How to Convert Files to PDF for Printing

How to Convert Files to PDF for Printing

Read Time: 2 Minutes


31 Oct 2019

Update: 17th May 2023

The best way to set up documents for online printing is to save the print files as a PDF (portable document file). In this guide, we’ll be showing you how to set up your print files as PDFs in a range of popular design programs such as Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. We’ll also be showing you a couple of tools you can use to edit PDF documents for minor changes after you’ve exported your artwork.


Why Should You Convert Your Files to PDF Before Printing?

You should always save your print files as PDFs because it locks all the different elements in place. 

We always open your artwork to check it before it goes to print to make sure it’ll look as great on the screen as it does when it prints. When you open artwork on a different computer to the one it was designed on, this can alter the formatting and text. That means all the time and effort you’ve spent perfecting your work is lost in seconds. Save it as a PDF and this problem disappears!


How to Save a Word Document as a PDF

To save your Microsoft Word document as a PDF:

  • Go to File > Save As
  • Choose a location for your saved document
  • Name your document
  • Under ‘Save as Type’, choose PDF
  • Click save


How to Save Your Publisher File as a PDF

Converting your file to PDF in Microsoft Publisher (2007 and later) is similar to Word. All you need to do is:

  • Go to File > Save As
  • Choose your location and name the file
  • Under ‘Save as type’, choose PDF
  • Save the file

For Publisher 2003 or earlier, you can convert your files online using an online conversion tool. 

Popular examples are and PDFConvertOnline. To use these:

  • Save your artwork as normal
  • Upload the Publisher file to your chosen conversion website
  • Convert using online tool


How to Save a PowerPoint as a PDF

Microsoft PowerPoint is a popular design tool for printing. To save your PowerPoint as a PDF:

  • Select File > Save As
  • Choose the location where you want to save the document
  • Name the file
  • Under ‘Save as type’, choose PDF
  • Click save


How to Save an InDesign File as a PDF

To save a file as a PDF for print in Adobe InDesign:

  • Go to File > Export
  • Choose Adobe PDF as your file format
  • In the Export PDF Window, choose the settings: PDF/X-1a:2001
  • Save your artwork


How to Save Your Photoshop Document as a PDF

To export your artwork as a PDF in Photoshop:

  • Go to File > Save As
  • Choose Photoshop PDF from the Format menu
  • Click Save
  • In the Adobe PDF dialog box, choose the settings: PDF/X-1a:2001
  • Click Save PDF


How to Edit a PDF Document: Best PDF Editing Programs

If you or your client need to make minor changes after exporting your document to a PDF, there are lots of online tools you can use to make these changes directly to the PDF. Here are our favourite PDF editing programs.

1.    Adobe Acrobat Pro

Probably the most well-known and commonly used PDF editing tool, Acrobat can be used across desktop and mobile, meaning you can edit PDFs wherever you are. This software lets you directly edit text, font, and even images.


2.    AbleWord

If you’ve created a PDF using Microsoft Word, you can edit it using the free word processor AbleWord. This tool allows you to make textual changes, add lists, spell check insert images into your document.


3.    Foxit PhantomPDF

This cloud-based tool is perfect for collaborative projects as PDFs can be shared and edited by multiple users. It even tracks user behaviour so you can see who has made what changes to the document.


4.    Power PDF

Power PDF boasts that it’s the most accurate PDF software for reproducing complex PDF layouts. You can also use this PDF editor with scanned documents that contain columns, tables and images, however we would not recommend using scanned documents for online printing.


5.    Sejda PD

Another free option, Sejda PD can be used to find and replace words in a PDF and allows you to edit text and images. There are limits on the size of the file you can edit, but you can get a weekly pass for a one-time fee if you need a little more wiggle room.


We hope this guide gives you everything you need to know for converting artwork files to PDF. If you still need help saving your file as a PDF for print, get in touch with our Personal Artworker team for advice by emailing


About the Author

Hi! I’m James, the Graphic Designer at instantprint. I like helping customers by creating helpful print and designs tips and guides to make sure their artwork looks the best that it can.