Inventor PDF Options

August 10, 2023 Shawn Heator


Autodesk Inventor includes several methods to create a .pdf file.

  1. Export to PDF
  2. Save As > .pdf file type
  3. Save Copy As > .pdf file type
  4. Print > select a PDF print driver

The .pdf's created from these options are not the same and have limited options. Is there a way to customize the .pdf output?


The difference between the .pdf results is caused by the .pdf creation device. The short answer is that the first three options all use an Inventor translator to create the .pdf file. There are limited options to create the .pdf file. The traditional “Print to PDF” (4) option may be the best option to create a .pdf if the “Export to PDF” or “Save as PDF” options do not yield the desired results.

The information below details the PDF creation options available in Autodesk Inventor.

  1. Export to PDF. To use the Export to PDF, go to the top left corner of Inventor to select File>Export> select the PDF option.

A “Save As” dialog box appears with the “Save as type” pre-selected to PDF files. Notice there is not another file type available, and the Options button is greyed out. The Options button is only available while Exporting to PDF for a .dwg or .idw.

When selecting Options while Exporting to PDF for a .dwg or .idw, a PDF Drawing dialog appears with a few options for Range, Resolution and line type color or weight.

There are the only available options to define your .pdf file using Export to PDF for a .idw or .dwg.

  1. Save As > PDF file type. The Save As method requires manually selecting the *All Files file type and inputting the .pdf extension. Notice the Options button is not greyed out in the image below. However, the options dialog box will not open using this method.

After selecting Save, a dialog box immediately appears stating the document failed to open.

This occurs due to saving the active open file as a file type that cannot be opened by Inventor. However, the .pdf file is created in the defined location.

  1. Save Copy As > PDF file type. Instead of Save As, a better option is to use Save Copy As and then select the .pdf file type.

The Options dialog box is greyed out if performing a “Save Copy As” a .pdf for .ipt and .iam files. However, it is available when performing a “Save Copy As” a .pdf for a .idw or .dwg. This behavior mimics the Export to PDF behavior.

The behavior for all the above .pdf options is similar because Inventor is using a Translator, instead of a print driver, to create the .pdf file type. To view all Translators, go to the Tools Tab and select Add-Ins. Then select the Translators tab in the Add-in Manager dialog box to view the PDF Translator.

As an “Autodesk Internal PDF Translator, there is not a method to manually update or modify the Translator. The Translator is updated through Autodesk Inventor updates.

  1. Print to PDF. The Print to PDF option involves the standard Print command from File>Print or form the Print icon on the top Status Bar.

Select your PDF print driver, such as Microsoft Print to PDF, to create a .pdf file.

As you can see in the above “Print Setup” dialog box, there are limited options to adjust the settings. The print driver selected from your system or network will use the settings in the .pdf driver. To see if there are any settings that can be changed, select Properties and then Advanced.

As you can see, the Microsoft Print to PDF driver has limited Advanced options. Other print drivers have additional options. In the example image below, selecting another Print driver and opening Advanced options contains additional settings.

If the default Microsoft to PDF driver does not have the desired options, then there are many other PDF drivers available that can be setup as desired.

About the Author

Shawn Heator

Technical Support Specialist

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