I love PDF files. They’re simple. They’re professional. And they’re easy to attach.

Emails, on the other hand, can be difficult to work with. Yeah, you can forward them, but you can’t really save them to your computer.

Or can you?

In this guide, I’ll show you how to save an email as a PDF.

Why Save an Email as a PDF?

So, why save an email as a PDF? There are some situations that call for it.

For example:

  • You want a hard copy in case your email is inaccessible. Your internet goes down sometimes. It’s super frustrating. And you don’t want to be caught without an email you need to reference. Saving a copy of an email as a PDF guarantees it will be available to you even if you have an internet outage. Of course, you should probably be aware that Gmail also has an offline mode for this purpose.
  • You’re working the email into a pitch, presentation, or other formal document. Maybe you need to save the email as a PDF so you can work it into another PDF, or a PowerPoint sales presentation, or some other kind of formal document. PDFs are pretty easy to work with.
  • The email is set to expire. Thanks to security settings in Gmail and other mail apps, it’s possible for senders to set their emails to “expire.” Like in old spy movies, these emails self-destruct; after a period of time, they’ll be inaccessible. Saving the email as a PDF could help you save a permanent copy. Just be aware that they may be able to prevent you from printing and/or saving the email this way—and even if they don’t, this may be a breach of ethics.
  • You need to mark up the email. With a PDF, you can apply your own notes, doodles, and wacky captions. It’s convenient if you want to make an important point and your usual email drafting tools aren’t sufficient.
  • You’re appeasing a boss who isn’t tech-savvy. Okay, let’s face it. Not everyone on your team is tech savvy. Maybe your boss wanted you to print an email and fax it to them, rather than just accepting a simple forward. I don’t know. But for the non tech-savvy, saving an email as a PDF might as well be space age technology. The point is, it’s available, and some people will want to use it (or have you use it for them). Sometimes—and I hate saying this—it’s not worth making the argument that there’s a better, more efficient technology available.

How to Save an Email as a PDF in Gmail

Saving an email as a PDF in Gmail is easy.

First, we need to trick Gmail into thinking we’re printing—but we’re not actually printing.

Open the email or conversation you want to save as a PDF.

In the upper-right corner, you’ll see a Print icon. Click it.

how to save an email as a pdf gmail

Verify that you want to print, and you’ll get a screen like this:

how to save an email as a pdf gmail confirm

Here, you can choose “Save as PDF” instead of a printer. You’ll also have some other options to tinker with, including whether or not you want to include header/footer information.

Click Save when you’re ready, and save the PDF file wherever you want!

How to Save an Email as a PDF in Outlook

Saving an email as a PDF in Outlook is just as easy.

Find the email or thread you want to save, and click the three dots in the upper section of the app.

Click the Print icon (highlighted below).

how to save an email as a pdf outlook

From there, you’ll get a screen similar to the one I showed you for printing a Gmail email.

You can tinker with a few settings and options here. Make sure the printer selected is “Save as PDF,” then click Save.

Again, you can save this file wherever you want.

How to Save an Email as a PDF in iOS

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or other device running iOS, you’ll need to follow a slightly different set of instructions.

To start, download the Spark Mail app. It’s free.

After a few steps to set up your email account, you can open the conversation you want to export.

From there, tap the three dots in the bottom of the screen. Sound familiar?

Here, you can scroll to the right and tap Save as PDF.

You’ll also have the option to include history (previous messages in the thread) and comments. Click Save whenever you’re ready.

Next, you’ll be able to save it to your device or share it with another app. You’ll also have the option to “Markup” the email to add your own annotations.

Note that other mail apps may allow you to save emails as a PDF as well.

How to Save an Email as a PDF on Android

You can also save emails as a PDF on Android mobile devices.

Again, the easiest option here is to download the Spark Mail app.

You’ll follow the same steps as the iOS users. Set up your account, then open the conversation you want to export.

Tap the three dots at the bottom of the screen.

Tap Save as PDF.

Choose whether you want added history or comments, then click Save.

From there, you can “Markup” the email or save it to your device (or another app).

Note that other mail apps may allow you to save emails as a PDF as well.

Alternatives to Saving an Email as a PDF

While saving an email as a PDF can be helpful in many situations, it’s not always the best solution.

For example, if you’re on a mobile device, it may be faster and easier to simply take a screenshot of your email if you need a permanent record of it.

On an iPhone, that means hitting the home button (or volume button) and power button simultaneously.

On an Android phone, that means holding down the power and volume down buttons for a couple of seconds, then holding the power key and tapping “take screenshot.”

You can also take a screenshot on a PC with the PrtScn key—just paste it into Paint or a similar program and save it in whatever format you prefer.

What Are Your Email Habits Like?

Okay, now you know how to save an email as a PDF. One question for you: Do you spend a lot of time emailing?

Okay. How much?

If you can’t answer that question, it means you don’t have transparency into your own emailing habits.

But don’t worry. We’ve got just the tool to help: EmailAnalytics.

Email probably takes up way too much of your day. But it doesn’t have to.

With EmailAnalytics, you’ll learn exactly how much time email takes from you, how many emails you send and receive, your average response time, and countless other metrics. From there, you can perfect your approach to email.

Everything starts with a free trial. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today, and finally discover—and eliminate—the email habits holding you back!