Mac Tips for Lawyers: How to quickly save to PDF

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I’m thrilled to be doing Mac Tips section in the Colorado Bar newsletter. Here’s the first one:

One of the great things about being an Mac based attorney using is the built-in option to save any document as a PDF. You don’t need any plug ins or even Adobe Reader to do this. It’s all built into Apple OSX.

Unfortunately, Apple still makes you go through a number of clicks to save to pdf:

1. You have to hit Cmd+P to bring up the Print Screen.


2. Select the PDF button in the lower left corner of the Print Screen. Then select the save as PDF selection.


3. Finally, you get to select where to save the PDF.

Over the course of a day, having to move your mouse to the PDF button and select the correct option quickly becomes a drag.

The EASY way to save to PDF in Mac OSX

Now, let me show you how to get to the last step just by clicking CMD+P+P. That’s holding down the CMD key while you hit “P” twice.

Here is how you do it:

1. Go to “System Preferences” in the dock.

2. Select “Keyboard.”

3. Make sure you are in the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab & select “Application Shortcuts” in the left panel.

4. Click the “+” arrow to get a new pull down menu.

5. In “Menu Title” type in “Save as PDF…” Type this in exactly — including the dot-dot-dot. Then select the “Keyboard Shortcut” box by clicking inside of it and then press CMD and P keys at the same time. Of course you can choose a different shortcut if you wish.

6. Click the “Add” button in the lower right of the pull down screen and you’re done!

Now, whenever you want to save to PDF, just hit CMD+P+P and you are taken directly to the save menu. Props to¬†MacSparky for originally publicizing this tip. It’s one I use many times a day!

Want another run through? Watch the following video of the process:

Please take a moment to “Like” the video on youtube and share it on your social networks!

My co-editor of MacTips, Lenny Frieling, agrees with me in principle about saving to PDF. However, he believes that saving all documents, WP, Open Office, or Word, as .doc is an effective and easier step in the right direction. He’ll address that in the MacTips section of the Colorado Bar newsletter next month.