Mac101 – Print To PDF

There is nothing more annoying than to see people sending files via email or posting them to a web page that are still in their original program format, like a Word .docx, Excel doc .xls, etc. The format of choice for transferring files to other people or posting them online is PDF (Portable Document Format).


PDF (Portable Document Format)

There may be some reason to leave a file in it’s original format if the person on the other end is going to work with the file. That makes sense. But, if you are posting a document online on a web page or just sending it out for information then the best format to use is PDF. A PDF file can be universally read on Mac and Windows platforms, almost all computers these days have some software on them that can open a PDF file. Saving a file into PDF format is very easy on the Mac.

Many programs like Microsoft Word, Pages, etc have an “Export” function built right into the app. Here is Microsoft Word:

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And, here is Apple’s Pages app:

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Many apps now days include and “Export to PDF” function which is great, if only people would use i!. If you are on a Mac and are using an app that does not have this capability builtin then you can use the “Print” function “Save as PDF” which is always available in Mac apps. It works great, just have to decide where to save the file:

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As you can see from the above dropdown menu you can save and/or open the PDF into all kinds of other programs on the Mac.

Just an additional note. In some apps on the Mac like Pages there is always the “Share” menu if you wish to send the file directly to someone. You access the Pages “Share” menu like so:

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Once you select how you want to share the document, Pages presents a menu for exporting the doc in different formats:

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You can password the document in this drop down as well.

Taking that extra step to save a file into PDF format is so easy to do and just good form. Plus, if you do not want someone to edit the file then you definitely want to save it into PDF format. If you are using the Preview app to interact with PDF files then you can do a “Save As” to “Encrypt” the document for extra security just like in Pages:

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Additionally, it may be that the other person(s) does not have the app in which the file was originally created. A PDF doc is perfect for that situation.


Leaving a document in it’s originally created format when you don’t need to is almost as bad as failing to use the BCC (blind carbon copy) feature when sending out an email to several people thus exposing everyone’s email address. It is so easy to put a file into PDF format these days, I say just do it for peace of mind and as a courtesy to others.