How to Convert Excel to PDF in Easy Steps

XLS excel file spreadsheet

How to Convert Excel to PDF in Easy Steps

Even though Excel is almost 40 years old, its .xls spreadsheets still provide one of the leading file types for organizing and processing data. If you’re familiar with Excel files, you’ll know that though this software is high-utility, formatting is not its strong point, so it’s understandable why you may want to convert Excel files to more secure and stable PDFs.

By converting your Excel file to a PDF, you can keep your data presentable and do away with the hassle of locking spreadsheets or ensuring you have saved your data in the right version of Excel. 

So if you need some quick fixes for creating smart spreadsheets in PDF format, this article shares how to convert Excel files to PDF on your computer or smartphone. 

If you are only familiar with reading PDF documents, you’ll be surprised to know that you can convert a wide range of file types, including XLS files used by Microsoft Excel. Converting Excel to PDF is easy to do on your PC or online using a variety of apps.

Let’s get started!

Converting XLS to PDF in 4 Steps with Adobe Acrobat Document Cloud

The Adobe Acrobat Document Cloud provides the quickest way to convert PDFs to and from other leading file types. Plus, it’s 100% free!

Create an online account and convert as many of your XLS and XLSX files as you want into crisp PDF documents.

Here are the 4 steps for turning your Excel file into a PDF:

  1. Head over to Adobe and choose Convert from the menu of online tools. Select Excel to PDF from the drop-down list of options. On the page that opens, click on the blue button that says Select a file. This opens your files so you can select the PDF you want to upload. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file of your choice in the center of the page. 
  2. Select the XLS or XLSX file you would like to convert and click Upload to transfer the PDF to Adobe Cloud storage.
  3. Once uploaded, your file will appear on the screen with a blue button to the right that says Convert to JPG. Click on this button and the document will convert in a few moments.
  4. Once the JPG has been created, you can create a free account to download it for free. 

With an Adobe Document Cloud account, you can edit, resize, sign, and secure PDF documents. Use your account for free to convert and edit as many PDF documents as you want.

How to Convert Excel to PDF by Printing to PDF

You can quickly and simply convert Excel files to PDF on your Windows PC by printing the document as a PDF. Using the print function is useful because it provides additional control on how you format the spreadsheet for printing on an A4 sheet of paper. Get the job done using these quick steps:

  1. Open the Excel file you would like to convert.
  2. 2Within the opened spreadsheet, open the menu and select Print. Alternatively, you can use the shortcut keys Ctrl + P.
  3. In the Print window, select Microsoft Print to PDF as the printer name. 
  4. Use the Properties button to select the orientation of the document.
  5. Click Print Preview to open a new window where you can adjust the boundaries and scale of the Excel spreadsheet so it is appropriately formatted. 
  6. Return to the Print window and click Print to save the spreadsheet as a PDF in the location of your choice. 

Once you have printed the PDF, it cannot be edited or updated. But, Microsoft Excel ensures that it is rendered in PDF exactly as it is in the original XLS file. Amended spreadsheets require a new PDF. 

Converting an Excel spreadsheet to a PDF is simple. In the video below from Leila Gharani, you will learn three different ways to convert an Excel spreadsheet to a PDF, as well as some tips and tricks.

Converting Excel to PDF with Google Drive and Google Sheets 

Google Drive is massively underrated for its ability to convert a wide range of file types. If you have a Google account, you can use Google Drive and Sheets to quickly and simply convert an Excel spreadsheet into a PDF. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Log into your Google account and open Google Drive in your browser.
  2. Upload the Excel spreadsheet you want to convert to Google Drive. You can do this by clicking on the New button on the left-hand menu and selecting File Upload.
  3. Once the PDF is uploaded, open it in Google Sheets. You can do this by right-clicking on the file and selecting Google Sheets from the Open with option.
  4. When the PDF is open in Google Docs, head over to the File menu and select Download.
  5. Choose PDF document (.pdf) from the download options.
PDF file converter
Converting XLS files to PDF is extremely easy, and you can do it in many different ways!

How to Convert Excel to PDF on macOS

Excel for Mac is a popular platform for Mac users who routinely use Excel documents. Converting Excel to PDF on macOS is just as easy as it is using Microsoft Windows.

Here is how you can use the “Save As” function to create PDFs from Excel.

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet you want to convert into a PDF. 
  2. In the open document, go to File then Save As
  3. In the pop-up window that opens, select PDF from the File Format options.
  4. Choose whether to save a single Sheet or a whole Excel Workbook to create PDFs of the collection of sheets in the Workbook. If you save a workbook, every sheet that has data will be saved as a PDF. 
  5. Hit the Save button to publish your PDF.

How to Convert Excel to PDF with Windows 10

An alternative way to convert Excel to PDF is to use one of the many Excel to PDF apps that you can buy or download from the Microsoft Store. These simple converter apps will get the job done. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Search the Microsoft Store for an Excel XLS to PDF converter
  2. Download the converter software to your PC.
  3. Open the converter in Windows.
  4. Click on the Select File button.
  5. In the window that opens, select the Excel document you want to convert.
  6. When the file is open, click the Convert button to create your PDF, which usually automatically saves to the same folder as the PDF file.

You can also download other file converter software to run on Windows or use online converters, but the Microsoft Store provides vetted apps. 

PDF file

PDF graphic

Final Thoughts

It’s not always been easy, but with modern software, old-school file types like the Excel spreadsheet get a new lease of life as smart PDFs. As you can see, it should take you no more than a few minutes to convert the files of your choice. Choose the most convenient method for your PC or smartphone to create easy-to-share PDFs. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Excel file?

An Excel or XLS file is a type of spreadsheet file that is created by Excel and other spreadsheet programs. It was developed by Microsoft and first released in 1985. XLS files represent their data in Excel Binary File format. Excel files can contain single spreadsheets or multiple sheets in a Workbook.

What is a PDF?

Portable Document Format (PDF) files are a file type that was developed in the 1990s to create documents that can be exchanged across varying software, hardware, and operating systems. It was invented by Camelot, which later became Adobe. 

PDFs have unique qualities that make them very stable and secure. They have robust standards for editing, printing, and document exchange. In the past, these standards have made it extremely difficult to convert other file types to PDFs, but developers have developed a range of options for editing and converting these files.

How do file converters work?

The programs that are capable of converting PDF files to JPG and other file formats literally translate the data that is encoded in PDF to render an equivalent in the file format of your choice. File converters use a list of rules to present the data using different syntaxes.

Conversion is possible because PDF files contain extremely detailed data about the composition and formatting of the document, including the positions and type of text, graphics, and other metadata that can be used as instructions for the converted file format.

Can you convert a PDF into an Excel file?

You can use the Adobe Acrobat Document Cloud to convert PDFs files into Excel files using an almost identical step-by-step guide to those we’ve shared. You can also use a range of online drag-and-drop file converters to make this conversion for you.

What are the Excel file extensions?

Here are the filename extensions you can use with Excel files from versions that include Excel 2021, Excel for Microsoft 365, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, and Excel Starter 2010:

  • .xlsx
  • .xlsm
  • .xlstx
  • .xlsb
  • .xls
  • .xlt
  • .xml
  • .xlr
  • .xla
  • .xlw
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