Best way to Convert DOC to PDF?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Mike T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I am trying to convert a DOC to PDF (a portable document format file), and have downloaded a number of freeware DOC to PDF converters, but they don't seem to work properly. Either the PDF document format is messed up, or the program interface is far too complex or extremely outdated. Can you recommend a freeware DOC to PDF program for me to use? "

My response:

Out of curiosity, I did some searching online for various freeware PDF creator / freeware PDF converters, but came up empty handed as you did. Many of the programs I found simply didn't work (most likely the same issue you encountered), or the files I downloaded were bogus and bundled with malware.

I think perhaps the best way to go about creating a PDF or even converting DOC to PDF is to use Foxit Reader's virtual printer to convert your documents to PDF. The virtual printer method works best because it interfaces directly with the program used to create the document and for the most part there is no loss of formatting. I've been using Foxit Reader's virtual printing method for a few months now and it has worked very well for me. Best of all, it's freeware!

How to Convert from DOC to PDF

Converting DOC to PDF using Foxit Reader's virtual PDF printer is easy. Here are the steps:

1. Download and install Foxit Reader (free).

2. Open your DOC, TXT, XLS, or whichever document file you want to convert. If it's a DOC file then it will open up in MS Word; a TXT file will open up in Notepad, and an XLS file will load in Excel (for example).

3. To convert the DOC to PDF (or whichever file you're converting), go to the Print menu as your normally would when it comes time to print the file to the printer -- but don't click on the Print button yet.

4. Instead, look for your printer name in the Print window; the printer name should be listed and part of a pull down menu so you can choose another destination printer. From the pull down menu, choose the "Foxit Reader PDF Printer", then click the Print button. This effectively converts the document into a PDF file.

5. A window will now appear and ask you where to save the PDF file. Most likely you will want to save the new PDF in the same directory as your original DOC file; this is a good idea so you don't go looking in two separate folder locations for the same file (even if they are in different formats).

6. When the virtual "printing" is complete, the new PDF file will open up inside of Foxit Reader so you can review the formatting and to ensure everything looks the way it should. If you need to make some modifications to your PDF file, you will have to edit the original DOC file and then re-print to the Foxit PDF Printer again.

How to Create a PDF File

The process of creating a PDF file from scratch is essentially the exact same steps as mentioned above. Instead of loading the DOC file (as in Step #2), you would create the DOC file from scratch, then printing the DOC file to the Foxit PDF Printer, etc.

Voila! This method works with virtually any application.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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ConnieB's picture

CutePDF is another FREE choice. I've been using it for years to convert files to PDF format. It works the same way as Foxit. When you print a file, you select CutePDF as the destination. CutePDF converts the file and then asks you where you want to save it.

gm.warden_4400's picture

The best way, IF you have Microsoft Office Word already (one of the later versions) is to use the "Save As" feature; it will even let you optimize (minimum file size) for publishing on the web.

jsteedley2's picture

Hello, all.
I knew about Foxit, having choosen it as my default PDF reader years ago,
because Adobe has had too many security issues.
I just checked my OpenOffice options, & assuming someone uses [or chooses] OpenOffice,
it has the option to "Export to PDF" for compatible files. Considering files could be edited in OO, & exported to PDFs, that may be more useful to some.

Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

rwells78's picture

Or upload to Google Drive and then "download as" and choose PDF.

projectmansd's picture

I use Primo free PDF. It sets up as a printer and allows you to name the file and save it where you want. I have Adobe also and have no issues using the pdf files created by Primo

cbecker_3631's picture

The reader is using an old Office package if the document is a .doc. The latest Office can automatically do this. I use the website Zamzar to convert documents and images from one type to another. It's free and it works well.

WGabbey's picture

PrimoPDF is the best option as it will convert anything that you could normally print.

PrimoPDF is truly free with no ads to pester you and it installs and acts like a printer.

If you can see it on your screen and can send it to a printer, you can send it to PrimoPDF. Files sent to PrimoPDF will be converted to PDF in the EXACT format and font and with any and all graphics exactly as they appear in your original file.

dleye_4414's picture

All of these responses were helpful, thanks, but which is the best free resource to convert from PDF to DOC?

argusmac_4412's picture

Try Nitro PDF reader ver 3. It has great features as a PDF reader as well as printing to pdf. And it's free.

Greg1956's picture

I've found PrimoPDF to be the easiest and it allows you to also password protect the file for security purposes.

I can use Office 2007 to save as PDF which works fine but the file is much larger than by PrimoPDF, it is much easier just to Print to the PrimoPDF driver.

Oh and you can append the file as well as you go.


roxy.craig42_4505's picture

LibreOffice has an excellent DOC to PDF converter. I've exported documents,
spreadsheets, presentations, etc to PDF files and never had any problems
opening them with PDF Reader programs. The converter is an icon - PDF - on the menu bar. Save the file in whatever part of LO you are using and then click on the PDF icon. Presto you now also have a PDF file of your current file.