3 Ways to Convert XLS to PDF

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XLS is the old binary format used by Excel before the introduction of the XLSX extension. Though XLS files can be opened with apps like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and so on, it can result in loss of formatting and other compatibility issues.

Knowing how to convert XLS files to versatile PDF format will allow better sharing and viewing of spreadsheets across platforms and operating systems without loss of content and distortion of their formatting.

Whether you prefer the convenience of online platforms or the robust capabilities of offline applications, this guide will empower you to turn Excel spreadsheets into PDF documents seamlessly and efficiently.

Option 1: Export Excel to PDF offline

Icecream PDF Converter is a software designed for transforming various files, including XLS to PDF format and vice versa. The program provides an intuitive interface that makes it easy for users to perform conversions without extensive technical knowledge.

  1. Download the free PDF converter from the official website and follow the installation instructions to set it up on your computer.
  2. Launch the application and select the "To PDF" option.
  3. Click "Add file" to import the XLS you want to convert. You can also add multiple files for batch conversion.
  4. Specify the destination folder where you want the file(s) to be saved.
  5. Press the "Convert" button to save your Excel sheet as a PDF file.
Icecream PDF Converter

Pros:

  • Batch conversion. The XLS to PDF converter allows users to process multiple files simultaneously. Make sure to check the "Merge all into one PDF file" box if you want all your spreadsheets to become a single document.
  • Secure file handling. The program provides security features like password protection to ensure the safe sharing of sensitive documents.
  • Compatibility. The software is compatible with various versions of Windows, providing a broad user base with access to its features.
  • Cost-effective. The application offers a cost-effective solution for users with specific document conversion requirements.

Cons:

  • Only available for Windows. The converter was designed for Windows, limiting its availability to users on Mac or Linux operating systems.

Option 2: Convert XLS to PDF online

PDF Candy is an online platform that provides tools for working with different files, including XLS to PDF conversion. You can also use it to rotate, rearrange, protect, and edit PDF documents.

  1. Open your web browser and go to the PDF Candy website.
  2. Click the "Add File(s)" button to upload the XLS file(s) that you need to convert.
  3. Hit "Convert to PDF" to initiate the process. The platform will generate the corresponding PDF file.
  4. Once the conversion is complete, you will be prompted to download the resulting document.
PDF Candy

Pros:

  • Online access. Since it's a web-based tool, there's no need to install additional software on their devices.
  • Batch conversion. Users can convert multiple XLS files to PDF simultaneously, streamlining the process for efficiency.
  • Simple sharing. You can share the converted files via a link or download them to your phone using a QR code.
  • Versatility. Users can perform other tasks such as merging multiple PDFs, splitting large documents into smaller ones, compressing file sizes, and more.

Cons:

  • Internet dependency. It might take a long time to change Excel to PDF if you have a slower internet connection.

Option 3: Print XLS to PDF

Print to PDF is a functionality available on many operating systems and applications that allows users to create a PDF file from any document or file that can be printed including those in XLS format.

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet you want to convert and go to the "File" menu at the top-left corner.
  2. Choose the "Print" option. This may vary slightly depending on the software you're using and your operating system.
  3. In the dialog box, instead of selecting a physical printer, choose a virtual PDF printer. It might be labeled as "Microsoft Print to PDF", "Adobe PDF", or another option depending on your system.
  4. Configure any additional settings as needed, such as page orientation, layout, or other preferences.
  5. Click the "Print" button, specify the save location, and give your PDF file a name.
  6. Finally, hit "Save" to export your Excel spreadsheet to a PDF file in the specified location.

This feature is commonly used when you want to save a document, webpage, or any other content as a PDF file for easy distribution, archiving, or sharing while retaining its formatting and layout.

Print to PDF

Pros:

  • Ease of use. This tool is straightforward to use, requiring minimal technical knowledge to convert Excel to PDF.
  • Built-in functionality. Since it's a built-in feature in many applications, there's no need to download any software for basic conversion needs.
  • Print settings. Since it leverages the printing functionality, users can benefit from print settings like page orientation, size, and margins during the conversion.

Cons:

  • No batch processing. Saving multiple Excel files as PDFs using this method might be time-consuming as it's usually done on a file-by-file basis.
  • Print headers/footers. The PDF may inherit headers and footers from the printer settings, which might not be desired in the digital version.

How to convert XLS to PDF: FAQs

Can I edit the PDF after conversion?
Editing PDFs is possible but may not be as seamless as working on the original Excel file.
Is the "Print to PDF" option available on macOS?
Yes, you can use this feature on macOS for Excel (XLS) files.
What is the difference between XLSX and XLS file formats?
XLSX is the newer format introduced with Excel 2007, while XLS is the older version compatible with earlier Excel versions.
Will complex formulas transfer accurately to PDF?
Formulas generally transfer fine, but it's advisable to review the PDF for accuracy, especially with intricate calculations.
Can I convert XLS to PDF without Excel installed on my computer?
Yes, all methods described above allow saving Excel files as PDFs without this software.

Conclusion

You now know how to convert XLS to PDF using three distinct pathways. Whichever option you choose, your ability to share, distribute, and preserve your spreadsheet data has been greatly enhanced.

Remember that the right conversion method is the one that seamlessly integrates into your workflow.

Alexandra Meyer

Editor-in-Chief at Icecream Apps

With experience spanning over several years, Alexandra Meyer holds the esteemed position of editor-in-chief at Icecream Apps. Originally involved in the website's establishment in 2014, Alexandra now ensures the maintenance of the company's exceptional content standards across their various projects. Specializing in technology, software, online services, and human resources, she has extensively written and edited numerous articles on these subjects.
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