How to Convert Excel to PDF

By Author thumbnail imageEmily Shaw | on

Converting Excel files to PDF offers numerous benefits, whether you're sharing data, creating reports, or archiving information. This blog post will guide you through the process of converting your Excel documents into PDF format, providing both basic and advanced tips for a seamless transition. We'll explore the reasons for converting, how to organize your data effectively prior to conversion, and the step-by-step process of using DocFly, an efficient online tool and PDF editor designed to make Excel-to-PDF conversion a breeze. The general process described below also applies to spreadsheets created by other software programs, such as Google Sheets. One can also apply what is described here when editing PDFs across different operating systems, such as when you need to edit PDF on Windows.

Why Convert Excel to PDF?

Converting Excel spreadsheets (such as xls and xlsx files) to PDF format offers several compelling advantages, making it a valuable practice for various situations.


Universal Compatibility

The PDF file format is universally compatible across different devices and operating systems. Whether your recipient is using Windows, macOS, or a mobile device, they can easily open and view the PDF without needing specific software.

Preserve Formatting

An Excel sheet can sometimes display differently on various devices or software versions. When you convert files PDF, you ensure that the formatting, layout, and fonts remain consistent, which is crucial when presenting professional reports or data.

Data Security

PDFs can be password-protected and encrypted, providing a secure way to share sensitive or confidential information. This feature ensures that only authorized users can access the document.

Read-Only Format

PDFs are typically read-only, preventing accidental edits or changes to your data. This can be especially useful when you want to share information for reference without the risk of unintentional modifications.


In the next sections, we will explore how to efficiently organize your Excel data before conversion and provide step-by-step instructions for using DocFly to convert your Excel documents to PDF format.


Organizing the Data Before Conversion

Efficiently organizing your data in Excel before converting it to PDF is a crucial step in ensuring that your final document is well-structured, easy to navigate, and visually appealing.


Step 1: Review and Proofread

Before beginning the conversion process, thoroughly review your Excel document. Check for any errors, missing data, or formatting issues. It is much easier to address these concerns in Excel than after the document is in PDF format. Also, ensure that your data is up-to-date and that any calculations are accurate.

Step 2: Structure Your Data

Consider the organization of your data. Are you presenting it in a logical and coherent manner? You might want to group related information together and use headings, subheadings, and cell borders to create a well-structured layout. Clear structure and formatting not only make your data more accessible but also enhance the overall readability of your PDF.

Step 3: Adjust Page Layout

Excel worksheets often span across multiple columns and rows, which might not fit well on a standard-sized PDF page. Adjust the page layout or template by selecting the appropriate print area and configuring margins. You can also specify print titles to ensure that certain rows and columns are repeated on each page, providing context and reference for the reader.


By following these steps, you will streamline the process of converting your Excel document to PDF and ensure that the resulting PDF is organized, error-free, and visually appealing.


Export Excel as PDF

Converting your well-organized Excel data into a PDF document is a straightforward process. Excel offers built-in functionality for exporting your spreadsheets to PDF format. Below are the steps to accomplish this task:


Step 1: Open Your Excel Document

Begin by opening the spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel that you have organized and prepared for conversion.

Step 2: Save As PDF

In the Excel document, navigate to the "File" menu located in the top-left corner of the screen. Then, select the "Save As" option from the menu. This will open the "Save As" dialog. In the "Save As" dialog, you can navigate to the location where you want to save your PDF file. In the "Save as type" dropdown menu, select "PDF (*.pdf)." This action instructs Excel to save the document in PDF format.

Step 3: Verify and Access Your PDF

After a few moments, Excel will complete the conversion. Your Excel document is now saved as a PDF in the location you specified. You can access and share your PDF file as needed, providing a well-organized and easily readable document to your audience.


The process of exporting your Excel file as a PDF ensures that the data you have carefully structured remains intact and visually appealing. In the next section, we will look at the step-by-step process of converting Excel to PDF using an online tool for added convenience.


Step-by-Step to Convert Excel to PDF Using DocFly

You do not need paid software like Adobe Acrobat to convert your PDF! Here is a tutorial explaining how to convert Excel to PDF in a way that is easy and free with DocFly, an online converter. DocFly allows anyone to edit PDF at no cost.


Step 1: Access the DocFly Excel to PDF converter

Open your web browser and go to the online PDF converter to convert Excel to PDF on DocFly’s website.

Step 1 Excel to PDF 


Step 2: Upload Your Excel file

After navigating to the DocFly website, click on “Click to upload your file.” You can either drag and drop your Excel spreadsheet into this area or click on the bottom to upload the file you want to convert.

Step 3: Complete the Excel to PDF conversion

Upon uploading your file, DocFly will start converting it automatically. You will see a progress bar showing you the status of the conversion.

Step 2 Excel to PDF 


Step 4: Download or Export Your PDF

After the conversion is finished, you can download your file to your device or export it to a cloud storage service like Google Drive.

Step 3 Excel to PDF 

Advanced Conversion Tips

While the basic steps will cover most of your Excel to PDF conversion needs, there are some advanced techniques you can employ to fine-tune the process and make it even more efficient.


Hyperlinks and Bookmarks

If your Excel document contains hyperlinks or bookmarks, consider how you want them to appear in your PDF. Excel can convert these elements to clickable links in the PDF. Ensure your hyperlinks are correctly formatted in your Excel file for seamless navigation in the resulting PDF.

Page Orientation and Scaling

Pay attention to page orientation (portrait or landscape) and scaling options when configuring your Excel document. These settings can impact the appearance of your PDF. Make sure they match your intended layout.

Headers and Footers

If your Excel file contains headers and footers, review how they will translate to your PDF. Excel allows you to specify whether you want to include these elements in your PDF or not. Ensure they align with your document's formatting and purpose.

Quality Settings

Excel offers options for setting the quality of images and graphics in your PDF. Depending on your needs, you can choose between standard or minimum size options to optimize the PDF for screen or print. Adjusting these settings can help reduce the file size while maintaining readability.

Password Protection

Depending on the sensitivity of your data, you may want to add password protection to your PDF. Excel allows you to set a password to open and edit the PDF, providing an extra layer of security. This feature can be especially useful when sharing confidential information.


By implementing these advanced tips, you can enhance the quality, security, and usability of your converted Excel data in PDF format.

Author image

Emily Shaw is the founder of DocFly. As a software developer, she built the service from scratch and is responsible for its operations and continued growth. Previously, she studied engineering at the University of Hong Kong and mathematics at the University of Manchester.

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