How to convert a document in Word to PDF

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Back “in the day” your ability to convert a document from Word to PDF format meant you needed to install a third-party program or have Adobe Acrobat available. There are many websites which also offer this functionality but in most cases, it is not necessary. Many many moons ago, Microsoft added this feature directly into the Microsoft Office products and many people didn’t notice. Go ahead and uninstall any third-party programs you use at the moment and switch to use Microsoft Office to create your PDF files.

Whilst I’m discussing the ability to convert a document in Word to PDF format, it’s worth noting that you can convert any Microsoft Office document to PDF format. This includes an Excel worksheet, PowerPoint presentation, Publisher document, and a Visio drawing – see my earlier post here. Anywhere you can perform the Save As function, you can create a PDF file.

  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Open an existing document which you wish to convert from Word to PDF format

How to convert a document in Word to PDF format

  1. All you need to do now is perform the Save As function
  2. Click the File tab and select Save As OR press F12 on the keyboard
  3. The Save As dialog box will appear:

The Save As dialog box will appear

  1. Enter a new File name if needed and select the location you wish to save the PDF file to
  2. Now click the Save as type drop-down menu and choose PDF (*.pdf) from the list
  3. Now click Save
  4. Open File Explorer (Windows + E on the keyboard) and navigate to the location you saved the PDF file
  5. Locate the file and double click to check the file formatting

Compress file size

If you have converted your document in Word to PDF format but you find the file size is too large, you may need to make a few changes to optimise for a smaller size. This is particularly useful if your Word document has a large number of images/photos which will increase the file size of the document and also create a larger size PDF file.

By default, Microsoft Word has two optimisation options when saving as PDF: Standard (publishing online and printing) and Minimum size (publishing online).

To use the Minimum size option:

  1. Repeat the process above to display the Save As dialog box
  2. Change the Save as type drop-down to PDF (*.PDF)
  3. From the Save As window, select the Minimum size option as shown below:

Choose Minimum size from the optimise options

  1. Ensure your File name and location to save file are correct, then click Save

PDF/A compliant document

PDF/A compliant documents is a standardised format used for documents to preserve formatting and disabling some features which cannot be archived. See Wikipedia for more information.

It is still therefore possible to create a PDF/A compliant document using any of the Microsoft Office products.

  1. Repeat the process above to display the Save As dialog box
  2. Change the Save as type drop-down to PDF (*.PDF)
  3. Click the Options button to display more details

Click the Options button

  1. The Options dialog box will appear with additional settings you can adjust for your PDF file

Choose from additional options

  1. Tick the option for PDF/A compliant
  2. Click OK
  3. Ensure your File name and location to save file are correct, then click Save
  4. Your PDF file will now be created
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