Back to Basics: Creating a PDF

Sometimes I get caught up in the more complex tech tips, forgetting that in most cases, the simplest tips can have the biggest impact on productivity. Today's tip is an effort to get back to basics and remind us all of a really cool (and super useful) feature in OS X that can make all of our lives just a little easier.

You work hard to create your documents and make them look really good. When it's time to send your document to someone else, some of the formatting gets lost in translation or worse... the recipient makes unauthorized changes. Yikes! This could lead to bad things. Here's an easy way to protect your work and ensure that it looks just how it should.

Mac OS X makes this easy because Apple has included a tool to convert any document to a PDF document. A PDF (Portable Document Format) document is a special format that embeds all components of a document (images, fonts, drawing objects, etc) right into the document in a way that ensures that anyone opening the document will see it exactly how it was meant to be seen. Even better, it helps to prevent others from making changes to the document (more on that here).

Creating a PDF document is as easy as printing, and can be done from literally any application that you can print from. This is because the PDF tools are built right into the print dialog box.

To create a PDF, go to File > Print... from the application you want to create your PDF from. In the lower left-hand corner, you will see a PDF drop-down button.

When you click on this button, you will see lots of options to choose from.


Spend a minute to explore each of the options, but the one I want to focus on here is the "Save as PDF..." option. When this option is selected, it will ask you where you want to save the document and what you want to name it. Enter the appropriate information, then click "Save".

That's it! your new PDF has been created and you are free to archive, email, print or do anything you want to it.

Posted on February 27, 2015 and filed under Design, How To, Mac, Opinion.