Create PDFs From Almost Any App With iOS

With iOS 11 you can export documents from many different apps as PDFs using the Share function. Other apps have special save or export functions for PDF creation. But any app that can print can also create a PDF using a hidden feature in the AirPrint function.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Create PDFs From Almost Any App With iOS.

So on your Mac you know that you can create PDFs from almost anything. If you can print you can print as a PDF and get a PDF file. It's very handy for sharing things, saving things. You can instead of printing out with your printer on a piece of paper you can just save it as a PDF.

Now in iOS, iOS 11, it's especially easy to do this as well. So, let's for instance look at Notes. I'm looking at a note here and I go and I hit the Share button where you would expect to find Print. You will find a print functionality there. But next to it you'll see there's Create PDF. If I tap that it shows me a preview of the PDF. I have buttons at the top right for Sharing so I can send that to somebody. I can Markup or I can just leave it as is and hit the Done button at the top left. From here I can either Delete PDF or I can Save File To and save it out as a file to iCloud Drive. That will be a PDF file.

You can do the same thing in other apps. For instance in Pages you can tap this button up here and you've got the ability to not only Print but Export as a PDF. You can do that from Numbers and Keynote as well.

So you get that Create PDF in the Share menu pretty much for everything. But if you find that it's not available there is a way to actually get it to Print.

For instance let me go to Mail. Now in Mail I don't have the ability to Share because Mail is kind of sharing to begin with. But if I press this button here at the top I get Print. Okay. So this simulates or basically is an app that has the ability to print but not save as a PDF. However you can. See this print dialogue here. Just like on the Mac where you can do Save As PDF you can save as PDF here.

You don't see it. Well, it's kind of hidden. You have to pinch out. So two fingers pinch out and it expands the item in there and creates a PDF document. Now you can tap the button at the upper right, the Share button, and can Save To Files. I'm basically saving a PDF of this email message to my iCloud Drive. So you can do that on any app that prints but doesn't have a create PDF function.

Comments: 7 Responses to “Create PDFs From Almost Any App With iOS”

    Ed Mullery
    1 year ago

    A great tip about making iOS emails into PDFs. Why would they hide such a feature, such that you have to know to pinch on the print preview?

    David Bybee
    1 year ago

    Great tip. I’ve been wanting to save mail on iOS with a PDF for a long time. Using a special mailbox hasn’t worked for me. Thanks

    Mike Carr
    1 year ago

    I can’t find the area to pinch on the mail. There’s nothing really visual on your presentation and my print preview has nothing that I can see

    Mike Carr
    1 year ago

    When looking a mail, I can’t find any area to expand to show printer options

    1 year ago

    Mike: Look at 2:16. You can see I pinch out on the preview image.

    Mike Car
    1 year ago

    I’m sorry, I just can’t determine where you are pinching out and nothing I can pinch gives me a share icon

    1 year ago

    Mike: Right in the middle of the screen, you can see a preview of what is to be printed. You can see a representation of page 1, and half of page 2. I’m placing two fingers close together on that representation of page 1, and then moving my two fingers apart — apart not together. Perhaps you are using an older version of iOS?

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