we show you how to download movies and TV series from Netflix in iOS, Android, or Windows 10.
Computing

Air, Pro, or just a MacBook? Here's our guide to finding the right Apple laptop

Apple's lineup of MacBooks has started to swell, leaving fans a bit confused about which laptop they should buy. Depending on what you're looking for, we'll point you in the right direction.
Computing

Russian hackers behind ‘world’s most murderous malware’ probing U.S. power grid

A hacking group linked to the Russian government has attempted to breach the U.S. power grid. Security experts tracked the hackers, and warn that they were probing the grid for weaknesses.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

15-inch laptops come with extra power, but which of these wields it better?

HP's latest "gem-cut" Spectre x360 15 adds powerful components to make it the fastest 2-in-1 we've ever tested. Can it take on the equally fast and incredibly svelte Dell XPS 15?
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Computing

Make your games sound amazing with one of these sets of awesome gaming speakers

If you want to take your gaming sound to the next level, you need to find the best gaming speakers for your set up. Whether you're on a tight budget, want some fancy RGB lighting, or just need the best speaker set money can buy, these great…
Computing

I bought a four-year-old MacBook Pro instead of a new one. Here’s why

The new MacBook Pros have a ton of advantages over the older options, but when it came to buying a replacement machine for myself, I found myself returning to 2015 rather than picking up Apple's latest and greatest.
Computing

Why OLED gaming monitors may be further from reality than we thought

Earlier this year, Dell showed us the promise of an exciting new future for gaming monitors with the reveal of the Alienware 55-inch OLED gaming display. We loved it. But according to new reports, it may never see the light of day.
Deals

Walmart cuts $300 off Dell Inspiron 5680 gaming desktop for gamers on a budget

If you're stashing money but want an upgradeable rig that will go a long way, then this solid deal on the Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5680 with Intel Core i5-8400 is for you. It is now available for only $700 at Walmart.
Computing

Genius uses 19th-century tech to prove Google copied its song lyrics

Song lyrics website Genius says that it proved that Google has been copying its lyrics and posting them on its own search results page. And Genius says it was able to do it by using a decidedly old-school form communications tech.