How to Generate a PDF of Your Excel File

How to Generate a PDF of Your Excel File

In finance, knowing how to convert Excel files to PDF is vital for maintaining data accuracy and securely sharing reports. Whether you work as a financial analyst, an accountant, or an investor, efficiently creating a PDF from your Excel sheet can help you save time and avoid complications.

In this blog, we will guide you through the process of PDF conversion using a sample dataset of daily financial information, such as stock prices, trading volumes, and market capitalizations.


Preparing Your Financial Data for Conversion

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you convert your Excel file to PDF:

Ensuring Data Accuracy

Double-checking your financial data’s accuracy and currency before converting your Excel file to PDF is essential. Take a few minutes to double-check your figures, formulas, and calculations. Look for any apparent errors or inconsistencies, and validate your data against external sources if necessary. Remember, a small mistake in your Excel spreadsheet can lead to major problems down the line, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

To maintain data integrity when preparing financial reports, check out the tips below:

  • Use cell references instead of hard-coded values whenever possible. This way, if you need to update a figure, you only need to do it in one place.
  • Double-check your formulas and make sure they’re referencing the correct cells. A single mistyped cell reference can throw off your entire report.
  • Use data validation to restrict the values entered into specific cells. For example, you might set up a validation rule allowing only positive numbers in a particular column.
  • Keep a backup copy of your original data if something goes wrong during the conversion process.

Optimizing Data Layout for Reporting

Once you’ve confirmed that your financial data is accurate, it is time to plan how you will display it in your PDF report. How your Excel spreadsheet is arranged can significantly affect how clear and easy it is to read your final PDF, so optimizing it is essential.

To start, think about aligning your numbers to the right within their cells. This makes it simpler to compare figures and identify trends quickly. You can also use cell borders and shading to visually distinguish various sections of your report and highlight essential statistics.

When creating your report, consider incorporating headers and footers. Such elements may include your company’s logo, the report title, the date, and page numbers. Including headers and footers not only enhances the professional appearance of your report but also reinforces confidentiality by clearly indicating ownership and creation date.

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Basic PDF Generation from Excel

Below are the different methods to convert your Excel file to PDF:

Using Excel’s Export Function

Now that your financial data is accurate and well-formatted, it’s time to convert it to PDF. The simplest trick? Use Excel’s Export feature.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on using the Export feature:

Step 1: Open Excel and find the sheet you want to convert to PDF.

Step 2: Hit ‘File’ at the top-left of your screen.

Step 3: Choose ‘Export’ from the side menu.

Step 4: Click ‘Create PDF/XPS Document’.

Step 5: Pick a location to save your PDF and name it.

Step 6: Then, hit ‘Publish’.

Done! Your sheet’s now a PDF where you saved it.

Pro Tip: When you export your financial report to PDF, select the optimal layout for better readability. If your report is detailed with numerous columns, consider using the ‘Landscape’ orientation to fit all the data on one page. Conversely, the ‘Portrait’ orientation could be more suitable if your report is lengthy and contains many rows.

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Print to PDF with Custom Settings

If you want more control over how your financial report appears in PDF format, use Excel’s ‘Print to PDF‘ feature instead of the export function.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Open the Excel file and go to the sheet you want to convert to PDF.

Step 2: Hit ‘File’ at the top-left of your screen.

Step 3: Choose ‘Print’ from the menu.

Step 4: Select ‘Microsoft Print to PDF’ under ‘Printer’.

Step 5: Hit ‘Print’.

Step 6: Choose where to save your PDF and name it.

Step 7: Hit ‘Save’.

Print to PDF‘ lets you select what to print, such as a selected range, the active worksheet, or the entire workbook. You can also adjust other print settings to ensure your financial report looks as professional as possible.

You can adjust print settings such as orientation, margins, and scaling to give your financial report a professional look.

Advanced PDF Generation for Finance Professionals

In addition to generating PDFs, finance professionals can take advantage of Excel’s other useful features, such as creating charts and graphs.

Incorporating Visual Financial Data

While numbers and tables are essential in any financial report, sometimes, an image is worth a thousand words. That’s where charts and graphs come in.

Excel makes creating visual data representations straightforward, from simple line graphs to complex 3D pie charts. After you’ve created a chart or graph that effectively communicates your financial data, you can easily include it in your PDF report.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Select the chart or graph for your report.

Step 2: Head over to the worksheet to add the chart or graph.

Step 3: Adjust the size and position of the chart or graph as needed.

Pro Tip: Make sure that the visuals in your PDF are clear and impactful. Choose the right colors and fonts. Avoid putting too much info.

Automating Financial Report Updates

If you generate the same financial reports regularly, automating the process with Excel macros can save time and effort. Macros are small programs you can create within Excel to automate repetitive tasks. 

Here’s an example of how you might use a macro to convert daily financial data to PDF automatically:

Step 1: Open a new Excel workbook and create a macro by clicking the ‘Developer’ tab and selecting ‘Record Macro’.

Step 2Give your macro a name and choose where to store it.

Step 3: Perform the steps you want to automate, such as importing your daily financial data and formatting it for reporting. When finished, click ‘Stop Recording’ to end the macro.

To run the macro in the future, open the workbook, click on the ‘Developer’ tab, select ‘Macros’, and select the one you created.

You can also set up scheduled tasks in Windows to automatically run your macro at a specific time each day, ensuring that your financial reports are always up-to-date.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Financial Reports

Here are a few tips to help resolve common issues when preparing financial reports:

Addressing Format and Alignment Issues

You may encounter formatting and alignment issues when transferring financial data from Excel to PDF despite thorough preparation. Below are some suggestions for addressing such issues: 

  • To address misaligned numbers in the PDF, adjust the column widths in your Excel sheet to provide adequate space for each value. 
  • In Excel, ensure headers or footers are positioned close enough to the page’s edge to prevent them from being truncated in the PDF. 
  • If cell borders or shading appear incorrectly in the PDF, experiment with alternative border styles or lighter colors in Excel.

Managing Large Financial Datasets

Excel can be tricky with large financial datasets, especially for PDF reports. A big spreadsheet might take ages to convert to PDF or be too large to share.

Here’s how to handle big datasets without slowing down Excel:

  • Use Pivot Tables and filters in Excel to quickly summarize and analyze data. 
  • To manage file sizes, consider splitting your data across more sheets or books.
  • Use a macro to save time when making many PDF reports from one dataset.


In this blog post, we delved into various techniques for generating high-quality PDF reports from Excel, focusing on financial data. From straightforward exporting and printing methods to more sophisticated approaches involving visual data enhancements and automated report updates, there are many options to ensure your financial reports are professional and communicative.

Taking the time to meticulously prepare your data, optimize your report layouts, and resolve common issues can significantly improve how you present your financial insights to stakeholders and clients. Why not implement the abovementioned strategies today and observe the impact on your reporting processes?

Remember, mastering PDF creation from Excel comes with practice. The more you engage with the above methods, the more proficient you’ll become. Moreover, your journey toward efficiency might even lead you to discover innovative techniques that can transform your workflow.

For those looking to streamline this process even further, Macabacus offers a suite of tools designed to enhance your productivity across Microsoft Office applications. Tailored specifically for finance and banking professionals, Macabacus helps format spreadsheets and audit formulas and seamlessly integrates Excel with PowerPoint and Word to maintain consistency and accuracy across documents. Embracing Macabacus could be your next step toward more efficient and effective financial reporting.

Create Financial Models 10x Faster with Macabacus

Gain access to 100+ shortcuts, formula auditing visualizations, easy Excel-to-PowerPoint linking and productivity tools to help you accelerate financial modeling and presentations.

Start your Free Trial

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