How to print to PDF in Windows

Printing to PDF can be a great way to save a document on your computer, especially if you don’t have immediate access to a printer. If you have Windows, you know the process has not always been seamless. Now, with Windows 10, print to PDF should be one of your default functions on your computer, making it easily accessible.

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.

Step 2: You’ll be asked where you’d like to save the file. Choose the location and a name, and click OK or Save. 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 worry: 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 or search for from the search bar. Once there, click on Devices.

Step 2: Once in Devices, select the Printers & Scanners section from the left menu. If you have the Microsoft Print to PDF option, you should see it here with the list of your potential printing options. If you don’t see it, select the option that says Add a Printer or Scanner.

Step 3: From there, Windows will attempt to find your elusive printer, and it won’t work (although it may find other local printers). When it’s finished, select the option that says The Printer That I Want Isn’t Listed. This will open a secondary window with options for finding printers. At the bottom, you should see an option to Add a Local Printer or Network Printer With Manual Settings. Select this option and then click Next.

Step 4:  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 in 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 OS comes 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.


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.

doPDF screenshot

When you get to the website, scroll down, and simply click the green Download DOPDF (FREE) button, which is located on the right side of the screen.

After the download is complete, you can run the program’s installer through the Downloads folder on your computer. When that’s done, you can either operate the program as you would with any other, or you can use the MS Office add-on. 

Step 1: Launch the application as you would any other piece of software. In the tabs at the top, make sure that you are in Create One Document. Here, you will see a section that says Create PDF Immediately. The printer selection should be automatically set to doPDF, which you can leave as is.

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

Step 3: When you have chosen your file, you can choose the “create” button to save your PDF. You can also use doPDF’s printer option, which allows you to use in other documents to make PDF versions.

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