How to Convert Files to PDF on a Mac

Most modern word processors and image editors offer a PDF conversion option. Whether you use Apple Pages, Microsoft Word, or a less common application on your Mac, you can usually convert a document to PDF with just a few clicks. Similarly, most image editors, such as Preview, Photoshop, and other popular apps, offer a PDF conversion tool.

The trick is that you have to know which menu option to click to export the file in PDF format. One app might let you use the Export menu, while another app lets you use the Save As option. To help you, here are all the most common ways to export files as PDF in macOS.


In many cases, just visit File > Export in the menu bar of the application you are using will yield favorable results. Variations include: Export to, Export asand, in the case of Preview, Export as PDF.

In general, when you click Export—If the menu doesn’t have an option to convert directly to PDF — you’ll be able to choose a format before saving the new file.

2. Create PDF with Save As option

Save As is another popular menu item that works similarly to Export. Almost all word processors and image editors have this option, and most allow you to select PDF as the format before saving. So let’s go to File > Save As then use Arrangement dropdown box to select PDF.

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3. Save PDF from print window

As a more common method, using Print menu to create PDF will work in most cases. This might be counter-intuitive at first, but you really don’t need to print anything to use this method.

The interface is different between apps, but after selecting File > Printmost print windows will provide a Save as PDF or Save to PDF button. In many cases, you can even use this method to save web pages as PDFs in your browser to save pages for offline viewing.

If you can’t find the conversion method elsewhere, use Print > Save as PDF might be the best solution.

4. Create PDF with quick actions

If all else fails and the file you want to convert is an image, you can use the Finder’s Quick Actions menu to get the job done. Here’s how to convert images to PDF using Quick Actions:


  1. Open Seeker and locate the image you want to convert.
  2. Control-click file.
  3. Selection Quick Actions > Create PDF.
  4. Name the new document.

Finder automatically creates the PDF in the location of the original file, so you don’t have the option to specify a different destination. If certain Quick Actions are missing, you can edit the menu by going to System Preferences > Extensions. From here, you’ll need to choose Seeker in the side menu and tick the relevant items.

macOS offers a variety of PDF conversion methods

When converting files to PDF, the application of your choice, whether it is a word processor or an image editor, provides a simple solution. In most cases, the answer you’re looking for will be in the File menu. Export is a popular choice, and Save as is in fact required for any app that allows you to save content.


If your application’s PDF converter is not in an obvious place, use Print > Save as PDF will almost certainly solve the problem. And, of course, the Finder’s Quick Actions menu can come to the rescue when all else fails. Obviously, converting a file to PDF is not difficult. Deciding which method to use is the hard part.


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Sarah Ridley

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