Like the GIF (that’s Graphics Interchange Format), the PDF (Portable Document Format) has survived and flourished through the digital age. That’s partly because of its versatility: It’s the go-to document format when you want to make sure that it’s going to look the same no matter what device it’s opened on.
PDFs remain ubiquitous and straightforward to use, and it’s not difficult to generate them from just about any app without expensive tools or complicated processes. If you want or need to deal in PDFs, follow the steps below to see what your options are, depending on the files and platforms you’re working with.
The best trick for creating PDFs in Windows is to go to the print option in whatever program you’re in, and then choose Save as PDF in the printers list rather than an actual printer—hey presto, you’ve got a digital document you can save and share anywhere. In Google Chrome, for example, click the three dots (top right), then Print, and then choose Save as PDF in the Destination drop-down.
This should be an option in just about every program that you come across on Windows, although certain applications will have more specific PDF-related features. The ability to save as PDF is built right into Microsoft Word for Windows, for example: Choose File, then Save as, and PDF is listed as one of the file types to the left of the Save button. Choose More options and you can set the quality of the PDF too.
Over on macOS, you’ve got exactly the same shortcut as on Windows. Get to the print dialog from any of your programs, and then in the Destination drop-down, pick Save as PDF. So in the Safari web browser, for example, you can turn any webpage into a PDF by choosing File and then Print, and then selecting the PDF option (lower left). Pick Save as PDF to choose a filename and destination, and you can even add password protection to the document if you want to.