PDF, or Portable Document Format, is Adobe’s solution for creating documents
that can be read almost anywhere. By downloading Adobe’s free reader, a PDF
file can be read on almost any computer, and even portable devices such as
But how do you create a PDF in the first place?
As is often the case, there are several answers…
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
The “official” way is to purchase a copy of Adobe Acrobat. Acrobat’s purpose
in life is to create PDFs. It installs several tools, including a Word macro
that makes creating PDFs from Word a single-click operation. It also installs
a Windows printer driver that will allow you to create PDFs from any
application that can print.
Adobe also has an on-line solution Create Adobe PDF Online, that will allow you to create PDFs. It’s
a subscription service, but the first five PDFs are included in a free
A Google search turns up
many PDF conversion programs, ranging from free to
inexpensive. Their capabilities vary, so it would be wise to investigate and
try a few before investing any money.
Yet another solution is the free Open Office.
Open Office is a free suite of office applications, including a word processor
much like Microsoft Word. Open office can read Word documents and can create
PDFs. Again, the feature set is similar, but not identical to Word and Acrobat,
so compatibility may still be an issue. But the price is right, and it’s a well
supported open source application with a very active user community to
For the record, if you’re planning on professional PDF content creation as
part of a business strategy, the investment in Acrobat is probably worth it. No
issues of compatibility or missing features that way. If you’re just
experimenting, then the free or inexpensive converters are a good way to
54 comments on “How do I convert a Word document into a PDF file?”
I have acrobat profesional 6.0 and would like to be able to be abe to edit and/or revise scanned docs that were prepared for internal office use but were not save to docs. I have read the instructions on the Acrobat “help” program and even bought a guide book. Both only go so far and I cannot get any help online.
I guess I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking. What you haven’t mentioned is that you may also need an “OCR” program, for Optical Character Recognition, to turn those scaned images back into editable text. I’ll warn you that it’s a lot of work.
is there any software free, that convert all files to pdf ?
Yes, there are many.
how do i repair my microsoft word to be able to convert word docs to pdf? i was able to do this before but now, i couldn’t seem to convert word docs into pdf anymore. i tested if this is the case with excel, powerpoint and html files, but they are working perfectly.
i’d really appreciate if you can help me on this. thanks.
Please read the article you just commented on. Word (and Excel) do not convert to PDF natively. You must have one of the PDF creation tools installed.
Hello Leo. At the top of this page you say that you can download adobe’s free reader. Is that a trial to buy program or is it a free download? If its a free download where can I download it?
Let me know please and thanks a lot for your help. Rianna
Adobe reader is free. http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
For the mean time, this is an issue but come along Microsoft Office 2007 and its all change. I’ve been testing the beta of Office 2007 and can tell you that there is a built in “save as PDF” feature, much like OpenOffice – if you can find it in the completely redesigned user interface!
I have a very strange problem. When I try to convert a doc. file to pdf, my Adobe Acrobat professional 6.0 simply opens my MS Word 2003 and stops there. No error message or anything… Also, I cannot integrate Adobe in Word. Any suggestions? Help appreciated, Kiril.
http://www.cutepdf.com/ This site has both freeware and professional versions. I have found the freeware version is excellent when used in conjuntion with its companion program.
Kiril Josifovski – Open Word, click Tools, select Templates & Addins then tick the pdf maker box. This will activate the Adobe link & sort your problem.
For some reason, when I convert a web page to a printable pdf file it comes back in a “landscape” format rather than portrait which is what we want. I have tried three attempts and they all come back in a landscape format. How do I fix this?
It depends on how you’re “converting” it. If you’re printing to a PDF print driver, check printer settings for that driver – chances are that’s simply set to landscape.
To Rick P: THANK YOU for the solution to getting Word to create a PDF. I have spent days trying to figure out why my Adobe suddenly stopped converting Word files. THANK YOU THANK YOU!
The best PDF converters are the ones that integrate with the usual PRINT menu option of applicatoins. e.g. Word, Excel etc..
Theres lots of freeware ones available. Im using one called CutePDF which is great.
—–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
Not in general, no.
You might be able to copy/paste text if the specific PDF file you have allows
Alternately you can try feeding images of the pages through some kind of OCR
But neither solution is easy or guaranteed.
—–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)
—–END PGP SIGNATURE—–
Go and download free primo pdf converter http://www.primopdf.com/
it works with your acrobat 6.0 standard.
this free program will solve your problem of converting any ms word document into pdf format.
“i cannot convert my word document into pdf. Onthe contrary my excel and power point work fine. I am using acrobat 6.0 standard and office 2003 with sp2 and all the patches have been updated.”
I need to convert a Word 2000 manuscript into a PDF file to send to a publisher. They only accept documents created in Word so changing to a different document program is out of the question. I have been researching articles on this for the last couple of weeks and can’t find anything that will work unless I have to pay a fee to install something else on my computer. According to something I printed out during a Google search there should be an Acrobat menu bar as well as Acrobat icons in my MS Word program. They do not exist. So it also gave me the option of selecting Adobe PDF through my printer window however there is no setting for that either. So I am stuck wondering what to do now. I have Adobe 5.0 on my computer as well as Acrobat 8.1.2 I am using Windows XP pro editon on my computer. Can anyone help me with this? I am willing to try whatever suggestion you can make as I have spent hours on this already. Is my best bet just to go with the subscription service “create Adobe PDF online?” Thank you for any help you can give.
Leo…I read your article, even visited the site you mentioned…Open Office…a lot of the comments attached to your article pertained to difficulties converting a Word document to a PDF. Here is the SOLUTION…
1. Open Up Word;
2. Click on “Help” in Word;
3. Click on “About Microsoft Word”;
4. Click on “Disabled Items”;
You will see…”The items listed below were disabled because they prevented Word from functioning correctly”;
5. You will see a notice – “Adobe PDF Was Disabled”;
6. Highlight that statement;
7. Click “Enable”.
8. Click “Close.”
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL SEE A COMMENT – “You may have to start Word to enable these changes.”
If you follow the above INSTRUCTIONS….you should not have any problems at all. It only took me hours and hours to figure out why my Word was not converting to a PDF, wherein Excel was giving me no problem at all. THE PROBLEM IS IN THE SETTINGS I HAVE DESCRIBED ABOVE IN WORD AND NO WHERE ELSE….GOOD LUCK EVERYONE !!!!!
RESPONDING TO SUNNI MORRIS Re: CONVERTING YOUR WORD MANUSCRIPT TO A PDF – WITHOUT PURCHASING EXPENSIVE SOFTWARE OR USING AN ON-LINE SERVICE.
THIS IS TOTALLY FREE…You’ll be happy about that!
1. Go to “Download.com” – It’s FREE AND SAFE.
2. Type in “PRIMOPDF” in their search window.
3. Download the software you need..very quick.
4. You will be getting PrimoPDF 3.2 version.
5. At the top of the screen for Primo you will
see the Red Adobe PDF button.
6. Open it up….find your Word document and you
are done…just save your PDF and print.
GOOD LUCK….GLAD TO HELP!!!
There is a good website for you.
Try http://www.printinpdf.com to convert your word document to PDF. I tried my thesis for conversion and 182 pages PDF file for free is great.
Try http://www.pdftodocconverterpro.com to convert back your PDF files to word documents.
I use pdf995 for years; it is technically a printer driver – you will be prompted for a file name to save to. If you don’t want to pay the license of US$ 9,95, you will get a nag screen in your browser. So far, I didn’t do things I could not convert nicely this way. If your program can print, you can use the “printer” pdf995 – that’s all. It may be Windows only, though.
Jay from July 10, 2008, you were right. The website you linked to allowed me to convert my word file into a pdf in about 15 seconds and it was breathtakingly easy. Thanks for the tip. Everyone should go there.
Turns out if you get Office 2007, you are all set. For both converting to PDF (via save as feature) and also converting from PDF to Word!!! I just found this out today and I’ve been using 2007 for a while. Here’s how to do it:
1) Save as pdf – there’s actually an add-in from Microsoft here:
or go to the download site and search for: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS
2) Converting PDF to word doc. Right click a PDF file and choose “open with” then select Word 2007 (sorry doesn’t work in 2003). Now the first time you do this, it will install a converter in the typical way that office installs components that are not already installed (you will need access to the original CD or network install source unless the install files were cached locally during installation). Here’s the interesting tidbit, Word is just installing the SolidPDFConverter program (which indicates that MS bought a license for this program and incorporated the feature into Office software). Why would I say such a thing, because the installer box says as much during the install “Installing SolidPDF Converter…”
That’s it. Upgrade to 2007 and you’d be all set I think. It may only come with a particular flavor. I’ve used the converter both ways in “Office 2007 Pro” and “Office 2007 Enterprise”. Anyone have a software matrix and could say what other 2007 flavors support this feature?
YOU CAN USE http://www.freesaveaspdf.com
On linux or unix style platforms, try anytopdf (command line converter), based on openoffice.org, openoffice.org basic macros and perl.
you can try Tweak pdf to word.
it is free to try.
try it in http://www.tweakpdf.com/
Thank you for the very helpful information! I appreciate all the comments here – they helped me solve my problem. Great answers for the everyday user.
I am using office 2007 to save as PDF and anybizsoft pdf to word to change pdf to word. The output quality is reliable. You may have a try.
use openoffice to converts your work document to PDF
Leo: For those of us who use Firefox, there is a wonderful PDF add-on/plugin, Foxit, that is as good if not better than Adobe, WITHOUT ALL OF THE HAZARDOUS SECURITY HOLES IN ADOBE. Besides Foxit Reader, the company also offers PDF Creator and other PDF programs. I recommend Foxit highly. ec
I have a Word 97 document in which I have added a color background to the pages. However, when I convert this document to a .pdf using Adobe Acrobat 8, the color background doesn’t print in the .pdf. (I have made the necessary adjustments in Word to print the background using a traditional printer.)
What is the solution to this problem?
Thanks for your help!
Yes Adobe is a good answer, but the other day I came across the need to convert a PDF to word (i.e. convert it to the other direction. There are several but I wound up with this as a trial.
PDF to Word 1: http://www.docudesk.com/deskUNPDF-PRO-PDF-Converter.shtml
Here was the second candidate
PDF to Word option 2: http://www.convertpdftoword.net
Adobe Acrobat will cost me a lot,so ,i think, the best way to convert a word.doc file to pdf format is using pdf converter.Last week,a friend recommend Advanced word to pdf 5.0 to me,I am quite satisfied with it.It is very good in preserving the formatting. It also allow us to convert a lot files at the same time.
Thanks for the post, impressive.
However sometimes when i see some important file, i choose to convert to pdf for long-term reference.
I am using this word to pdf now. Works well!
Hey, look what I found. http://www.nemopdf.com/products/word_to_pdf.html
Nemo word to pdf converter is a document creation program in php. It can be used to convert Doc to PDF. I’ve not tried it yet myself, but I certainly shall be experimenting with it soonish.
I am writing a novel and intend to use Print of Demand. The printer wants the file preferably in pdf format (cheaper for me. In their self publishing guide the printer recomends the freewhere PDF program pdf995.com I down loaded that and it has done the job an
Thanks for the post, impressive.
But you can also use http://www.converttoword.com
An easy work-around is to just print the PDF and then scan it into a word or wordpad document
Works for me
This very simple if you have a software named “Adobe Acrobat 3D Version 8”. Just right click on word or excel file convert to PDF, you file will open in PDF format after conversion then you can save.
I have many floppy discs that can’t be read, would this help me to read them? I have spreac sheets and word processing files unable to open
I have been using http://www.allinonepdf.com for a while now for my PDF converting and creating needs. They do a good job and they are really competitive with their pricing compared to some of the bigger names.
This comment is geared for developers, not end-users. We need to print PDF document programmatically without the use of any other plugins or programs (such as Open Office, Adobe Acrobat or MS Word). We’re looking into jWordConvert, a library that can convert Word documents to PDF.
jWordConvert by Qoppa Software is a 100% java library and can convert Word documents to PDF.
I use advanced word to pdf 5.0,it is pretty good.convert word files to pdf Documents,Converted quality is fairly good: with text content, page layouts, images,and text hyperlinks preserved.I chose it because it is a standalone application, I could run this program independently and needn’t extra install Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat which costs hundreds of dollars.
Can anybody tell me that where is free edition of Universal Document Converter??? for word file convert into pdf.
I just used doc2pdf and in worked great. no need to download any software and it’s free. their web site is http://www.doc2pdf.net/
Nice post. Thanks for sharing.
You may check out the article below on how to convert Pdf document to word or Doc file through website.
I hope that you will find it useful. cheers.
I want a program wich converts word to pdf including it’s source code.can u help me on this?
i have several word files and some jpeg files.all of them need to be converted into one single pdf file.
how can i?
You can create a new Word file and copy the text and photos into that file and then print it as a PDF file using a utility such as CutePDF.
CutePDF Writer – Create PDFs from any application that can print.