How to Change a Word Document to a PDF

Knowing how to convert a Word document to PDF is a useful skill. PDFs are easier to open on most computers and are the preferred file type throughout the business world.

The easiest way to change DOCX (Microsoft Word’s proprietary file type) is with a Word to PDF converter. However, it’s also a simple process to make your DOC a PDF within Microsoft Word itself if you have an Office subscription. 

Here’s how to turn any Word doc into a PDF, with screenshots to illustrate each step. We also provide other DOCX to PDF conversion methods at the end.

How to Convert DOCX to PDF Using Microsoft Word

1. Open your Word document

To change your Word document into a PDF file using Word, you must first open your file within Microsoft Word itself.

2. Click “File” then “Save As…”

With Word open, click “File” and select “Save As…” in the dropdown menu. 

Step 1 when converting a Word document to PDF: click file then select "Save As" from the dropdown

3. Click the “File Format” dropdown, select “PDF”

With the file export window open, click the dropdown menu next to the words “File Format”. You’ll see a range of options (which may be useful to know if you ever want to convert DOCX to other file types). Click on PDF, which is housed under the label “Export Formats”.

Step 2 when changing your DOCX file to PDF within Word: Click "PDF" in the "File Format" dropdown menu

4. After adjusting your settings, click “Export”

Now all that’s left is to choose where you want to save your new PDF on your computer, and which PDF format you prefer. If you’re sending your PDF somewhere electronically (for business, a job application, a class project, etc) then leave the “Best for electronic distribution and accessibility” radio button checked.

If you want to print your PDF, select the “Best for printing” radio button. Once you’re happy with your settings and your PDF’s destination, click the blue “Export” button at the bottom right corner of the window.

The final step when turning your Word doc into PDF: adjust your settings, choose your file destination, and click the blue "Export" button

Alternative methods for converting DOCX to PDF

There are three other easy ways to change your Word doc to PDF outside of using Microsoft Word directly.

Online PDF converter tools

Arguably the easiest, online PDF converters simply require you to drag or open your Word document within your browser. Then, the tool does the job for you. 

If all you need to do is convert one (or several) DOCX files to PDF, most of these websites do it for free. And they usually offer other PDF tools in case you ever need to change images or other file types to and from PDF (some require subscriptions, BigPDFConverter doesn’t).

Screenshot from BigPDFConverter's Word to PDF (or DOCX to PDF) converter page, 100% free for users
Converting Word to PDF is easy with the right tool.

Google Docs

Assuming you’re logged into your Google account already, the easiest way to convert your doc to PDF is to type “docs.new” into your address bar (like you’re typing in a website URL). This is a handy way to instantly open up a Google Doc. 

Within Google Docs, you can follow these steps to first open your DOCX file within Google Docs, then to download it as a PDF to your computer:

1. Inside your blank Google doc, click “File

2. Click “Open

3. Select the “Upload” tab, then click the “Upload” button

4. Locate your Word doc to open it

5. With your DOCX opened, click “File” again

6. Hover over “Download” and click “PDF document (.pdf)” in the dropdown menu to automatically download your Word doc as a PDF

Changing your Word document into PDF is easy within Google Docs, simply click "File", hover over "Download" and click "PDF Document (.pdf)"
Google Docs is a great place to modify files, as well as collaborate with others when you’re working on something.

OpenOffice & LibreOffice

OpenOffice and LibreOffice are both open-source software with many similar tools found within Microsoft Office Suite. LibreOffice Writer and OpenOffice Writer, which operate roughly like Microsoft Word, allow you to open DOCX files and convert them to PDF. 

Simply click “File” in the main menu of either program, then “Export as PDF”. Follow the instructions and your Word doc will be a PDF in no time. 

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