Word .doc files created by Microsoft Word are great in their own right, but sometimes a PDF is just better. In this guide, we’ll discuss the differences between .doc and .pdf files, the benefits of converting to PDF, and answer some of your burning questions.
Ready to learn how to convert Word to PDF? Let’s get right to it!
What’s the Difference Between a .doc and a .pdf File?
Before you even learn how to turn a Word document into a PDF, you’re probably wondering what the difference between them is.
Both .doc (now also known as .docx, the next version of the old .doc format) and .pdf are extremely popular. In fact, they are two of the most used file formats — which, truthfully, comes as no surprise. However, each format has its use cases, benefits, and drawbacks.
Before we discuss turning a Word doc into a PDF, let’s look at the comparison below:
|Created by Microsoft||Created by Adobe|
|For storing editable Word documents||For storing editable PDF files (in Adobe Acrobat) and easy read-only file-sharing|
|Designed with editing in mind||Designed to be easily viewable across all sorts of devices and platforms|
|May lose their formatting when opened on other machines and devices||Stays the same on any device and platform|
Why Should You Turn a Word Doc into a PDF?
You might wonder why you need to make your Word document a PDF. The answer is simple — PDFs are easier to share with others without compromising the document’s formatting or quality. Sharing .doc(x) files can get frustrating if, for example, you send a file to someone who doesn’t have a particular font installed. In that case, the formatting will be ruined, and the document may display in a random auto-selected font, which you may not want.
Converting to PDF guarantees your text will be legible, and your formatting will remain the same no matter where the file is opened.
Related: Check out our guide for converting to PDF on Mac
How to Convert Word to PDF Using Microsoft Word
Ready to learn how to save a Word document as a PDF? One of the first and best ways to do it is using Microsoft Word.
Converting Microsoft Word to PDF is simple. You can simply export Word as PDF within the MS Word app, fill in any necessary information, and that’s it!
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide. Note that this method will work on both Windows and Mac:
- In Microsoft Word, go to File > Save As.
- In the next window, change your file name, select its location, then go to File Format and select PDF.
- Click Save, and that’s it. Your file has been properly converted to PDF, and you can now open and share it!
What if You Don’t Have Microsoft Word?
If you don’t have Microsoft Word and still want to learn how to change a Word document to a PDF, don’t worry! There are many other methods, including the two below.
How to Make a Word Document a PDF Using Google Docs
Google Docs is 100% free and is one of the most convenient conversion methods available. Here’s how to change a Word document to a PDF using Google’s free app.
- Go to Google Drive and click on + New > File Upload. Upload the file you want to convert to PDF, then open it.
When you open the file, you’ll see that the .doc or .docx file has a tag next to the title indicating its format.
- Once you have opened the file, here is how to save a Word doc as PDF in Google Docs. Go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf).
- If a popup comes up asking you for a save location, choose where you want your file to go. And that’s it!
Related: How to Convert PDF to Google Sheets
How to Change a Doc to a PDF Using Free Online Tools
If you’re still asking, “How do I convert a Word document to PDF in another way?” there are a few websites that can help you do that for free.
Consider websites such as:
All you have to do is select your tool of choice, use their uploader to upload your Word file, change any settings, click Convert, and that’s it, you’ve learned how to make a word doc a PDF!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Convert Word to PDF for Free?
Turning a Word doc into PDF format is simple and free using one of the methods described in our guide above. You can also check the software you have or download one like WPS Office, which can give you the conversion functionality you need for free (but with ads).
How Do I Convert Word to PDF on My Phone for Free?
If you’re wondering how to convert a word document to PDF using your phone for free, you can always try Google Docs. Upload and open your .doc file to Google Drive and open it with Google Docs. Within your document, tap the three dots menu and choose Share & export > Save As. From there, you can select .PDF — and you’re done! Alternatively, you can try one of the many free ad-supported apps (just be careful about malware/viruses).
Sometimes, a Word document is precisely what you need. But other times, a PDF file is the best format to use! We hope that this guide on how to convert Word to PDF has helped you figure out the easiest and most convenient method for you. If you have a favorite method, feel free to share it with us in the comments below!
Got multiple PDFs you need to put together? Check out this guide on combining PDF files into one document. If you’re having trouble accessing a password-protected PDF, you can read our guide on that here.
Chriselle has been a passionate writer for over 10 years, working with many publications worldwide. She currently writes for Productivity Spot, The Grad Cafe, and Hackr.io, among others.