How to Convert Word to PDF in 5 Steps

PDF file converter

How to Convert Word to PDF in 5 Steps

Key Points

  • Knowing how to convert a word document to a PDF file is helpful because PDFs are supported by nearly every platform.
  • There are many apps and software programs that can convert a word document quickly and easily.
  • You can use Microsoft, Adobe, Google Docs, or apps like lightPDF or Smallpdf.

PDF files are great since they’re supported on nearly all platforms as high-fidelity documents. There are versions of PDF files that are actually ISO-standardized subsets of the file format that eliminates certain risk to the future reproducibility of its content.

This is what makes PDFs great—regardless of the platform on which you open them, PDF documents will always look the same. Their reproducibility, paired with the fact that they’re non-editable documents, is what makes PDFs a file of choice for sharing various corporate documents, invoices, manuscripts, and more.

However, creating a PDF file would imply using a tool such as Adobe Acrobat, which would enable you to write the document and save it in a PDF format. However, not many people, or businesses for that matter, have access to Adobe Acrobat. Instead, most people rely on text and word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, to make the document and then convert it to PDF through other means.

This guide will take you through several methods and steps necessary for converting Word documents to PDF file format. For starters, we’ll cover the four most prominent methods for converting Word to PDF:

  • How to Convert Word to PDF Using Microsoft Word
  • How to Convert Word to PDF Using Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • How to Convert Word to PDF Using Google Docs
  • How to Convert Word to PDF Using Web Apps

1.   Convert Word to PDF Using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is one of the best options for converting Word to PDF (and back), since you’ll probably draft and finalize the document in Word itself.

However, before we take you through the steps of converting Word to PDF, we have to discuss different saving options. Recent versions of Microsoft Word, including Student, Home, and Microsoft 365 versions, use cloud storage (typically One Drive) to autosave the document as a Microsoft Word (*.docx) file format.

To convert Word to PDF using Microsoft Word, open the document you wish to convert, and do the following:

  1. Click File in the upper-left corner of the screen.
  2. If your Word file is saved in cloud storage, click Save a Copy, and choose a save location. One Drive location is perfectly fine, as is any other save location on your computer. If your Word file is saved locally on your PC, skip to the next step.
  3. If your Word file is saved locally on your PC, click Save as, and choose the save location. Just like with the previous step, the One Drive location is perfectly fine, as is any other save location on your computer.
  4. Regardless of which option was offered to you and which one you chose, upon selecting the save location, a Save as window will appear. You can change the save location and fill in a different file name for the file you’re about to convert into a PDF.
  5. Before you save the file, change the file type from the Save as type drop-down menu found at the bottom of the Save as window. Choose PDF, and click Save.
The Save As menu in Microsoft Word.
Click on Save As and select PDF as the file type.

Your Word file is now converted and saved at the designated location. If you need to save the file as a PDF/A subset, after selecting the file format (PDF), an Options button will appear. Click it and select the PDF/A compliant box located at the bottom of the Options window. Click OK, and then Save to save the file at a specified location.

However, it’s worth pointing out that there’s an alternative method for converting Word into PDF via an Export option, which isn’t available on pre-2013 versions of Microsoft Word. Once your file is loaded into Microsoft Word, do the following:

  1. Click File in the upper-left corner of the screen.
  2. On the sidebar, regardless of where your file is located (locally on One Drive), there’s an Export option. Click it.
  3. On the next window, click the Create PDF/XPS button.
  4. The Publish as PDF or XPS window will appear. Click Publish to save the file to the desired location.  
The Export menu in Microsoft Word.
Select Export and then select Export PDF/XPS Document.

2.   Convert Word to PDF Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

Converting Word to PDF is even easier using Adobe Acrobat Pro. However, Adobe Acrobat Pro is paid software and, as stated above, not everyone has access to Adobe Acrobat.

With that said, there are two methods for converting Word into PDF, and we’ll explain both methods below.

Method #1:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Pro. The program should greet you with an action window, as in the picture below.
  2. Select Create PDF from File option.
  3. An Open window will appear. Navigate to your Word file, select it, and click Open.
  4. Adobe Acrobat Pro will process and display your Word document. Click the Save button to save the document as a PDF.
  5. Once the Save As window opens, you can choose the location to save the document as a PDF by clicking on Save.
Adobe Acrobat showing the option to Create PDF from File.
Select Create PDF from File.

Adobe will save the document at the designated location.

Method #2:

Adobe integrates several commands into the Windows context menu that’s accessed with a right mouse click. One of these commands will allow you to convert Word to PDF.

  1. Open File Explorer (WIN+E) and navigate to the Word document you want to convert to PDF.
  2. Once you have found the document, right-click it to show the context menu.
  3. Select Convert to Adobe PDF. Adobe will initialize the process, and a Save Adobe PDF File As window will pop up, prompting you for a file save location.
  4. Click Save to save the PDF file to a designated location.
File Explorer window with the right-click menu open for a document.
Right-click on the document and select Convert to Adobe PDF.

Word will save your document as a PDF to a designated location on your PC/One Drive.

3. Convert Word to PDF Using Google Docs

If you don’t have access to Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can draft and finalize the document in Google Docs.

However, we’ll assume that you already drafted and finalized the document in Microsoft Word or some other word processing software or text editor, like Windows Notepad. This option is great because it allows you to convert several file formats like *.txt into PDF.

Here’s how to upload and convert the Word file into PDF using Google Docs:

  1. Log into Google Docs.
  2. If you’re drafting a new document in Google Docs, click a template under Start New Document and skip to step 5.
  3. Click an Open File Picker on the right side of the screen.
  4. If your file is saved to One Drive, find it under the My Drive tab, select the file, and click open. If your file is saved locally, Browse under the Upload tab. Once the file is open, it will load into Google Docs.
  5. Once you’ve made the necessary changes to the document (if any), click File in the upper left corner, scroll down to Download drop-down, and select PDF Document. Your browser will save the file to the designated Downloads folder on your computer.
File menu open in Google Docs showing the PDF Document option under Download.
Select File > Download > PDF Document.

4. Convert Word to PDF Using Web Apps

If you don’t like the idea of paying for Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Pro, Google Docs is a fantastic and free solution for drafting and converting documents to PDF.

However, if you’re looking for quick conversions without having to log into your Google account and import/export documents, you can always rely on one of numerous online Word to PDF converters. Here are some of the bests we could find online:


LightPDF is one of the best online document converters available on the internet since it is free, user-friendly, and allows you to convert Word files into PDF, among other file format conversions. You don’t have to create an account or log in to use LightPDF, but doing so is useful because the service offers to store your converted files rather than erase them once you have downloaded them.


Smallpdf, like all great web programs, is fast, easy, and, most importantly, free. You can upload your Word documents and export them as PDFs directly to your Cloud storage, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, using this service. It also safeguards your privacy by introducing automated removals one hour after a successful upload. The sole disadvantage of this service is that you can only receive two free conversions per day.

Online PDF Converter WorkinTool

WorkinTool is a software solution for numerous types of conversions, but the company’s website offers free Word to PDF conversions. The best part is that you don’t have to log in; simply select the files, and the service will convert them for you.


Though it’s primarily oriented towards PDF-to-Word conversions, PDFSimpli allows you to convert Word to PDF as well. The service doesn’t stop there; it’s actually a full PDF conversion service that allows you to convert several types of text or image files into PDFs, and vice-versa.


PDF4me is one of the greatest online Word to PDF conversion tools. Simply drag and drop any version of your Word documents, such as *.doc and *.docx, to convert them to PDF with the finest quality. Convert up to 20 *.docx files to PDF at once. You can also convert multiple versions. Whether it’s Doc, Docx, or any other Microsoft Word file format, you can simply convert them all into PDFs in a single step with this easy-to-use online Word to PDF converter.

You have a few different options to convert a Word document to a PDF file. In the video below, YouTuber Steven Bradburn walks you through three simple ways to do this.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you edit PDF in Word?

Yes, but you’ll need to convert the file to Word file type before any editing. Microsoft Word software performs the conversion automatically.

What is the difference between Word file and PDF file?

Microsoft Word is used for making and editing DOC files, while Adobe Acrobat is for creating PDF files. Since the latter is non-editable, it’s mostly used in business and corporate applications.

How do I convert a Word document to PDF on my phone?

The best approach is to upload the document to Google Docs and download it as a PDF.

Does Office 365 have a PDF converter?

Yes, Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) has a Create a PDF add-in, which allows Microsoft 365 to easily convert documents into high-quality PDFs.

What is a disadvantage of PDF?

The single drawback of PDF files is the cost of editing, since it isn’t possible to directly edit your PDF files without Adobe Acrobat Pro.

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