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Is there a way to install a printer that prints to pdf?

There's a lot of discussions about this in the web foruns, but none seens to work.

  • 1
    A more up to date answer can be found here – fbicknel May 8 '18 at 18:50
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Ubuntu ships with this functionality. Try opening gedit Install gedit
(source: ubuntu.com) or another GUI text editor and clicking the print button:

enter image description here

When the Print dialog appears, select the "Print to File" printer and select a location for the PDF. After clicking Print, you should end up with a PDF file in that location containing an identical copy of what would have printed on a sheet of paper.

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    It's correct, the problem is with wine! Apps running under wine will not have access to this printer.. :( – Tom Brito Nov 22 '11 at 19:44
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    The cups-pdf printer is available also for applications running under wine. – tohuwawohu Nov 23 '11 at 8:55
  • a lot of other image and text viewers and editors have this option – user47206 Jun 7 '12 at 15:55
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    This built in printer only shows up in certain applications... For example, it doesn't show up in Thunderbird or LibreOffice. – foobarbecue Sep 14 '15 at 9:45
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If you've CUPS installed, you can easily add a "PDF Printer" by installing the cups-pdf package:

sudo apt-get install cups-pdf

or since Ubuntu 16.04

sudo apt-get install printer-driver-cups-pdf

The pdf printer provided by that package will "print" the resulting PDFs into the /home/[user]/PDF directory.

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  • 16
    Since Ubuntu 16.04, the package is called printer-driver-cups-pdf. – sergej Jul 5 '17 at 17:18
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    I get blank output files – Hamman Samuel Dec 11 '17 at 20:38
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    It can take a minute or so to complete "printing." So if you're getting blank pages or a "corrupted pdf," just give it a few minutes and check back later. – Freedom_Ben May 8 '18 at 3:09
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    since Ubuntu 18.04 the cups-pdf and its successor printer-driver-cups-pdf do not work any more. The "printer" disappears. Any idea how to print PDF from wine based apps?? – opinion_no9 Nov 5 '18 at 23:01
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    Note that when using sudo apt install cups-pdf at least, the new "printer" that shows up in your print menu is called simply PDF, and when you select this printer and click the "Print" button, it then outputs the generated PDFs into this folder: ~/PDF, with a file name such as job_217-untitled_document.pdf. It took me a while to find them, as it looked like nothing was happening, and no dialog box came up (in typical Linux fashion: not very user-friendly!) – Gabriel Staples Oct 14 '19 at 22:22
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Whenever you print , there is already an option for "print to file". I hope you are talking about that.. if not then please elaborate your question

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    Yes, depending on the software you are using there's already this option. But for Astah UML, for example, there isn't. I would like something like the "print2pdf" software (this one, for Windows). – Tom Brito Nov 22 '11 at 19:28
  • Yes, this is independent from "print to file". apt-get install cups-pdf is back for a while. In Ubuntu 19 and 20 I could use it again. Works fine. mostly. Acts like a printer (same like the Redmond workaround). – opinion_no9 Feb 21 at 22:22

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