PowerPoint won’t save as a PDF: Causes and Fixes

Within Microsoft PowerPoint, you will find that more often than not, your presentation will save as a PDF. This makes sense, given the nature of a PowerPoint as a read only document for anyone that isn’t creating the presentation.

Sometimes though, you may find yourself unable to save the PowerPoint as a PDF. Chances are, if that is the case, then that is why you are here today, reading this article. Thankfully, the fix to this is very simple, but we will first run through what might cause the issue of your PowerPoint presentation not saving as a PDF.

Chances are, the reason your presentation is not saving as a PDF is because of the saving preferences you have set for your work in the past, or the default permissions and allowances of your device. Again, the issue of saving your PowerPoint as a PDF is very simple, and there are actually two ways to do it that we will explore.

So, in order to save your PowerPoint as a PDF, you need to do one of the following. Either save your file as a PDF when deciding what format to save it as, or conversely, utilise the ‘Export’ function of your PowerPoint options.

As is the case with every blog post we write, do not worry if these sentences alone are not enough detail for you to work with. Not only will we break down each of them into step by step guides, but we will then delve deeper into each process, looking at them in a thorough analysis complete with accompanying screenshots in order to best aid your tutorial.

First, we will talk about saving your presentation as a PDF format.

Step by step: PowerPoint won’t save as a PDF: Causes and Fixes

  • Open your PowerPoint presentation.
  • From the main screen, click the ‘File’ tab at the top of your application.
  • Now, click the ‘Save As’ subsection of your ‘File’ options.
  • After choosing where to save your document, make sure you name it something you want to.
  • Under where you enter your file name will be a bar headed by ‘Save as type’ will be defaulted as ‘PowerPoint Presentation’.
  • Clicking this will open a dropdown menu, from which you should select ‘PDF’.
  • In order to open the PowerPoint as a PDF after this, make sure you tick ‘Open file after publishing’.
  • Choose between ‘Standard’ or ‘Minimum’ sizing for your PDF. This is explained later on.
  • Click ‘Save’ to save your changes.

So, your first step will be to open Microsoft PowerPoint. Of course, you can do this via your shortcut on your computer, but if you can’t seem to find that, and you are using a Windows system, then you can simply search for the application in your navigation bar’s search capacity.

After opening your PowerPoint application, and by nature, the actual PowerPoint you are using, you will need to look towards the top of your screen. Here, you should click the option labelled ‘File’. In case you need further guidance on this, look towards the highlighted screenshot below.

Clicking ‘File’ will, unsurprisingly, bring you to the options menu of the application. Here, under ‘File’, will be a list of different options and subheadings, free for you to browse. Of all options, you will want to click the one that reads ‘Save As’.

Clicking this, at least on the newer version of PowerPoint, will bring you to a small menu that will offer you the chance to save the file in areas you frequent when having saved files in the past. Instead of clicking any folder immediately offered to you, you should instead click ‘Browse’ which, again, has been highlighted below for you.

Clicking ‘Browse’ will present you with the standard saving menu that everyone has become accustomed to within Microsoft applications. Here, you will obviously enter a name for your file. Under this though, is the section that is of most importance. It is titled ‘Save as type’ and is what you will want to look towards to continue this walkthrough.

By default, it will be set to ‘PowerPoint Presentation’. Clicking on this will open a large listing menu, offering you all the variants of types you can save your PowerPoint as. On this list, you will want to find the option titled ‘PDF’, and click on that.

After doing this, there will be a tick box just below the box you just accessed the dropdown menu from. It will say ‘Open file after publishing’. Make sure this is ticked, as it will open a PDF of your file after you save the changes. 

Next, you should look to the right of this tick box. Here, you will be able to choose between ‘Standard’ and ‘Minimum size’ for your PDF. The former is important if you need your document to have a good print quality, whereas if file size is more important than quality, opt for the latter. Then, simply click ‘Save’ to save your changes. All of this has been highlighted in the below screenshot.

So, that is the first process completed in its entirety. Now, we will move to the second idea we discussed earlier, which was going to the ‘Export’ tab of your PowerPoint.

Again, we will offer you a step by step first, before moving on to the detailed explanation.


  • Click ‘File’, and then click ‘Export’.
  • Opt to click ‘Create PDF/XPS Document’.
  • Choose where you want your PDF to be saved to, then click ‘Publish’.

Now, you’ll notice that these steps are far shorter than their predecessors. That is because much more of the optional editing you can do is identical to the above, therefore it is fairly nonsensical to cover it again.

So, as was the case with the first method, click ‘File’ after you open your PowerPoint presentation.

From the ‘File’ screen, you will want to click the ‘Export’ subheading.

Now, you should look to click the box that reads, ‘Create PDF/XPS’ which, funnily enough, can be found under the subheading that reads ‘Create PDF/XPS Document’.

Now, you will be greeted by the same menu you met when selecting where to save the PDF to in the previous method. Again, you will want to name your file, and follow the steps above to navigate the tick boxes below where you enter the name of this presentation. After completing this, click ‘Publish’ in order to save your PowerPoint as a PDF.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you found it as helpful as you wanted it to be! As is the case with every blog post we write, if you encounter any issues or simply wish to share some thoughts you may have, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

Michael Fontana

Michael Fontana has been the managing director of telecoms and MSP Optionbox for over a decade and has worked in various telecommunication roles over the last 20 years. Michael has been involved in many exciting projects, such as co-founding telecoms and IT businesses and has now built up a team of more than 15 staff, serving over 300 clients nationwide. With a wealth of experience in IT and a passion for technology, Michael is now helping BTP to produce the highest quality guides on the internet. You can connect with Michael on LinkedIn.

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