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How to Convert Excel to PDF in Easy Steps

Hi there! Do you use Excel daily but struggle to share all that data securely? Converting your spreadsheets to PDF could be the answer. In this guide, I‘ll explain multiple easy ways to turn Excel files into PDFs.

Why PDF is Better for Sharing Excel Files

First, let‘s look at why you may want to convert XLS/XLSX to PDF in the first place.

Excel is used by over 1 billion people worldwide. But spreading your workbook far and wide comes with risks. According to tutorialspoint, up to 95% of spreadsheets contain errors. Yikes!

Converting to PDF helps avoid common data disasters like:

  • Accidental edits – Recipients can‘t inadvertently tweak your formulas.

  • Broken formatting – Fonts, colors, and alignments stay pixel perfect.

  • Inaccessibility – PDF readers work on any device. Not everyone has the latest Excel.

  • Version conflicts – No more opening files in the wrong Excel version.

According to Dodge Data & Analytics, 65% of companies use PDF for document sharing because of these benefits.

Let‘s look at some easy ways to join them!

Option 1: Use Adobe Acrobat DC (Recommended)

Adobe Acrobat DC makes lightning fast Excel to PDF conversion available for free. Here‘s a step-by-step walkthrough:

  1. Go to

  2. Click "Select a file" and choose your XLS/XLSX file. You can also drag and drop.

    Upload Excel file screenshot

  3. Click the big blue "Convert to PDF" button.

    Convert to PDF screenshot

  4. The conversion happens right inside your web browser. Cool!

  5. Click the download icon to save the PDF file to your computer.

    Download PDF screenshot

That‘s all there is to it! The whole process takes under a minute.

I like Adobe‘s converter because:


  • It‘s completely free

  • No account or software needed

  • Keeps all formatting intact

  • Works on any Excel version (XLS/XLSX)


  • Max file size is 50 MB

  • Advanced PDF options absent

For quick, hassle-free Excel to PDF conversion, Adobe Acrobat DC is my #1 choice!

Option 2: Print Excel as PDF

Don‘t want to use a special app? You can print directly from Excel into a PDF document.

Every Windows PC comes with Microsoft Print to PDF built-in. Mac users have a similar built-in PDF printer option.

Here‘s how to print Excel sheets as PDFs:

  1. Open the Excel file you want to convert.

  2. Click "File" and select "Print" (or use CTRL+P).

    Excel Print Dialog

  3. In the printer menu, choose "Microsoft Print to PDF" (Windows) or "Save as PDF" (Mac).

  4. Click "Print".

  5. Choose where you want to save the PDF and give it a file name.

  6. The Excel spreadsheet will become a PDF. Sweet!

I really like how this method lets you tweak page setup in the print preview, so your data converts nicely into PDF pages.


  • Don‘t need any extra software

  • Maintains all Excel formatting

  • Can customize print layout


  • Won‘t update if Excel file changes

  • Requires some print expertise

Overall, printing to PDF is a quick, straightforward choice for occasional conversions.

Option 3: Convert with Google Drive

For cloud-based conversion, Google Drive lets you turn Excel spreadsheets into shareable PDFs.

Here‘s how:

  1. Go to and log into your Google account.

  2. Click "New" and select "File upload". Pick your XLS/XLSX file.

    Google Drive upload

  3. Right-click the file and choose "Open with Google Sheets".

  4. In Sheets, go to "File – Download – PDF Document".

    Google Sheets screenshot

  5. Your new PDF will download automatically. Access it from Google Drive.

Google Sheets natively imports and edits Excel files. Once opened, you can seamlessly convert and export into a shareable PDF document.


  • Integrated with Google Drive cloud storage

  • Can collaborate in real-time

  • Free for all Google users


  • Formula and macro data may not transfer

  • Need a Google account

If you already live in Google‘s ecosystem, their seamless Excel to PDF pipeline is a no-brainer.

Option 4: Save As PDF in Excel for Mac

What about converting Excel on Mac? It‘s just as easy as Windows thanks to the built-in "Save As PDF" feature.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open your Excel for Mac spreadsheet.

  2. Go to "File" and choose "Save As".

    Excel Mac save as menu

  3. Pick "PDF" as the file format.

  4. Choose a save location and file name.

  5. Click "Save" to export the PDF.

That‘s all it takes to go from .XLSX to PDF on Mac. The process is quick and seamless without leaving Excel.


  • Native Mac integration

  • Preserves 100% formatting

  • Saves entire workbook or sheets


  • Needs Excel for Mac purchased

  • Limited PDF customization options

For Mac users, this built-in converter is quick, intuitive, and gets the job done.

Option 5: Use a Dedicated Online Converter

Don‘t have Excel on your computer? No worries – you can use a dedicated online conversion tool.

I like Smallpdf for fast and convenient Excel to PDF conversion.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to

  2. Drag your Excel file onto the page or click "Choose file".

  3. Customize any conversion settings.

  4. Click "Convert to PDF" and download.

    Smallpdf Excel to PDF

Smallpdf makes the process straightforward. I especially like how you can:

  • Convert the full workbook or specific sheets

  • Choose PDF quality settings

  • Add passwords and watermarks


  • Use right inside your web browser

  • Customize conversion process

  • Simple drag and drop interface


  • Must upload files to their server

  • 25 MB file size limit

For basic Excel to PDF needs, Smallpdf delivers excellent functionality 100% online.

How Do These Options Compare?

We‘ve covered several excellent tools for converting Excel spreadsheets into PDF documents. Here‘s a quick comparison:

Method Cost Learning Curve Mac/PC Customization
Adobe Acrobat DC Free Very easy Both Basic
Print to PDF Free Easy Both Moderate
Google Drive Free Easy Both Minimal
Excel for Mac Paid Very easy Mac Minimal
Smallpdf Free Very easy Both Advanced

As you can see, there are great options for every scenario.

For most situations, I suggest Adobe Acrobat DC or Smallpdf for advanced capabilities online. But don‘t overlook the basic built-in computer tools either – they work great in a pinch!

Top Tips for Excel to PDF Conversion

Here are some pro tips as you venture into XLS/XLSX to PDF conversion:

  • Clean up your spreadsheet before converting by removing unused content and named items. This prevents a cluttered PDF.

  • Use page breaks in Excel to control where content will split into pages in the PDF.

  • Hyperlinks, macros, formulas, and other interactive content don‘t carry over into PDFs. Consider flattening your data if needed.

  • Password protect sensitive PDFs to control access. Enable restrictions to prevent copying/editing if required.

  • If you don‘t convert often, use a free online tool. For regular conversions, install Acrobat or a specialized app.

  • Store your original XLS/XLSX files as backups. PDFs can‘t easily convert back into editable Excel sheets.

Follow these tips and your data will transfer cleanly into professional, polished PDFs!

Share Your Spreadsheets Stress-Free

Phew, we covered a lot of ground! As you can see, it‘s super easy to turn your Excel files into robust PDF documents.

The right conversion tool helps you:

👍 Securely distribute spreadsheets

👍 Maintain formatting and layouts

👍 Share across any device

👍 Protect and archive data

Stop emailing flat XLS/XLSX files around and start leveraging the universal PDF format. Just choose the Excel to PDF converter that best fits your needs.

Now you can share spreadsheets small and wide with full confidence! Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help you master your data.