Productivity Windows

How to Print to PDF From Windows 8 Desktop & Modern Apps

Tina Sieber 26-11-2013

To this day, not a single version of Windows has come with native Print-To-PDF support, not even Windows 8. Microsoft once had ambitions to create a PDF alternative and has thus been holding on to its Open XML Paper Specificaion format (XPS). That’s why every Windows release since Vista has come with an XPS printer. Fortunately, you can install third-party PDF printers and print to PDF in every version of Windows. This article demonstrates how you can print from Windows 8 Printing Has Changed In Windows 8: Here's What You Need To Know Printing has changed in Windows 8 – there’s now a standard way of printing in every Modern app. However, like many things about Microsoft’s new Modern interface, printing is not immediately intuitive for many users,... Read More desktop and modern apps.


Why You Should Print to PDF

PDF is a standard and cross-platform document format. You can choose from a range of free PDF readers The 6 Best PDF Readers for Windows in 2019 The best PDF readers don't cost any money. Read our roundup of feature-rich PDF viewers that out perform even Adobe Reader. Read More and many freeware tools support PDF This Is Why You Don't Need Adobe Reader Adobe Reader is bloated, slow, and a liability. In short, it's unnecessary. Do you need a PDF Reader at all? We show you how to open PDF files without Adobe Reader. Read More , for example Chrome has an integrated PDF viewer. Moreover, the file format is self-contained, meaning regardless of where the PDF is viewed, the original formatting is preserved. In other words, when you print a file or website to PDF, you can share it with different applications and devices across platforms and it will always look the same.

This also highlights a general advantage of digital documents. You can create an unlimited amount of copies of a document or store it in the Cloud and access it from various devices; all without additional costs. Imagine doing the same with paper!

Finally, digital documents are searchable. Even if your PDF doesn’t contain searchable text, you can search the document name and quickly find what you’re looking for from hundreds of other files. Again, imagine doing that with paper.

Paper Piles

Ready to try printing to PDF?


Pick a PDF Printer

You can print to PDF from any application that supports printing. All you need is a third-party PDF printer. We recommend doPDF, simply because it supports Windows 8 64-bit and doesn’t try to install nasty toolbars.

How to Print to PDF From the Windows 8 Desktop

To print a file to PDF, click the keyboard shortcut Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More [CTRL] + [P] or select Print from the File menu, pick your PDF printer from the list of printers, and proceed as if you were printing to paper How To Keep Printing Costs As Low As Possible Let's get this straight - printing emails and documents is primeval! Not only does it cost money, it also wastes resources, storage space, and time. In fact, half of all pages printed are never used!... Read More .

Windows 8 Print Preview

After you hit Print, the PDF printer will ask you how to proceed with the file, i.e. where to save it, under what file name, and whether to open the PDF document after saving.


doPDF Printer

Alternatively, you can open files from within doPDF and convert them into a PDF document.

Convert to PDF

How to Print to PDF From Windows 8 Modern Apps

The Modern user interface, formerly known as Metro, does not offer traditional menus. Instead, options such as Print are available via the Charms bar or — if you are on a regular computer — via the [CTRL] + [P] keyboard shortcut.


To open the Charms bar, swipe from the right edge of your screen Everything You Need To Know About Windows 8 Swipe Gestures On A Laptop With the introduction of Windows 8, a lot of brand-new touch-friendly features have been added to make the operating system enjoyable to use on touch-enabled devices. However, for typical laptops which only have touchpads for... Read More or move the mouse into one of the corners on the right side of the screen. Select Devices and choose a printer from the list. If you get a This app can’t print message, you’re out of luck.

Windows 8 this app can't print

Otherwise, click Print, select a printer…

Windows 8 Modern UI Print


…and proceed with customizing print options as you normally would. Note that you can save your custom settings as default by switching the lever for Use these settings in all applications to the On position.

Windows 8 Modern UI Print Options

Although I demonstrated the print dialogue with the MakeUseOf website, you’ll get much better results if you print websites using browser bookmarklets 3 Easy Bookmarklets to Print Nice Looking Web Pages Without Craplets Printing information from the web is often a challenge because websites are plastered with sidebars, images, advertisements, and other unprintable elements. What makes a website look fantastic is a real drag when printing because all... Read More or extensions, like PrintWhatYouLike.

Take Home Messages

You can add Print-to-PDF functionality in Windows with a third-party PDF printer. Printing to PDF has many advantages over paper, most importantly flexibility, sharability, and cost. Printing in Windows 8 has changed, but not dramatically.

Could this article change your mind? Why would you still want to print to paper?

Image credit: Paper Sheets via FlickrPaper Piles via Shutterstock

Related topics: PDF Editor, Printing, Windows 8.

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  1. Don E
    February 21, 2016 at 5:35 am

    I utilize a few different print to PDF programs on my Windows 8.1 computer and they all work just fine except for web pages from makeuseof where only page 1 is in the PDF version.
    I think this is a common complaint but so far I have not found any solution to this problem.


  2. TB
    May 19, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Peter - not everything that is done is done through Word or similar programs. The best app I found for capturing signatures in the field saves in an odd format and doesn't have a pdf option available. So I have to print to PDF.. unfortunately, I've tried several PDF printers and none work consistently. They either just sit there, or they hide my files in odd places - it will say it saved in documents, but isn't there... it's been frustrating!

  3. stuart
    April 3, 2015 at 9:42 am

    i have s problem in adobe printer.

  4. Peter
    March 20, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Why do I need to install anything at all? Where is the SAVE AS PDF command?? Every FREE piece of software comes complete with new malware and viruses, so why would I go seeking a solution that should already be resident inside the operating system?
    Same applies to decompression software.

  5. Linda Jackson
    April 5, 2014 at 2:20 am

    I would suggest PDF2Printer for Windows 8 freeware to you,

    The Desktop software allows you to print PDF to printer on Windows 8 Desktop.

    With PDF Previewer for Windows 8, you get all the preview and print functionalities on Windows 8 Desktop,

    Good luck!

  6. Jessica H
    November 29, 2013 at 3:24 am

    Chrome lets me "Save to PDF"

  7. Aditya R
    November 28, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Foxit has a built in feature too.

    • Tina S
      November 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Yes, Foxit offers an optional PDF Printer; it has to be selected during installation.

  8. Lindsay Rollo
    November 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    doPDF is just another low-end Print-toPdf driver with the nasty habit of forcing you to make it the default PDF printer if you want to use it. I haven't tested it for accuracy, but many of these low-end PDF printers, and those bundled in word processors, cannot handle graphics in documents, or sophisticated formatting. Most importantly doPDF does not preserve internal links in documents, such as endnotes or footnotes or hyperlinks. It does MakeUseOf no favours to promote quick and dirty utilities. Anyone wanting a quality PDF printer driver should look at 7-PDF.

  9. Rakesh Zaveri
    November 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Also check out Bullzip PDF printer!!

  10. Ron Cook
    November 27, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Both Open Office and Libre Office can create PDF with a single click.

  11. Adam B
    November 27, 2013 at 3:40 am

    People who have installed Adobe Reader get this feature automatically. No need for any other external software as Adobe Reader is the default pdf reader in almost all PCs.

    • Tina S
      November 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      It's a PDF Reader, yes. But it doesn't add a PDF printer to Windows, at least not the free Adobe PDF Reader.

  12. Henry Lahore
    November 26, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Three other Print-To-PDF drivers produce active links, even if the link is not start with http.., http://www..., etc,
    dpPDF does not.

    • Lindsay Rollo
      November 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Henry Lahore: Please list the three Print-to-PDF drivers that support links.

    • Tina S
      November 30, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Good point. I didn't think of that and did not have a need for active links, yet.