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How to Easily Export and Excel Sheet as PDF/XLSX Files: Big Guide!

save, save as, excel, pdf, xlsx, sheet, worksheet

Admittedly, it sounds like a basic topic: Saving Excel files. But besides saving complete workbooks, there are a lot of potential improvements and methods for saving time. How do you for example save a workbook as a PDF file? Or how do you export single worksheets? Everybody probably has their own steps, but oftentimes there are faster and more convenient ways. In this article we explore the best and fastest ways of saving your workbooks or separate sheets as PDF files or Excel files to your hard drive.

This article is part of a series: Before we’ve talked about how to attach a workbook to a new e-mail the fastest way. Now we take a look at how to save files to the hard drive in the same manner.

Definition of saving types

Before we start, we have to define the possible methods. We differentiate between automatic, manual and add-in as follows.


Saving buttons in Excel: Add buttons A to your Quick Access Toolbar

For comfortably saving files, we recommend to add the button “Publish as PDF or XPS” (letter A in the picture on the right hand side) to your Quick Access Toolbar. Please follow these steps (the numbers are corresponding to the picture on the right hand side):

  1. Right-click on any Ribbon or button.
  2. Select “Customize Quick Access Toolbar”.
  3. In the opening window, set “Choose commands from” to “All Commands”.
  4. Search in the alphabetical list for “Send to Mail Recipient”.
  5. Click on “Add”.
  6. Change the order with the up and down arrows on the right hand side if necessary.
  7. Click “OK” to save the changes.

How to save which file type the best way

Let’s examine four different situations: We want to save a PDF or an Excel file to a new e-mail. In both cases we want to save either the complete workbook or selected sheets only. So that makes 2 x 2 situations. For each of these situations, there are different ways most comfortable.

File type: PDF – Scope: Single/ selected sheets

File type: PDF – Scope: Complete workbook

File type: XLSX – Scope: Single/ selected sheets

File type: XLSX – Scope: Complete workbook

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Free Download: Get all these tips summarized in one printout

We’ve prepared a handy printout: All the important information given in this article are summarized within one comprehensive PDF file. You can download it with this link (file size: 1.4 MB). The download starts immediately (no sign-up required). Just print it out and follow all the steps described in this article. 

The guide comprises the steps for adding the necessary buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar. Furthermore, it tells you which saving method should be used in which case with a clearly structured matrix.

Taking it one step further: Save both PDF and Excel files at the same time with just one click

Professor Excel Tools provide one-click-buttons for each saving method

So we now know how to save Excel workbooks either as PDF or as XLSX files to the hard drive. But we haven’t talked about how to do both at the same time.

Professor Excel Tools‘ provides 6 buttons for saving files. In the left column, you got the buttons for saving single or a selection of worksheets. With the buttons of the column on the right hand side you save the complete workbook.

The rows also follow a systematic order: The button of the top row are for creating PDF files, the middle row for the Excel format and the bottom row for both PDF and XLSX at the same time.

You can try the add-in for free for 31 days. There is no sign-up or installation required (only activate it within Excel).

This function is included in our Excel Add-In ‘Professor Excel Tools’

(No sign-up, download starts directly)

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