This question is coming back often, and the general answers are very often the same. In an objective to concentrate useful information in one place, here is a community wiki about it.

How can I convert this filetype to pdf?

This question will have two kind of answers:

  • The generic case, which works for most filetypes.
  • The specific cases, which should be one answer per filetype.

As it is community wiki, feel free to edit this question to improve it as well.

  • I'm not fully sure if this is really faq material, but these questions really come back a lot. Also, maybe we should rather have one question per filetype, with the possible answers, and this question would only link to them? I'm not sure about the "one filetype per answer" scheme, especially according to the possibility of it being found from an Internet search. waiting for some opinions. – Gnoupi Apr 28 '10 at 8:54
  • nono, this is good. i wonder if a one-software-per-post format (as is more often found) instead of a one-filetype-per-post format would be better. but let's try it and see. i would prefer to get rid of the OS restriction tho. – quack quixote May 5 '10 at 7:03
  • @quack - for some reason this made sense when I put it, but reading again, I don't really see a reason for OS restriction indeed. For the "one program per answer", maybe, we don't really have the volume to judge yet. – Gnoupi May 5 '10 at 7:29

Generic case: Use a virtual printer

A method which should work in most cases is to install a virtual printer on your computer.
If you can print your file, choose then this printer to create a PDF, which should look just like what would have been printed.

You can find a list of virtual printers on Wikipedia.

  • (choosing this one as "accepted", to keep it on top, as it is the generic one.) – Gnoupi Apr 30 '10 at 14:57

Microsoft Office 2007 files (*.docx, *.xlsx, etc)

Install the add-on from Microsoft, or simply update Office to SP2, to have the possibility to save as PDF.


Microsoft Office files (pre Office 2007)
WordPerfect Documents
And many more to numerous to mention

Install OpenOffice.
OpenOffice.org can export documents to PDF. You can either click the PDF-Icon next to the print button for a quick export. Or you can use the export function with lots of configuration.
To read more


Postscript (*.ps, *.eps)

Use Ghostscript.
Ghostscript is a GPL interpreter for the Postscript and PDF languages. It's available for Windows, in Cygwin, and in many Linux distributions. Many Ghostscript packages install the ps2pdf script to automate conversions.

In current Cygwin and Debian packages, ps2pdf boils down to this commandline:

gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=OUTPUT.PDF -c .setpdfwrite -f INPUT.PS
  • some of the pdf-printers use gs to do the "printing" anyway and thus bundle gs, some of them allow opening / printing .ps directly (pdfcreator iirc) as well. – akira May 5 '10 at 7:25
  • @akira: true. this trick is actually a little old-school; before PDF printers were common you could install a good PS printer driver and print-to-file to create your postscript, then use ps2pdf to get your PDF. Microsoft bundled a good PS driver for Apple's LaserWriter printers with Win98 and 2000 (and later), so this was very accessible. – quack quixote May 5 '10 at 7:30

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