How to Create a PDF From a Word Pad File

How to Create a PDF From a Word Pad File
Image Credit: PeopleImages/E+/GettyImages

If you're using Microsoft Wordpad, the popular Microsoft Windows text editor and word processing tool, it's sometimes useful to convert Wordpad files to PDF format so they can be viewed on more devices and be harder to accidentally edit. On recent versions of Windows, you can do this by essentially printing the file to PDF with the built-in PDF converter. You can also convert a Word doc to a PDF or make PDF files from many other common types of files.

Understanding Microsoft Wordpad

Microsoft Wordpad is a basic text editing and word processing program that's included with Microsoft Windows. It isn't nearly as sophisticated as Microsoft's flagship word processing program, called Microsoft Word, or competitors such as Google Docs or LibreOffice Writer, but it can still be useful for editing and styling simple documents.

It can save files in plain text format, with essentially no formatting information beyond spacing. It also supports a slightly more advanced file format called Rich Text Format, or RTF, that allows more complicated formatting, like different fonts and text sizes for different areas of the document.

Other word processing tools can open RTF files, and plain text files can be opened by essentially any text editing program or even a web browser. Still, it can be useful to send these files in PDF format, which can be easily viewed in browsers, previewed as email attachments and opened on portable devices like smart phone and e-book readers.

Using PDF Files

PDF stands for "portable document file," and it's a standard type of computer file that was originally developed by Adobe. Today, lots of programs on many types of devices can input and output PDF files.

One of the advantages of PDF files is that they display essentially the same across all types of hardware and software, meaning that you can create a PDF on your computer and send it to someone using a smart phone knowing that they'll see essentially the same file and format you created. Other types of files, including word processor files such as RTF files or the DOC and DOCX files created by Word, can be more finicky across devices. PDF files can also easily be printed and generally look the same across devices, operating systems and printers.

Another advantage is that they can be opened directly in most modern web browsers, which means it isn't necessary to have specialized software to open them. This can also be helpful to less sophisticated users who might have trouble downloading a file and opening it in a program outside the browser.

Wordpad to PDF Conversion

If you have a Wordpad file you want to change to PDF, you can do so by using the Windows print to PDF function. Click the "File" menu in Wordpad and choose "Open," then navigate to the file you want to convert to PDF.

Once the file is open, go to the "File" menu again and click "Print." Choose "Microsoft Print to PDF" or a similar option to generate a PDF file. You'll be prompted for a file name and folder where you want to save the PDF file.

Once you print the file, open it with the PDF viewer of your choice to verify that it looks as you intended before you send it to someone else.

You can also use this same technique in Microsoft Word to convert a file from Word to PDF, or print PDFs from most other software on Windows. Other modern operating systems, such as Apple macOS, also have PDF converter facilities to help you print a file to PDF.