How To Convert a Word Document to PDF

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Converting a Microsoft Word document to PDF is simple and useful. Here are some reasons to do it:

  • Creating static copies. Sometimes you need a static copy of a document rather than one a recipient can easily manipulate.
  • Sharing documents. You can share a PDF even with people who don’t use Microsoft Word. PDFs also work better if you need to post a document on the Internet.
  • Preserving formatting. As anyone who has ever struggled with Word can tell you, internal references like page numbers and tables get mangled when someone else opens it in their version of Word with different default settings.

Fortunately, you can convert a Word document to PDF with just a few clicks. Here’s how.

In Word, choose File and click Save as.1 Do this even if you’ve already saved the document previously. This will bring up a dialogue box that will let you choose a format.


Click the arrows and you will get a drop-down file format menu where “PDF” is one of the options.


Click PDF and then Save.


Word will convert the document and save it as a PDF in the same location as the original file. Your original file remains in Word format and can be edited as much as you would like. The PDF version will remain static. If you decide later that you wish you had an updated copy of the PDF as well, go through the above steps again and, when you get this dialogue box, click Replace.


That option will overwrite your existing PDF and save it with the changes you have made in Word, and you can send the updated PDF on its way.

  1. Nonsense text generated by Hipsum, the hipster Lorem Ipsum generator. 


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  • Lisa Larson

    That’s a bit complicated. I prefer the site Warning though, as it’s unclear how private that may be and when it’s finished it tells you that you now have a “sexy” PDF. It doesn’t display graphic images, ads, and I haven’t personally had issues with it. When you have to submit something fast, it’s quite handy. Another tiny little program with zero spam that is quite useful is PDF Binder. You can’t beat drag and drop.

  • David K. Hiscock

    Or, you could just have a PDF-friendly printer like CutePDF writer.
    No, I’m not affiliated w/ them; it just works.
    To my knowledge, there’s no junk/bloat/ad/malware attached.
    This is also how I’m saving/attaching email corespondence for use in motions.

    Please don’t use signatures. —Mod.

    • Cute PDF was great before Word added built-in PDF support. Now I don’t know why you would use it for converting Word documents.

  • lisa

    If you plan to e-file the document, a part of this process should be to inspect and remove from the document any electronic/embedded (I don’t know the right word for this-sorry) personal or identifying information that is included in the document.