3 Mac Print secrets you’ve probably not used (but should)

Thanks to Holmes Palacios Jr. for pic.

I’m sure you’ve printed documents from your Mac before, you may even have used it to quickly create a PDF of a document or website, but have you ever really looked at the different things you can do using the Print dialog? Here are three things it does that you’ve probably not used before, but probably should.

Send a PDF – of (almost) anything

When looking at a website, reading a document, or anything else you can print from your Mac you can send a copy of what you are reading via iMessage of Mail in just three steps using Print on your Mac:

  • Open File>Print
  • Tap PDF in the lower left corner
  • Scroll down the list and choose Send in Mailor Send via Messages. You just need to add the address and hit send.

The recipient will receive an automatically-created PDF of whatever it is you wish to share.

Save research to iBooks

You can use the same Print/PDF dialog to save a PDF of websites, documents or whatever else you need to keep around to iBooks, where (of course) the whole thing will then be made available to all your logged in devices. This is brilliant for research.

  • Open File>Print
  • Tap PDF in the lower left corner
  • Scroll down the list and choose Add to iBooks.
  • iBooks will open on your Mac (as will your newly-created PDF) and you can choose where you wish to store it (I tend to create research folders which I prune from time-to-time).

You can also save stuff to iCloud Drive – just choose Save to iCloud Drive.

Use Printing Workflows

This is kind of a power user tip. I’m going to assume you’ve already got somewhere you want to save items too – it might be a research folder of some kind. You may have several folders for different tasks: holiday suggestions, secret projects, a degree course. You may already be saving various things to these folders on an ad hoc basis. Now I’m going to make it much easier. You are in a document (or website, email, anything that you can print) you want to save.

  • Open File>Print>PDF and choose Edit Menu…
  • A box will appear – this is likely to be empty if you’ve not used this tip before
  • Tap the sign at lower left of the box
  • When you do you will be in the Finder. Now you should navigate to the folder you want to use to store PDFs of things to.
  • Click the folder and you’ll return to the box, which will now contain the name of the folder you selected. You can change this name here if you like – it won’t impact the original folder.
  • Click OK to exit.

In future when you want to save an item you can choose File>Print>PDF and scroll down to the bottom of the menu to see the name of the folder you chose there (or the name you chose to give it).

NB: For best results when working with websites switch to Reader View for more consistent output.

Select the folder and the item you want to archive will automatically be saved in PDF format to that folder. All you need to do is press Command-P, choose PDF and then select the workflow you just created.

I hope you enjoyed these little tips. If you want some more, take a look at 5 printing secrets every Mac user needs

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

1 Response

  1. julian miller says:

    One Mac app that makes a printer much more valuable is Create Booklet. It’s one of those apps that makes a hard thing simple. Create Booklet allows turning any document into a booklet whether your printer is duplex or not. Any document can be turned into a PDF and a PDF can instantly turned into a booklet of whatever size. It is inexpensive and definitely an essential app that helps use the full potential of printers. I don’t work for that company but I am a fan.


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