Converting Files to PDF Format

In order to view files on certain devices (such as the Kindle and some iPad apps), you may need to convert them to .PDF format. You can do this with virtually any document on your computer. Types of documents people would commonly want to convert to .PDF format are text files (.doc and .txt, for example), slideshow files (.ppt or .key), and image files (.jpg, .png, .psd, etc.).

There are two ways to do this that we will go over in this tutorial:
Converting Files to PDFs through Microsoft Office
Converting Files to PDFs through Google Docs

Although using Microsoft Office is generally the quickest and easiest way, use Google Docs if you are using a non-Office file or don't have the program installed on your computer.

Converting Files Using Microsoft Office

This method is the quickest and easiest for converting PDF files. However, it is limited to Office-compatible files.

  • First, open your file in the Office program you wish to use for it (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.). The screenshots I will be using will show the process for a PowerPoint file conversion, but can be applied to any office programs.

  • From the File tab in the upper left corner of the window, choose Save As. This will save a new copy of your file in the format you choose.

  • From the window that appears, choose where you would like to save your file and rename it if you wish.
  • Under the file's name, you will see a drop-down menu reading Save as type. From this menu, choose PDF (*.pdf).
  • Click Save.

  • The PDF version of your presentation will appear, and it will be stored wherever you chose to save it to.


Converting Files Using Google Docs

You may want to convert your file through Google Docs if you don't have access to Microsoft Office or wish to convert a file type not supported by Office.

  • To start, open your Google Documents at If you wish to use your UW Google Docs, go to
  • From the main Docs page, click the Upload button and choose Files.

  • From the window that pops up, find the file on your computer and select it. Click Open and confirm settings to begin your upload.
  • You can see your file's progress in the lower right corner of the screen. When the upload has completed, it will appear within your list of Google Docs.

  • Now, open the uploaded file in Google Docs.
  • Click File in the upper left corner. From the menu that appears, go down to Download As and choose PDF Document (.pdf).

  • Click Save File from the window that appears. After that, choose where you would like your new file to be saved, then click Save.
  • The new PDF version of your document will now be available where you have saved it!