MacMost Now 181: Create PDF Files By Printing

You can easily turn any document from any program into a PDF file by printing it and choosing to save as a PDF instead of sending to a printer.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today, I want to talk to you about one of the most useful things in all of Mac OS 10. It's the ability to print any document as a PDF file.
So, you've created a document. It doesn't matter what it's in. It could be in Pages, could be in Microsoft Word, it could be something you made in Photoshop. But it's a document you wanted to send to somebody, but you want it to be in a format they can read regardless of what type of computer they have. Well, the best way to do that is to send them a PDF, portable document format. Now, a PDF is something that you have to create specially, and until just a few years ago, you had to use something from Adobe to go ahead and create a PDF file. But in Mac OS10, especially in Leopard, you can go ahead and create this from anything that you can print from. Let me show you how.
So here's your document, and I just created this in text edit, but I'm using a special font and I want to make sure it shows up OK to the person I'm sending it to. So I'm going to send them a PDF rather than sending them the original document, which will require them to have that font. So, I'm going to go to File, Print, and I'm going to get the printing dialog. But instead of actually clicking on the print button, I'm going to click on this PDF button here on t he left. What I get is a little menu of different options, the most important of which is 'save as PDF'. This is the standard. It'll basically print as a PDF and I'll end up with a PDF file. I can also go ahead and have it open in PDF in preview, which is the same as hitting the preview button, in a lot of cases, for printing. I can also go ahead and save a few different things, like I can just immediately create a PDF and have it opened up in mail. I can save it as a newer formatted PDF-X, or I can actually save the PDF and have it immediately be put into IPhoto. And there's other options depending on what other applications you have installed. But if I do the save as PDF option, I will get a dialog here and I will have to go ahead and give it a title. So here's the result. It's test.pdf, and when I double click on it to open it up, I get a file that opens up in preview, and it is the document, but this one doesn't require the user to have the font, if I did any fancy layout or anything like that, including images, it would all be in this one file.
This is absolutely the way to go if you're sending documents to people. You can't assume that they have the program. Even if you're using Microsoft Word and you're sending as DOC file, realize that that there are other people out there who don't have Microsoft Word, particularly a lot of Mac users. Or, if you're using Pages, there's even more people who can't open Pages files. And even if you have something like TextEdit or OpenOffice that can open Word documents, the formatting may not always be correct. But PDF is a safe format to send people whether they're on Macs, PCs or Linux. Just go ahead and print your documents as PDF and go ahead and email them that way. Another advantage is that PDFs aren't editable, so if you're sending something like an invoice, you know that the person on the other end is going to get it, and it's going to be just as good as them getting a piece of paper. They can print it out as many times as they want, or just store it for later Viewing.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 3 Responses to “MacMost Now 181: Create PDF Files By Printing”

    Daniel
    1/5/09 @ 12:13 pm

    A very useful tip my family uses all the time!
    My son gets homework that has to be done on a computer and e-mailed to his teacher. This is fine but when the teacher gives out these assignments he’s assuming all his students are using Windows like him. My son dose his reports in Mac Pages, converts it to PDF and then e-mails it to his teacher. It would be the only way he could view it.

    Kosal
    5/22/11 @ 9:02 pm

    Very useful site.

    I have a problem with printing pdf from Words. I am using snow leopard.
    Suppose, I have a word documents with 3 pages. page 1 and 3 are vertical and page 2 are horizontal. When, I print as pdf, it creates three pdf files individually instead of just one file.

    I noticed this problem arises whenever some pages are vertical and other are horizontal in document.

    Please help me.

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