Create PDF in Mac [How to]

Posted by Mayank on September 11, 2011 in Mac

Unlike a PC, it is very easy to create a PDF in Mac. If you’re a PC user, you need to install a PDF converter executable like CutePDF or PDFCreator etc. However, Mac comes with this in-build feature, which allows you to save documents in PDF (or Portable Document Format). Saving a document as PDF makes it easier to share the document with other people via email or making it available on a public folder on a disk etc.

To save a document as PDF, open a document and then go to File -> Print and click PDF. A dropdown menu will appear and your screen will look something like this.


create pdf in macNow you see several options to create PDF in Mac. Let’s understand what are these.

  1. Open PDF in Preview : This gives you an option to preview a file before saving as a PDF. Once in preview mode, you can also print it by choosing File > Save As in Preview.
  2. Save as PDF : You can save any document as a PDF by using this option. You have the option to add meta data to the PDF (Title, Author, Subject and Keywords).  This meta data can be a big help when you use Spotlight.
  3. Save as PostScript : PostScript files are saved as PostScript Level 2 files in ASCII format and include all but the standard 13 fonts. Fonts are subsetted. It is not an option used normally.
  4. Fax PDF : This option will work if you have a fax machine attached. If you use this option, you’ll have to provide the fax number and your print file will be transmitted to the fax number provided.
  5. Mail PDF : If you use this option, the document gets created as a PDF and gets attached to the Mail. All you need to do is to add a recipient and the PDF will be emailed to him.
  6. Save as PDF-X : PDF-X is a subset of PDF that’s used in the printing industry and contains the minimum information needed to print the document. It is an option generally used by those in printing business.
  7. Save PDF as iPhoto : If you use this option, the PDF gets imported to iPhoto as a picture.
  8. Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder : A generated PDF of your print job will be saved to your “~/Documents/Web Receipts” folder.
  9. Edit Menu.. : Let you add / remove printing Workflows like the option to Send PDF to Evernote (if you have Evernote installed on your Mac).

When you print a document as a PDF on Mac, you have the option to enable security and password encrypt your document.

Note that when you create a PDF, the quality of the document goes down. If you want to retain the quality of the PDF, you will have to purchase the Acrobat CreatePDF suite, which costs $9.99 per month. I prefer to use the free version over quality 🙂

Also, you can also use Automator to create new printing workflows. Our series on Automator is Coming up Soon…

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