Resources » Working With PDFs (Basics) » Create a PDF: How Do You Create PDF Files?

How to Create PDF Files Online Or On Your Computer

How do you “make” a PDF file? The portable document format is one of the oldest file formats, and most document creating apps (Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Apple’s iWork suite) all allow users to export or save as PDFs. Here’s a little more about how to create PDF files.

The PDF file format is a great way to send documents around online without worrying about your formatting settings changing. PDFs have smaller file sizes and can be opened on any device. But how do you make a PDF in the first place? What software do you need to create a PDF? 

In this article, we’ll show you how easy it is to create a PDF from scratch, as well as how to convert a document to a PDF. 

How to Create a PDF From a Program on Your Computer

When you’re building a document in an editor program like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, your document has settings that are very specific to that program. If you send a document to someone else in a .doc or .docx file format, images, font, text size, and more can change between programs. The person on the other end won’t be seeing the same document that you’ve built. 

Luckily, you can create a PDF in most document editors without any extra hassle. 

When your document is open, select File and then Print. You will see the printers that are connected to your network listed. Instead of selecting a printer, navigate to Save as PDF

When you click Print, instead of printing a physical document, the document editor will save a copy of the document as a PDF. You will then be able to select the destination on your computer that you’d like the PDF to be saved in. 

Microsoft Office is one of the more common document editors, but most programs have this tool. Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, and more will let you Save as a PDF in the Print section.

This process will work similarly on Mac. When you have a document open in a program like Pages and select Print, you’ll see a drop-down menu at the bottom of the popup with a few different options. Selecting Save as PDF allows you to save the document as a PDF on your computer. 

You can also select Save as on Mac and click the drop-down menu next to File Format. If you select PDF, your document will be exported as a PDF once you select the location you want to save your file. 

How to Create a PDF by Converting a File

Saving a document as a PDF is useful if you’re the original creator of the PDF, but what do you do when someone sends you a file that you can’t open in an editor tool? How do you convert a document you receive to a PDF? 

We cover this in more detail in our article on How to Turn a File Into a PDF, but you can actually use certain tools to convert files into PDFs. Online converters, such as PDF.Live’s own convert to PDF tool will let you upload a .doc, .xls, .ppt, or .jpg file and convert it to a PDF. Our converter tool will let you perform limited PDF-related tasks for free every day. 

The converter tool also allows you to convert from a PDF to a .doc, .xls, or .ppt file. This is very useful for when you need to make changes to a PDF that you receive, as PDFs can be difficult to make major edits to. 

Because the converter tool functions entirely online, it will work on Windows, Mac, Linux and ChromeOS! As long as your device can have a document file on it, the converter will work to convert the file to a PDF.