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What’s the Difference Between Print to PDF, Save to PDF and Export to PDF?

Working with PDF files can require more understanding than other document formats, such as Microsoft Word files, because of their structure and format. While it is easy to encounter the complexities associated with creating and editing PDF files, you may also experience confusion with the options that exist for saving PDFs.

When you encounter unfamiliar terms such as "print to PDF" or "export to PDF," their immediate function is not always clear. What is the difference between these save options and when is the right time to use each one? Let's break it down by looking at each term.

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What Does It Mean to Print to PDF?

"Print to PDF" is a unique function that uses a PDF program, such as Kofax Power PDF, as a virtual software printer. The tool adds functionality for creating PDFs from other file types from within the program instead of running a separate conversion. For example, here's how you might use this function in Microsoft Word:

  1. Open and finalize a document that you wish to turn into a PDF.
  2. Select File, then Print.
  3. Choose "Power PDF" as the printer option and change any settings necessary.
  4. Click "Print" and use the file save dialogue box to enter a new file name. Press OK to save.

Printing to PDF flattens files, meaning that it removes special features and forms and creates a final document that looks similar to what you would see in a hard-copy or printed format.

The Simplicity of "Save to PDF"

"Save to PDF" sounds exactly the same as what it means: you're saving an open file as a PDF document. Typically, you would use this option when you’re already working with a document inside a PDF editor. In some cases, it can also mean converting a document to the format, which makes it similar to "export to PDF".

When to Use "Export to PDF"

"Export" is not usually a term that you’ll encounter within PDF editing software or a method that you’ll use to save files in such programs. Instead, you will typically see this option in other programs that can create PDFs out of their files, such as image editing software. In these cases, the program "exports" the file into a PDF version, which you can then continue to work on elsewhere.

Secure the Software You Need to Capably Use PDFs

Working with PDFs has become much easier over the past decade, especially as operating systems such as Windows and macOS have added native support for the format. A robust PDF editor is an essential piece of software to have in place, whether you want to add "print to PDF" support to your applications or need a way to work with and edit these files.

Kofax Power PDF is one of the best options for individual and business users today. Cost-effective, feature-rich and particularly easy to learn and use, it offers all the functions that you need to unlock the benefits of this versatile file format. See how much easier it is to perfect your digital document workflows by adding Power PDF to your arsenal today.

Try the software free for 15 days to see how it can make an impact.

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