How to save an online PDF file to a computer

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Adobe PDF Icon

PDF (Portable Document Format) files may be viewed on a large array of devices and Internet browsers, however, the steps in saving them are not the same. These general guidelines should help you save a downloaded PDF file on most types of media.


The first thing you'll need to do is ensure you have a PDF file reader program installed on your computer. Adobe has a free reader available on their website.

Saving a PDF from a web page

  1. Click the link or icon representing the PDF file. Depending on your Internet browser and the settings for the PDF reader program, the PDF file may automatically download and open in your browser. If you receive a prompt for opening or saving the PDF file instead, skip to step 4.
  2. As you move your mouse cursor over the document, a small toolbar should appear. The toolbar is often located at the upper-right or lower-right of the page.
  3. Once you've located the toolbar, click the icon that looks like a computer diskette or an arrow pointing down to save the PDF file. If the toolbar is not visible, look in your browser's file menu for the Save as or Save page as option. (Press the Alt to make the menu bar visible if it's hidden.) You can also right-click the document and select Save as to save the PDF file.
  4. A window should appear, prompting you to specify the location where you'd like to save the file. Selecting the Desktop option makes it easy to find the PDF file later.
  5. If you like, you may rename the file at this point. If not, skip this step.
  6. Click Save or Ok to save the PDF file.

You can try these steps now using our example PDF link.


Some browsers open PDF files without downloading them. If you cannot see the Disk icon, look for a Download option instead. Once the file is downloaded, a save option should appear.

Saving a PDF directly from the reader

Adobe Reader save icon

If the PDF file is already open in the reader program or, a PDF form is filled out, you can save it using the program. For example, in Adobe Reader, a computer diskette icon is available in the toolbar located near the top of the program window. As shown in the image, clicking this icon saves the file.

Print PDF document to create and save new PDF file

If you cannot find a save option, you can also try printing the PDF document using CutePDF, which creates a new PDF file you can save to your computer.