PDF is a highly versatile document format which almost all computer users are familiar with. Consequently, it’s a good choice when you need to share information in a standardised format that won’t be impeded by distribution.
Getting information into a PDF has historically been a problem. However, Microsoft simplified matters in Windows 10 by adding a native “print to PDF” function into the operating system. This means any printable content – such as a text file or a webpage – can be converted to PDF in a couple of clicks.
We’ll be “printing” a webpage for the purposes of this guide. You’re free to choose any printable content you have access to.
Begin by clicking the “Print” button in the app you’re using. You’ll often find this under the “File” menu. In many apps, Ctrl+P will work as a keyboard shortcut to open the printing popup.
The prompt you see may look slightly different depending on the app you’re using. Modern apps from the Windows Store will display a larger window with a more contemporary visual appearance. You can see examples of both styles in the screenshots in this guide.
Irrespective of the popup you see, there should be an option to select the printer to use. Choose “Microsoft Print to PDF.” You can now customise the print job as normal – options to print a subset of pages should work as normal.
The Microsoft Print to PDF printer is a virtual printer. It takes the input it receives from the app and converts it to an output PDF. As far as the app is concerned, the document has been “printed,” but it’s really saved to a file.
When you click “Print,” you will see a File Explorer popup appear. This lets you choose where to save the PDF. The PDF will then be created and saved into the selected directory.
Microsoft Print to PDF has a couple of printing options you can customise. These are normally accessed from the “Printer Properties” or “Preferences” buttons in printing popups. You can choose the orientation of printing and change the paper size. This will define the page sizing within the PDF.
Print to PDF is a useful convenience feature which provides an easy way to convert documents into PDF. Microsoft also provides a virtual printer to produce XPS documents. You’ll see it named “Microsoft XPS Document Writer” in the list of installed printers.