How to Print to PDFs in Windows 7


Portable Document Format, or PDF, files preserve the appearance and layout of documents across different programs and operating systems. Developed by Adobe in 1993, the PDF format has since become a standard in document archiving and distribution. Windows 7 doesn't include a PDF printer, but you can add this functionality to the operating system using third-party software. PDF printer programs install a virtual printer in Windows, which lets you convert documents and Web pages to PDF format.

  • Install Print2PDF (see Resources). This commercial program installs a virtual printer in Windows. It includes a number of advanced features, including the ability to add watermarks, password protection and embedded fonts to PDF documents. Open the document or Web page you want to convert to PDF. Click "Print" and choose "Print2PDF" in the "Select Printer" menu. Click "Preferences" to access the "Print2PDF Configuration" menu. Check "Save PDF to Folder" under "Output Preferences," then press the "..." button to specify where you want the file saved. Click the "Print Resolution" drop-down menu to select the output quality of the PDF file. Click "OK" when you're ready to begin the conversion process.

  • Download doPDF (see Resources). This freeware program lets you print any document or Web page to PDF. It supports PDF printing in any Windows application that includes printing capabilities. It is compatible with a number of common document formats, including DOC, XLS, PPT, HTML, TXT, EML and PUB. Open the document you intend to convert to PDF, click "Print" and select "doPDF" from the list of available printers. Click the "..." button in the "Convert a file to PDF" menu to select the output location for the file. Then click "Create" to convert the document to PDF format.

  • Install ReaSoft PDF Printer (see Resources). This commercial program creates PDF documents within any application that supports printing. After installing the program, click the Windows "Start" button, "All Programs," "ReaSoft PDF Printer" and then "ReaSoft PDF Printer Wizard." Click the "Show PDF Save Dialog" drop-down menu and select "Simple" or "Advanced." Then open the document or Web Page you want to convert to PDF and click "Print." If you chose "Simple" for the "Show PDF Save Dialog" option, ReaSoft PDF Printer asks you where to save the PDF file. If you selected "Advanced," it displays an options menu for accessing the program's advanced features, including password protection and font embedding.

Tips & Warnings

  • Click the "Start" button, then "Devices and Printers" if you want to set the PDF virtual printer as the default printer in Windows. Right-click the printer icon and select "Set as Default Printer."

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