How to Create a PDF File from an Android Device

When Adobe created the Protected Document Format, it was with the noble goal of keeping files consistent and unchanged across all platforms. And although it’s real easy to view PDF files with a host of apps and web browsers, creating a PDF is a bit trickier.

Fortunately, Android has great support for PDF manipulation. Thanks to a huge range of available apps, you can create and edit PDF files on your cell phone or tablet.

Ways to Create a PDF

Depending on what kind of content you want to turn into a PDF, there are two common scenarios.

One involves scanning a document and turning it into a PDF. This is great if you want to archive some content for yourself or share it with someone else. The other is when you want to create a PDF from an existing document or a web page.

Regardless of your need, generating PDFs becomes quite easy if you’re using the right apps.

create PDF file from an Android device

Scanning to PDF

Preinstalled on almost all Android devices, Google Drive allows you to scan to PDF by default. If, by any chance, you don’t have Google Drive on your device, you can install it on Google Play.

To scan a document to PDF, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Google Drive app on your mobile device.
  2. On the main screen, you should see a colorful plus sign in the lower right corner. Tap it.
  3. The “Create New” menu will appear, so tap the “Scan” option.
  4. This will open your camera app. Take a photo of the document you want to turn into a PDF.
  5. Tap the “Check” icon to see the image preview.
  6. Now you should see a couple of options at the bottom. These allow you to edit the image. You can change the color scheme to black & white or full color, as well as to rotate and crop the image.
  7. If you’re not satisfied with how the image turned out, tap “Retry” icon located at the lower left corner to take the photo again.
  8. Once you’re satisfied with the end result, tap “Save”.
  9. The next menu allows you to change the file’s name. Choose the Google Drive account you want to save to, and select the destination folder. Please note that you won’t be able to save the PDF directly to your phone this way. To do so, you can download it from Google Drive later.
  10. After you’ve prepared the file, tap “Save” and you’re done.

To access the PDF, tap the folder icon in the lower right corner of the app’s main screen. Now simply browse to the file destination chosen in step 8 to access your fresh PDF.

Creating PDFs from Other Files

There are many file types that you can turn into a PDF. These include images you can open from the Gallery app, certain Microsoft Office files, and more. You can even create a PDF from a PDF, which can come in quite handy.

From Microsoft Office Files

Before you proceed, please check if you’ve installed Microsoft’s free Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for Android. This is so you can open file formats such as .txt, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, and more.

  1. Navigate to the file you want to convert and tap to open it.
  2. Depending on the file type, it will open in either Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.
  3. Once the file’s opened, tap the “Options” menu. It’s the three dots in the upper right corner.
  4. Tap “Share & export.”
  5.  Tap “Print.”
  6. Since mobile devices usually don’t connect to physical printers, the default printing format is PDF. Just to make sure it’s set properly, check the drop-down menu in the upper left corner of the screen. It should display “Save as PDF.” If not, change the setting by tapping whatever it says and then choose the “Save as PDF” option.
  7. With that sorted, you can also access additional settings by tapping arrow down. It’s just beneath the “Paper size:” text. These aren’t going to make a lot of difference when creating a PDF, however.
  8. Now tap the “Save” button in the upper right portion of the screen.
  9. Choose the location where you want to save your PDF.
  10. Finally, tap “Save” at the bottom of the screen to complete the process.

From PDF Files

Although it sounds redundant, creating a PDF from a PDF can be quite useful. For example, you can shape up multi-language user manuals by removing all the extra stuff you don’t need. This may make them easier to read and save storage space.

  1. Open a PDF file with any compatible app.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner.
  3. Tap “Print.”
  4. Deselect any pages you don’t want to include in the new PDF file. You can do this by tapping each one or you can use print settings:
    a. Open the print settings menu (see step 6 from the previous section).
    b. Tap the “Pages” drop-down menu.
    c. Select “Range of X,” where X is the number of document pages.
    d. Choose page numbers or a range of pages you want to keep.
  5. Now close the print settings menu and proceed to save your new PDF. For this, consult steps 7 to 9 from the previous section.

From a Web Page

If you want to save a web page as a PDF, you can do it from any mobile web browser. Just tap the three-dot button in the top right corner of your web browser, select “Share” then “Print.”

When the preview opens, you can even choose which portions of the web page you don’t want to keep. Now save your PDF and that’s it.

PDF on the Go

Hopefully, now you know how to create PDF files in more ways than one. Being able to do this on your phone definitely improves productivity. Just imagine the steps and time you can save by not having to use a scanner or printer.

Have you managed to create a PDF on your Android device? Which method do you favor? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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