FIX: Microsoft Publisher won’t save files as PDF

Teodor Nechita
by Teodor Nechita
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Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing application created by Microsoft. Given the nature of the program, it’s frequently used to make documents.

Because documents are usually meant to be read, it goes without saying that you’d usually want to save them in one format or another.

Users have been complaining for some time now that Microsoft Publisher has issues when trying to save their documents in PDF format.

When tryingto save a Publisher file as a PDF or XPS, users may get this error: Microsoft Publisher cannot save the file.

It would seem that the issue can happen with different Publisher versions, but most commonly with Publisher 2016 under Windows 10.

Microsoft Publisher still can’t save your documents as PDFs?  Try these 6 awesome alternatives.

How to save PDF files in Microsoft Publisher

1. Save PDF files in Microsoft Publisher 2016 or newer

  1. Close Publisher
  2. Click the Start button
  3. Go to Settings
  4. Go to Devices 
  5. Select Printers & Scanners
  6. Deselect the Let Windows manage my default printer option if it’s selected.
  7. Choose a device under Printers & scanners other than your default printer. As an example, select either Fax or Microsoft Print to PDF.
  8. Click the Manage button
  9. Click Set as default in the next page
  10. Select your printer under Printers & scanners
  11. Click Manage
  12. Click Set as default
  13. Start Publisher and try saving your file as a PDF or XPS

2. Save PDF files in older versions of Microsoft Publisher

  • Compress the images in your document
  • Get rid of any page backgrounds or large images from your document
  • Remove transparent images from your document
  • Remove picture effects, such as recolors, brightness or corrections from your document
  • Try installing the 64-bit version of Publisher as it’s not affected by the issue.

3. Update, repair or re-install your Microsoft Office installation

1. Update Microsoft Office

  1. Open any Office app, in this case Publisher, and create a new document.
  2. Go to File 
  3. Navigate to Account ( Office Account in case you’ve opened Outlook)
  4. Choose Update Options
  5. Click Update Now
  6. For this to work, you have to click Enable Updates

2. Repair Microsoft Office

    1. Open Control Panel > Go to Programs
    2. Select Programs and Features
    3. Locate Microsoft Office and click on Change
    4. Select Quick Repair > and click the Repair button

3. Re-install Microsoft Office

  1. Press Windows Key + R
  2. Type Control and press enter to open Control Panel
  3. Go to Programs
  4. Select Programs and Features
  5. Locate Microsoft Office and click on Uninstall
  6. Get a fresh copy of Microsoft Office from the official website and install it again