Printing to PDF without Opening Files

Challenge: I often receive Microsoft Word documents that I need to add to website pages. To make it easier for end users to view, I convert all of them to pdf documents. As such, I figured there was probably a way for me to bulk convert pdf documents; however, I wanted to find a way to do so without having to open Word.

Solution: I found an article over the summer that referenced the CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) PDF plugin and how to create a script to convert pdf documents without opening Word. While this solution worked for a while, my recent upgrade to Yosemite OS broke that workflow. I ended up switching to PDFwriter for Mac to resolve this issue. I had to recreate the workflow in Automator, but printing to PDF without opening files works again. If you want to do something similar, just following these steps:

  1. Install PDFwriter for Mac
  2. Open System Preferences -> Print & Fax -> Click the “+” button to add a new printer. Select PDFwriter as the printer.
  3. Open Automator and select Application from the listed options.
  4. Add Get Specified Finder Items and Printer Finder Items by dragging and dropping them from the left side of the Automator window to the main workflow area.
  5. In the details section of the Printer Finder Items action, select PDFwriter from the Print to drop-down menu.
  6. Save your new application somewhere handy (like the Desktop). Now you can drag multiple files at the same time (or individual files) onto it whenever you want to quickly save them as PDFs.

NOTE: The PDFs are saved in /Users/Shared/PDFwriter/username/, but you can move the files wherever you want. Alternatively, you could make an alias of the “username” folder (within /Users/Shared/PDFwriter/username/) and drag it somewhere handy (like your Desktop).