How do I save a Microsoft Word document as a PDF or plain text file?

You use Microsoft Word for your various word-processing needs. It's simple and easy-to-use, and it simply gets the job done in most cases. But what if someone else requests a file in a different format, such as PDF? What if you need the info in your Word doc to appear in plain text, without any font or paragraph styles?

Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows has a basic feature that lets you save documents in several different, but common, file formats. Here's how to use it.

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How to save a Microsoft Word doc as a PDF

  1. Click the File tab in the top-left corner of your Word screen.

  2. Click Export in the blue vertical menu that runs along the left side of your screen.

  3. With the Create XPS/PDF Document option selected, click the corresponding box on the right side of your screen. (It looks like a document icon wearing a seatbelt.)

  4. A new box labeled Publish as PDF or XPS appears, and you should use it to navigate to the location on your PC where you want to save the new PDF.
  5. Click Publish to create and save your PDF.

    • You may see a How do you want to open this file? pop-up box. By default, Windows will use the Edge browser but you can choose from other compatible browser apps installed on your PC, as well.
    • If you want to continue using the same app to open PDFs in the future, check the Always use this app to open .pdf files option.

If the file format you want isn't available in Microsoft's default option, you can also dig a bit deeper for additional file format options.

How to save a Microsoft Word doc in different file formats

  1. Follow Steps No. 1 and No. 2 above.
  2. Highlight the Change File Type option on the left side of the screen.

  3. You'll see a number of different present options for new file formats, including OpenDocument Text, Word 97-2003 Document, Plain Text and Rich Text Format.
    • If you want to use one of the default options, choose and click it accordingly and then hit the Save As box at the bottom of the screen.
    • Next, navigate to the location on your PC where you want to save the new file and click Save.
  4. If you want to save your Word doc in a format that's not available in Word's preset defaults, complete Steps No. 1 and No. 2 above, and then choose Save as Another File Type

  5. Click the Save As box at the bottom of the screen.
  6. In the next box, navigate to the location on your PC where you want to save the new file.
  7. Open the drop-down menu next to Save as type to see a few additional options, such as Word XML Document, Strict Open XML document, and Web Page, Filtered.

  8. Choose the format you want and click Save.

Word 2016 for Windows lets you easily convert your documents into more than a dozen different formats, using the process detailed here.

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