How to create a PDF
There are many programs available that let you create PDF (Portable Document Format) files or save text as a PDF file. Below are a few options that allow you to create a PDF for free.
Print to PDF
Using the Print to PDF options is one of the easiest and fastest ways to create a PDF (also called a soft copy). Instead of printing to a printer the user chooses the option "Print to PDF," which saves the print job to a .PDF file. All of the latest Microsoft Windows have this option by default. When in a Microsoft Word document, web page, or other place you want to save as a PDF, print the page and in the available printers select the "Save as PDF" or "Print to PDF" printer option. Once you click the print or save button a window appear asking where you want the PDF file to be saved.
If you're using Microsoft Windows and this printer option is missing, it can be installed through the Windows Features area.
Third-party PDF print options
We recommend PrimoPDF and CutePDF, which are free programs that enable you to create PDF files. After installing, you can convert any file to PDF. Open the file you want to convert to PDF, select the Print option, and instead of printing to your printer, select the CutePDF option as the printer. With the PrimoPDF program, when printing any file, a wizard is shown with additional options, including password protecting that PDF file.
- PrimoPDF - Convert almost any file to an industry-standard PDF with a single click.
- CutePDF - Create a professional-quality PDF from any printable document.
There are many free PDF creators. Some popular programs are listed here.
The Google Chrome browser has a feature to save any web page as a PDF if you change your printer to Save as PDF in the print window.
Online PDF solutions
There are many online solutions for creating PDF files. However, not all are free to use or free of malware. Our top recommendation is listed below.
- Zamzar - Great free online solution to convert Word documents (.doc), WordPerfect documents (.wps), OpenDocument text documents (.odt), text documents (.txt), and many more.
Other PDF software solutions
There are many PDF programs you can install on your computer to create PDF files. Below lists our top recommendations, in addition to CutePDF and PrimoPDF.
- DoPDF - Free PDF creator for Windows offering basic features. Requires the .NET framework.
- LibreOffice - A free, full-featured alternative to Microsoft Office. Convert Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint presentations to PDF using LibreOffice Writer, Calc, or Impress.
- Virtual PDF Printer - Free software that can create PDFs from any application that supports printing. Its PDF options include password protection, custom scaling, and embedded fonts.
- Go2PDF - Free companion software for Virtual PDF Printer that enables you to convert documents to PDFs with a single click.