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Print to PDF vs. Save as PDF vs. Export to PDF | Ultimate Guide

The PDF format is recommended because of its universal compatibility, security features, and other advanced attributes. However, you get to convert other document formats into PDFs using different methods. Now, the struggle between the Save as PDF vs. Print to PDF vs. Export to PDF methods is real. This article will explore the functionality of these methods and highlight their key aspects.

Also, if you stay tuned till the end, you will get a powerful and advanced tool called UPDF to perform these actions without effort. Moreover, for a comprehensive understanding, you can consider downloading the UPDF toolkit by hitting the "Free Download" button.

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Part 1: Print to PDF VS Save As PDF VS Export to PDF

Print to PDF, save As PDF, and export to PDF are the three different methods to convert documents or files into the widely used PDF format. These methods can be used for specific purposes and provide different features and options for customization. This section will give you an overview of each method for better understanding.

1. Print to PDF

Print to PDF utilizes the printing functionality of an application or browser to generate a PDF file. It replicates the content as it would appear on a physical page. Also, it provides options to adjust page size and orientation during the conversion process.

In addition, you can also choose from built-in paper sizes, including A4 and A3. This approach allows users to create a PDF file resembling digital paper and captures data from the source program designed to fit a printed page.

2. Save as PDF

Save As PDF refers to directly converting a file to PDF format within the application's "Save As" function. Normally, this method retains the original file's formatting, fonts, and layout while saving it as a PDF. Also, the operation does not perform any additional modifications or customizations. However, you can add or save PDF metadata with this method.

3. Export to PDF

Export to PDF is a mode that is present as a unique feature within software or applications. This feature allows users to create PDFs with customized settings. Moreover, this method offers advanced options to change the document structure and quality before exporting it to a PDF file. Nevertheless, this method doesn't allow adding metadata or changing paper size while conversing.

Part 2: Pros and Cons of Each Method

The comparison of characteristics between Print to PDF vs. Save As PDF vs. Export to PDF tells us that they vary slightly depending on your software or application. Each method has unique features and benefits that can be utilized for particular requirements. However, this section will provide general pros and cons for each operation.

Print to PDF

When discussing the print-to-PDF feature, you get several page settings options. However, the advantages and disadvantages of using this method are given below.


  • You can often adjust print settings before creating the PDF, such as page orientation, paper size, and resolution.
  • This method captures the document as it appears on the screen, including formatting, layout, and any visible elements.


  • The printing option may also save PDFs with extra elements like headers, footers, or page numbers that are part of the print layout.
  • Depending on the application, the PDFs generated through printing have larger file sizes than those generated through other methods.

Save As PDF

Save as PDF functionality is present in almost every document viewing or editing application. Some of its pros and cons are presented in this part.


  • Saving as PDF often retains the original document structure, including bookmarks, hyperlinks, and interactive elements.
  • Using this method, some applications allow detailed control over PDF metadata, such as title, author, and keywords.


  • The availability and features of Save As PDF depend on the application, and not all software provides this option.
  • In some cases, dynamic content or specific interactive elements are not fully captured when using Save As PDF.

Export to PDF

It is a specialized feature only available in the document editing software. The following points will cover the pros and cons of this method.


  • Exporting to PDF allows you to selectively export specific pages or layers, which provides greater control over the final document.
  • Some applications offer advanced export settings, which allow you to maintain high-quality images and graphics in the PDF.


  • Export settings are more complex, and users need to navigate through various options, which is confusing for beginners.
  • Depending on the export settings, there is a risk of losing some formatting or interactive elements in the process.

After getting the know-how of all the pros and cons, let's compare save as PDF vs. print to PDF vs. export to PDF side-by-side. This comparison table will give you a better understanding of these methods.

AspectPrint to PDFSave As PDFExport to PDF
Universal CompatibilityWidely supported across applicationsDepending on the application's featuresAvailability varies
Metadata Control
Document StructureCaptures the document as it appears on the screen.Preserves original document structure.Allows selective export of specific elements.
Consistency in OutputThis may result in larger file sizes.Provides more consistent output.Offer advanced compression options.
Dynamic Content CaptureIt may not capture dynamic or interactive elementsSome elements might not be fully captured.Depends on settings.

Part 3: How to Print Your Documents to PDF?

UPDF is a multipurpose tool that can edit, annotate, and convert PDFs based on your requirements. This AI-powered tool provides multiple features, including reading and organizing the PDF document effortlessly. An easy-to-use tool that is available across all major platforms, including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. In addition, you can print any PDF document in a few steps with the help of a UPDF PDF printer.

It offers the option to select the page size, such as A3, A4, and A5, according to your preferences before printing it. Also, the user can print the PDF document in different orientations as the tool provides landscape and portrait options.

You can even print multiple pages simultaneously by using the custom pages range option of this tool. Download the UPDF in your system to get the print of the file in your desired page size. After downloading this robust tool, follow the simplified instructions given below to print your document to PDF:

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Step 1: Import the Required File to UPDF for Printing as PDF

First of all, you need to upload the required file to create a PDF file using the "Print" feature. For this, click on the "File" button on the top left side of the tool's main interface to get the drop-down menu. Afterward, hover over the "Create" option from this drop-down list and choose any file to import as a PDF file automatically.

Step 2: Choose the Printing Option to Access the Settings

Now, again, hit the "File" tab on the top toolbar of this PDF printing tool and click the "Print" option from its drop-down option. By doing so, a new "Print" settings window will appear in front of you. Then, select the "Microsoft Print to PDF" option from the "Printer" menu offered by UPDF.

Step 3: Select the Page Size and Orientation to Print

After selecting the print option, choose the page size by hitting the "Page Size" option to get the drop-down list. Now, choose the required page size from the drop-down list, such as A4, and you can select the custom page ranges to print them. Then, choose the orientation by clicking on the "Orientation" option, selecting the required orientation, like portrait, and hitting the "Print" button to complete the process.

Part 4: How to Save as PDF or Export to PDF?

Users can easily save and export any file format in PDF with the help of UPDF. The tool offers the option of creating PDFs from different file formats using this PDF converter. Follow the easy steps that are given below to save any file format, such as PDF.

Step: 1 Import the Required File to UPDF

Start the process by importing the required file into the PDF conversion tool to save it as a PDF. To do so, click on the "File" tab on the top toolbar of the UPDF to get the drop-down menu. Now, hover over the "Create" option from this drop-down list to get another list and select the required file format to import it on the UPDF interface.

Step 2: Save the File as PDF

After importing the file, click on the "Save as Other" icon on the right side to get access to the side window. Then, choose the "Save As…" option from the list to export or save the file in PDF form.

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In a nutshell, it's essential to understand the differences between Print to PDF vs. Save as PDF vs. Export to PDF. Each approach has its strengths and limitations, which address specific needs. For a comprehensive solution, you should consider UPDF, which is capable of performing all these functions efficiently. UPDF offers its users an easy-to-use interface and advanced features.

So, don't miss out on this innovative tool and get it downloaded on your devices. Also, you can choose to check the Tech Advisor review to get an in-depth review of this PDF creator.

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