I am responsible for contracts in my office and while we edit them in Microsoft Word on iMac systems, the boss likes them sent as PDF files to clients for approval. What’s the easy way to save a .DOC or .DOCX Word document in PDF format?
I completely understand how your boss is thinking with this and concur completely that it’s a best practice to work on documents in a word processor like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, then share the documents for commentary, annotation and approval in portable document format (PDF) form. Modern PDF viewers allow you to annotate (as Preview does on the Mac, for example, allowing you to add virtual post-its of arbitrary length, circle items, etc) but won’t let clients actually change the source document.
Word has the ability to save in PDF format, as you’ll see in a moment, but I have to say that my preference for creating PDF on a Mac system regardless of the program is to use the printer driver. In other words, when you go to print something, be it a document from Microsoft Office for Mac, a Web page, or an email, the print dialog box allows you to specify “Save as PDF” too, and that’s the best, fastest and most powerful way to proceed.
One thing it lets you do that I bet your boss would appreciate is to put access passwords on PDF documents, so that without the password it’s not readable. Even if you just use the last name of the client there’s a good psychological security boost that everyone will appreciate.
Let me show you the official Microsoft way to save as PDF first. Start with “Save As…”:
Once you choose that, the resultant dialog box offers PDF as one of the output formats:
Lots and lots of options, but since this is unique to the Word app, I prefer to tap into a more universal solution.
So cancel out of this particular “Save As…” and choose File > Print instead (or just use Cmd-P on the keyboard).
The result is a familiar print dialog window:
I bet you’ve seen this oodles of times in the past!
The trick is to notice the “PDF” button on the lower left rather than to just click “Print” for a hard copy.
Click on “PDF” and you’ll see that there are quite a few options:
“Mail PDF” is a handy one as it saves the document as a PDF and automatically opens up a message with that attached. Handy shortcut!
For this, however, just choose “Save as PDF…”
That’s a bit easier to understand, I think, and lets you add copyright notices, etc, as needed.
Better yet, click on “Security Options…”
You can see that you can set all sorts of security options, including preventing people printing the doc without a print password and, as I mentioned earlier, preventing people from opening the doc at all without an access password.
Done? Click “OK” and “Save” and you’ve a PDF version of your MS Word document ready to mail to your client.