How to Print Directly to a PDF File in Windows 10

Go-PaperlessI have often written about the benefits of going paperless. (See for my articles concerning going paperless.) Instead of printing things on paper, I suggest using your computer to create PDF file of the documents instead. PDF files are easy to create, require less space, are easier to send by mail (by using email), are easier to copy, are easier to find in the future, and, if you really need something on paper in the future, can be printed at any time.

Macintosh users have had the capability for years of creating PDF documents from any application. Strangely, Windows did not have that capability until recently. Windows users have always needed to install third-party software in order to create PDF files. Now that has changed. Windows 10 lets you print directly to PDF from any application.

If you are using Windows 10, you can print to PDF while using almost any application by selecting FILE from the pulldown menus, selecting PRINT, and looking at the list of available printers. You should see a new “printer” called Microsoft Print to PDF. It isn’t really a printer. Instead, it is a piece of software that emulates a printer but creates PDF files instead of paper documents.

Click on Microsoft Print to PDF. When prompted, give the new PDF file a name and save it somewhere on your PC.

Some Windows 10 users report they do not see a Microsoft Print icon under the list of printers. If that happens to you, check for it under the Devices & Printers menu by opening Start and searching for printers. Should it fail to appear there, you need to enable a Windows feature that got turned off. Type Windows features into the Start menu to open the Turn Windows features on or off menu, and enable Microsoft Print to PDF.

Life without paper is great!


Rather than spend a lot of money converting everything to Windows 10, you could use Family Historian from Calico Pie (, this has had a print to pdf for years and doesn’t just work with Family Historian but works with every program I have tried. In addition you get a great piece of software – cheaper than updating your System to Windows 10 and finding your pc now has the speed of a snail.
Family Historian provide this through NovaPDF that can be downloaded free from cnet and there are loads of other small pieces of software that can be downloaded from there to do the same job.


    Many genealogy programs include pdf functionality that installs as a system printer so it can “print” from other programs. They, like Microsoft Print to PDF, don’t offer the complex pdf creation and management tools available in third-party pdf programs such as Adobe Acrobat and Nitro PDF, but many people don’t need all those bells and whistles.

    On another note – Windows 10 is slow? It shouldn’t be. It was designed to be faster, and on both my laptops it’s much zippier than Windows 7 and 8.1 ever were. If you’ve switched to 10 and your system is dragging, have an expert look at it. There may be something else going on.


    I think the article was based on just the ability to print to pdf. As far as Windows 10 is concerned. It is fast. If you have a very up to date PC. It takes more resources to run. Recently a woman successful sued MS when the force installed Windows 10 on her PC and it could not cope with it. So yes. Fast if your system can cope. If not. Slow.


This feature is also available on Windows 7 Professional. Click Print. Select destination change, then Print to PDF. Not sure how long this feature has been available, but I’ve been using it for awhile.


I use the download .pdf option for my Google Docs that I make on my Chromebook to make them more email friendly. The .pdf form is also more easily read by other Window users than the Gdoc file format.


One caveat: When “printing” a web page, Microsoft Print to PDF sometimes fails to print images or other elements on the web page. For printing web pages, I use Google browser’s Print/Save as PDF.

That said, MS Print to PDF is quick and handy for most uses and it’s a welcome addition to Windows 10.


    As regards webpages. In most cases these pages involve pictures or diagrams and one of the easiest ways of saving this information is simply doing a screen print or using the snipping tool in Windows 7. Both methods will provide you with a jpeg file that that can be read across all platforms, whether android, windows, or IOS. If there are a number of screens, then yo could easily link them like a panorama in most free free image software like IrfanView or GIMP2 and some of these will convert the jpeg to pdf too.


PrimoPDF is free software that you can download that does the same thing. I have used it for over ten years on various Windows operating systems


Some interesting comments and suggestions but do any of the above suggestions create searchable PDF files?


This isn’t new. You’ve been able to “Save As” pdf for years.


One thing most of these PDF printers are lacking is the ability to append to an already existing PDF. I use PrimoPDF because it has this ability. Acrobat (not the reader) and NitroPDF have this capability but they are not the simple, free printers.


Windows 10 support this print to PDF feature. For any other windows system that has problem printing to PDF they should use PrimoPDF as Keith above said, or PDFCreator which I like the most. Nice article, by the way…


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