How to Print to PDF from Any Platform

Brad Jones 22-10-2015

If you ever need to turn a file into a PDF — and you will — we have a solution for it.


Often, the PDF is your best file format choice for transferring documents. Whether you want to make sure that your resume arrives with a possible employer with its layout intact, or you’re just looking to cut down on printer costs 5 Cheap 3D Printers You Can Actually Buy Today A few years back, even the cheapest 3D printers were uncomfortably close to the $1,000 mark – now you can get a quality 3D printer for as low as $400. Read More , the PDF format has a lot to offer.

As such, it’s beneficial to have the tools you need to create a PDF at hand at all times. With this guide, you’ll be able to turn just about any file into a PDF, whether you’re working on your Mac, your Windows tablet, or your Android phone.

Windows 10

Microsoft has made it easier than ever to print to PDF with the advent of Windows 10 Make Today Your Launch Day: Get Windows 10 Now! You're eager to install Windows 10. Unfortunately, you missed the Insider Preview and now it's taking a while until the upgrade will be rolled out to you. Here's how to get Windows 10 now! Read More , as the functionality is built into the operating system (OS) itself. However, you might have to enable this option before using it. To do so, open the Control Panel and navigate to Programs > Programs and Features. Click on Turn Windows feature on or off in the sidebar and make sure that Microsoft Print to PDF is ticked.

Windows 10 PDF

With this setting changed, you will be given the choice of a PDF printer when you use the print command on your PC. Since you’ve enabled the function at the system level, you should find the option across all applications on your computer.


print to pdf

Windows 8.1

If you’re still holding off on making the upgrade to Windows 10 Stop the Windows 10 Download & Installation on Your Windows 7 or 8 Device If your Internet has been slower than usual or if you noticed less disk space, you can probably blame Microsoft. Windows Update may have downloaded the Windows 10 installation files behind your back. Stop it! Read More , there’s going to be a bit more work involved with setting up a method of printing to PDF The 6 Best Tools to Print to PDF PDF printer tools let you save any file you can print as a PDF. Here are some of the best PDF printer apps for Windows 10. Read More . Microsoft was previously rather committed to its own PDF alternative, the XPS format, and as such XPS writers were present as the default rather than the PDF printing options added in the latest iteration of the OS.

However, there are plenty of third party alternatives out there, with doPDF being a particularly attractive candidate for its simple functionality and not bundling any nasty toolbars with its install package. Once it’s installed, you can simply select it as the desired printer when you go to print a document, and you’ll be presented with a PDF to use.

doPDF Printer


For more information on printing to PDF in Windows 8.1, check out the comprehesive MakeUseOf guide to the topic How to Print to PDF From Windows 8 Desktop & Modern Apps It's the digital age and you should stop printing to paper! Print to PDF instead. This article briefly discusses the advantages of PDF over paper and demonstrates how to print to PDF in Windows 8. Read More .


Much like Windows 10, setting up a PDF printer on Linux is very straightforward, although it does require a little bit of effort from the user. You don’t have to download a particular piece of software for the job, but you will need to install a readily available package known as cups-pdf. Jon Mifsud has a helpful guide on how to do so on his blog.

Once that package has been installed, printing a PDF is much the same as on any other platform; using the print dialog box, simply select the PDF printer from the list of available devices. The resulting file will be dropped into your home folder, in a subfolder labelled PDF.

Mac OS X

Unlike many other companies, Apple supplies PDF printing tools as part of its Mac OS X operating system. However, you’ll find access to the printer in a slightly different place to other options.


OS X print to PDF

Open the print dialog by navigating to File > Print as you would normally, then look for the PDF button near the bottom of the window. Choose Save as PDF, then select an appropriate destination for your file and name it.


If you’re looking to create a PDF version of a Web page, the quickest and easiest route might be to use a browser-based tool.  While there are several options available, PrintFriendly offers a flexible method, and is particularly convenient.

You can simply plug a URL into the form on the PrintFriendly homepage to convert a Web page, but that’s only one option that the site offers. There’s also a handy extension to install on your browser, or a bookmarklet that’s perfect for anyone who needs to convert Web pages to PDFs on a regular basis.


PrintFriendly Homepage

If you’re unfamiliar with bookmarklets 10 Ingenious Bookmarklets To Make You a Google Power User If you love all that Google has to offer, but are not particularly fond of the browser extensions available, here are 10 great bookmarklets for Google that range from search options to very specific tasks. Read More , they’re bookmarks that use JavaScript to offer functionality a bit more complicated than just linking to a website. In this case, the bookmarklet sits on your toolbar with all your other bookmarks, but clicking it results in a PDF version of the page you’re currently visiting being downloaded to your computer. To grab the bookmarklet, head to the browser tool section of the PrintFriendly website.


The best method of printing to PDF on Android is via the Google Cloud Print app, so download and install that if you don’t have it already. Once it’s up and running, navigate to the content that you’re looking to turn into a PDF. You’ll then need to press the Share button, select Cloud Print and then choose Save to Google Drive.

Your PDF will be ready and waiting on your personal Google Drive, so you’ll be able to access it from any device. If you need to access it without an Internet connection, you can change that setting from within Google Drive itself.


Despite Mac OS X having the most readily available print to PDF functionality out there, Apple is unfortunately lagging behind with iOS support for the technique. The best workaround is to use the Cloud Print features contained within the Google Chrome app — although unfortunately this only works with Web-based content.

To do so, first begin to print a Web page from inside the Chrome app as you would normally, but choose Save to Google Drive when asked to select a printer. Your PDF can then be found on your personal Drive storage space 7 New Google Drive Features Every Student Must Know School is in session and Google is ready to make things easier for students with Google Drive. New features have been introduced and old ones refined. We have the details. Read More .

iOS chrome print to PDF

If you need to use your iPad or iPhone to create a PDF from content not on the Web, there are a couple of other alternatives. ToPDF and PDF Printer [No Longer Available] are two of your best choices, but both come with compromises in terms of functionality and PDF quality.

Do you know of a great method of printing to PDF that we missed? Let us know about it in the comments section below.

Related topics: Digital Document, PDF, Printing.

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  1. Anonymous
    October 27, 2015 at 10:51 am

    all bases covered.. Nice

  2. Anonymous
    October 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Libre Office has an icon on the default toolbar to save a file as a pdf. I use this all the time in Linux and Windows. My Linux file viewer automatically loads a pdf when I double-click on the file, and I can print from there like any other file.

  3. Anonymous
    October 23, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    It's also worth mentioning the expert to PDF option in Microsoft office. It gives you the option of standard quality of web quality (smaller file size). You can find it under File -> Export. It's the first thing I do with every office doc I receive that I don't intend to edit because PDF is smaller and more cross platform.

  4. Anonymous
    October 23, 2015 at 11:08 am

    I use PDFCreator in Windows 7.

  5. Anonymous
    October 23, 2015 at 3:36 am

    In iOS, use the app "Documents", it has more uses than I can remember...One is a built-in full browser, which has a "save page" button where the default option is "as pdf". It saves the current web page as a pdf file in its "downloads" directory. No strain, no pain, no fuss. You can leave it there to read later, or print it, or use "open in..." to transfer it to any other app, including, of course, iBooks.

  6. Anonymous
    October 22, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I use Bullzip PDF Printer on a Vista x86 system. also the Opera browser has it's own 'print to PDF' option.

  7. Anonymous
    October 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Just a short reminder for those who didn't know already:
    Printing to PDF got a whole lot easier since iOS 9.
    Just tap the share button from any application and choose "Save PDF to iBooks".
    I found this feature to work pretty well, and it is now absolutely native.