How to Save Any File as PDF

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There are several ways to save files with almost any file extension as a PDF file. You can scan a document and save it as a PDF file. You can install a free PDF printer and print a document into a PDF file. Or you can use built-in features of your office suite to save a document as a PDF file.

Scan to PDF

When you have only a hard copy of your document and want to scan it, make sure that you select Scan to PDF or a similar setting in your scanner software.

I use HP’s Deskjet 2050 All-in-One J510 printer/scanner/copier device and the settings in their software are pretty obvious:

HP Scan — HP Deskjet 2050 J510 series (USB)

HP Scan — HP Deskjet 2050 J510 series (USB)

Print to PDF

Choose one of the following free PDF printers, then download and install it to your computer:

My personal favorite is PDF Creator.

Once you are done, you will be able to print to PDF any document opened in any of your installed programs.

To do so, click on the Print button or press the Ctrl+P keyboard shortcut. Then, in the Print window, select the PDF printer you have installed.

print-select-printer

Select printer

In the above picture, the printer I selected came as part of a commercial accounting software package. I uninstalled PDF Creator to make sure the two devices would not collide.

To make your preferred choice of printer device more permanent, go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers. Right-click on your preferred printer device and select Set as default printer in the drop-down menu.

A green check mark will appear on the default printer’s icon.

Save as PDF

LibreOffice and OpenOffice are two full-fledged office suites that are completely free and also open source. What’s more, LibreOffice comes in a portable version, too.

Both these office suites are among my favorite software tools.

LibreOffice

To save a document that you have opened in LibreOffice as a PDF file, simply click on the Export Directly as PDF button.

libreoffice-pdf

LibreOffice — Export directly as PDF

In the Export window select the PDF file’s name and destination folder, then click Save.

OpenOffice

The process in OpenOffice is identical.

openoffice-pdf

OpenOffice — Export directly as PDF

Click on the Export Directly as PDF button.

In the Export window select the PDF file’s name and destination folder, then click Save.

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