This article was first published on 2009-04-02. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
Did you know you can make a PDF file out of anything you use an app to work with? Don’t worry, most Mac users don’t know that either. It’s a feature that is kept too secret.
This aspect of the Mac is so unknown because there is no one app or preference or any go-to area to use the PDF creation function. You can’t point to it because it’s everywhere on your Mac.
So if it’s everywhere, where do you find it? It’s hidden in the Print dialog box of all your apps. I know, it doesn’t make sense except that this is one common area where apps of different makers interact with Mac OS X. I’m not sure why it is so hidden other than to avoid the wrath of Adobe.
All you have to do to use it is go to Print… in the File menu of the app you are using and click the PDF button in the lower left of the dialog box. When clicked, you get a menu of options seen in the image below. Select what you want and Boom!, there you go. Save it where you want and return to your doc.
NOTE: This does not change your file into a PDF, it just makes a PDF copy of what you are working on. Any future changes will not change your PDF.
And it’s fast. My dad who is so frugal, he doesn’t want to buy whatever PDF creation app Adobe sells for Windows. Instead, he will send his Word files to me via email and I can turn them around as a PDF in less than a minute. It’s that fast.
So next time you are stuck trying to figure out how to share unusual files with others, just make a PDF out of them. It’s fast, easy and best of all, free with your Mac.