Microsoft Word QUICK TIPS

Video: The Fastest Way to PDF a Word Document

By | Aug.30.17 | Efficiency, Legal Technology, Productivity, Tech Tips, Videos

Converting a Word document to PDF is an essential Word skill, especially if you’re dealing with courts that require e-filing. Make that frequent task a one-click operation by adding Publish as PDF to your Quick Access Toolbar.

Customize Your Toolbar to Quickly PDF a Word Document

Re-saving a Word document to PDF usually involves several steps: clicking on the File tab, choosing Save As, selecting the PDF file type, etc. Adding the Publish as PDF command to the Quick Access Toolbar condenses these multiple steps into a single click.

The Quick Access Toolbar by default sits above the Ribbon in Microsoft Word and in other Microsoft Office applications. In versions 2010 and above, you can add and rearrange commands on this handy toolbar by clicking the downward-facing arrow on the end.

The Publish as PDF command isn’t in the short list available here, so click “More Commands” to access the full list. That’ll take you to the Word Options dialog box. Here, under Choose commands from, choose either All Commands or File tab. Either of those lists will contain the Publish as PDF command.

To add Publish as PDF to your Quick Access Toolbar, click the Add button in the middle. You can re-order commands on the Quick Access Toolbar using these up-and-down arrows on the right. Click OK to save your changes.

From here on out, all you have to do to save your current document as a PDF is click this button. Word automatically invokes File > Save As and chooses the PDF file type for you.

If your court requires your documents to be PDF/A compliant, click Options in the Publish as PDF dialog box and check that box. Click Publish to save your document as a PDF.

By the way, this doesn’t just work in Word. You can add Publish as PDF to the Quick Access Toolbar in any Microsoft Office application except Outlook. So take a moment to customize the Quick Access Toolbar and make this daily task just a little bit easier.

Click here to read Deborah’s Microsoft Office tips.

Deborah Savadra spends a lot of her time explaining technology to lawyers, mostly as editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru, which features Microsoft Office video tutorials and other content especially for legal professionals. Watch her quick tips videos here, and follow her on Twitter @legalofficeguru.

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9 Responses to “Video: The Fastest Way to PDF a Word Document”

  1. Amanda
    7 September 2017 at 10:26 am #

    Awesome! Great tip.

    Now, is there a way to send a Word Doc as a PDF (i.e., through Outlook) without having the Doc saved as a PDF beforehand? I want to send PDFs instead of Word Docs, but I don’t want to have the PDF saved on my computer – just converted for email purposes.

  2. Jeff
    7 September 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Not all PDFs are created equal. We work with PDF in the development of Financial documents. We have more problems with the MS Office created PDFs. We also see problems with those created in Acrobat in some large scale (10,000+ pages) jobs. PDF/X strips the file to a minimum, but it can still can be problematic downstream.

  3. Carol Therrien
    7 September 2017 at 11:47 am #

    Thank you for this wonderful tip! It will save me so much time!

  4. Kelly
    7 September 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    Thanks! This is wonderful!

  5. David M. RIef
    7 September 2017 at 2:11 pm #


    Follow the same process except choose “Email as PDF Attachment” rather than “Publish as PDF or XPS” from the File Tab list.

  6. Scott
    7 September 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    My understanding is if you have Adobe Acrobat, then you should use the “Print to Adobe” printer to create PDFs. The argument was that the publish to PDF function in both Word and WordPerfect did not always print / publish exactly the same as when the same file is printed on an attached printer. This could be important where you are required to file electronically, but still send out printed hard copies. They may have fixed this problem in the last interation of Word and/or WordPerfect.


  7. Amanda
    7 September 2017 at 5:46 pm #

    Thank you David!

  8. Jeanne Wilson
    21 September 2017 at 11:13 am #

    After discovering the issue with using the Adobe printer driver to create PDFs from Word and the PDF document pagination not matching the actual document, I gave up on the Adobe driver altogether. We need accurate replication of a document in its natural format and in the PDF version of the same document.

    I found PrimoPDF, a free app, several years back, and have been using that driver to print to PDF. The pagination is spot on, and always has been, no matter what application I’m using. Maybe pagination isn’t important in every circumstance, but in the law business it’s essential that parties to a transaction are looking at the same thing: that the first word and the last word on a page match … no matter how those documents are compared – using a hard copy, opening a file in Word or viewing a PDF version.

    We are now using Word 2016/Adobe Acrobat Pro DC – repagination still occurs (using both Print to Adobe printer driver or publish to PDF) so we continue using PrimoPDF.