How to Convert Excel to PDF to Preserve Formatting

Most of the time, if we do complex calculations, tables or formulas, we do it in Excel. Although Microsoft Excel is not a fast and lightweight application, it is incredibly powerful when it comes to math or data of any scale.

At the same time, there are many versions of Excel and not all of them are perfectly compatible. Also, some people you need to send your Excel files to may not even have Excel and use Google Sheets or Apple Numbers, or any other alternative.

That’s why it’s important to think about preserving your Excel layout and formatting when you share your spreadsheets with others. And one of the best ways to do that is to convert your big Excel sheet to PDF.

How to create a secure PDF from Excel

As a format, PDF is a great choice precisely because it keeps layouts and formatting as they were intended. Additionally, PDF files can be read with virtually any application, from Preview to Apple Books and web browsers, ensuring that your recipients can process this information without much hassle.

So when you are thinking about how to convert Excel to PDF without losing formatting, one of the best answers is Nitro PDF Pro.

Nitro PDF Pro is the most comprehensive PDF editor for Mac available today. You can use it to quickly view any PDF file, from reports to books. But you can also go much further: combine multiple files, add comments, fill out forms, set passwords, and convert documents to other formats.

Note: It is best to convert your XLSX worksheet to PDF with Nitro PDF Pro for Windows for maximum compatibility, as Nitro Pro can appear directly in Microsoft Excel as a separate tab.

So when you need to save Excel document as PDF, Nitro PDF Pro can help you in no time:

  1. Open your spreadsheet in Excel
  2. Go to the Nitro Pro tab
  3. Click Create PDF

If you want to change any default settings, you can select Advanced in the Nitro Pro tab and choose your custom options.

Once you’ve converted your Excel file to PDF, you can use the actual Nitro PDF Pro (also on Mac) for further PDF adjustments.

How to Export an Excel File to PDF Using Microsoft Office

If you’re working and editing your spreadsheet in Excel, you have the option to export your file to PDF directly from the app.

Here’s how to convert an Excel file to PDF using the Print option:

  1. In Excel, go to File ➙ Print
  2. select print
  3. Change the printer to “Download as PDF” in the dropdown menu
  4. Click Download

If you want to control whether you convert a single worksheet to a PDF or all of them, you can use the Save As function within Excel instead:

  1. Open your spreadsheet in Excel
  2. Go to File ➙ Save As…
  3. Select PDF from the drop down menu
  4. Choose between Workbook, Sheet, or selected cells
  5. Save money

The downside of this method is that you may end up with multiple PDF files as a result. To combine them, use Nitro PDF Pro or Preview on Mac:

  1. Open the first PDF file in Preview
  2. Go to View ➙ Thumbnails
  3. Place other PDFs in the sidebar
  4. Go to File ➙ Export…
  5. Select PDF and Save

Another problem is that your PDF files may be too large and not optimized. The best solution here is to use PDF Squeezer to compress them.

PDF Squeezer is a handy utility that reduces the size of PDF files in seconds. Just drag and drop a PDF, and PDF Squeezer goes to work, applying its advanced algorithms to extract useless megabytes from your documents without affecting their quality.

To minimize PDF files:

  1. Open PDF Squeezer
  2. Select the compression level using a dropdown menu
  3. Drag and drop your PDF into the application window

How to Convert Excel Files Using Google Sheets

What if you don’t have Microsoft Excel handy and someone sent you a spreadsheet you’d like to convert? Just use Google Sheets.

Here’s how to convert Excel to PDF with all columns in Google Sheets:

  1. Open your excel file in google sheets
  2. Go to File ➙ Download ➙ PDF (.pdf)
  3. Adjust the settings to select what you are exporting, paper size, orientation, scale, margins, format, headers, etc.
  4. Click Export

That is all! Quick and easy.

How to Convert Excel Files Using Adobe Acrobat

If you have Excel and Adobe Acrobat installed, well, then you don’t need any other tools.

After installing Acrobat, it will add a special tab to Excel’s top bar menu, which you can use to create PDFs on the fly.

To do that:

  1. Open your spreadsheet in Excel
  2. Click Acrobat ➙ Create PDF
  3. Adjust the options you need
  4. Save money

You can see that when you need to convert Excel to PDF, you have more than enough options to choose from. You can use the Save, Print, or Export menus in Excel, you can use Google Sheets, or you can use ribbon extensions for Adobe Acrobat or Nitro PDF Pro. Also, don’t forget to combine the resulting files into a single PDF (Nitro PDF Pro is a good option for that) and optimize it with PDF Squeezer.