How to Install and Use PDF Printer in Windows 10

How to Print to PDF in Windows 10

Want to save to PDF from any app? Find out here how to install the Microsoft Print to PDF printer driver and print to PDF in Windows 10.

A clandestine group inside Adobe convened in secret meetings throughout the summer of 1990. At one time, Bill Woodruff, one of the engineers, suggested “Carousel” as the code-name for the group’s covert project.

Because the name found acclaim and appreciation, the software they created was soon known as “Carousel” inside Adobe.

Because Kodak had already produced a slide projector with the same name, the software became known as “Acrobat” outside Adobe.

Acrobat, of course, produces PDF files—and so can you with Windows 10:

How to Use PDF Printer in Windows 10

Time needed: 2 minutes.

To save any document that can be printed as a PDF file in Windows 10:

  1. Open the printing dialog in the application.

    Windows keyboard shortcut: Typically, you can press Ctrl P to open the dialog.

  2. Select Microsoft Print to PDF as the printer.

    Note: Some applications offer their own PDF printing; Edge, for instance, lets you choose Save as PDF instead.

  3. Alter printer settings such as paper size and orientation.

  4. Click Print.

    Select "Microsoft Print to PDF" as the printer

  5. Type the name you want to use for the saved PDF file.

    PDF extension: You need not add .pdf to the name; printing to PDF will append the file extension automatically.

  6. Verify PDF Document (*.pdf) is selected for Save as type:.

  7. Now click Save.

How to Set Up PDF Printer in Windows 10

To add the Print to PDF printer available in Windows:

  1. Select Settings from the Start menu.
    Windows 10 keyboard shortcut: Press Windows I.
  2. Go to Devices.
  3. Now select Printers & scanners.
  4. Click Add a printer or scanner.
  5. Wait for Microsoft Print to PDF to appear under Printers & scanners.
    Print spooler: Do turn on the print spooler; without it, Windows will not detect printers such as Microsoft Print to PDF; see below.

How to Install PDF Printer in Windows 10

To add the Microsoft Print to PDF printer to Windows 10:

  1. Open the Window Start menu.
    Windows 10 shortcut: press the Windows key.
  2. Start typing Windows features.
  3. Select Turn Windows features on or off.
  4. Check Microsoft Print to PDF.
    Already checked: Uncheck Microsoft Print to PDF, continue with the following steps, then repeat all the steps, this time checking Microsoft Print to PDF.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Restart Windows 10.

How to Print to PDF in Windows 10: FAQ

The Microsoft Print to PDF printer driver is missing; can I install it?

Yes. To add the missing printer driver to your installation of Windows 10:

  1. Open the Printers & scanners page in Windows 10 settings.
  2. Select Print server properties.
  3. Go to the Drivers tab.
  4. Click Add….
  5. Now click Next >.
  6. Check your machine’s processor family.
    Default: Chances are, leaving the default choice checked is just fine.
  7. Click Next >.
  8. Now click Windows Update.
    A chance to practice patience: Fetching all driver specifications from Windows Update can take several minutes.
  9. Select Microsoft as the Manufacturer.
  10. Select Microsoft Print to PDF under Printers.
  11. Click Next >.
  12. Now click Finish.

How do I start the print spooler?

To start the Windows 10 printer spooling service:

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type services.
  3. Open the Services app.
  4. Click on the Print Spooler service with the right mouse button.
  5. Select Start from the context menu.
    Start not available: If Start is grayed out together with all other choices, select Properties and choose Manual or Automatic under Startup type: on the General tab.

(How to print to PDF tested with Windows 10 Version 20H2; updated May 2023)

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