Skip to main content

Best Excel to PDF converter

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft Excel is the world’s most popular spreadsheet software, with one of the perks being that it can generate aesthetically-pleasing tables and charts that make your figures and calculations just jump off the page. But when you send XLS files to other people, some Excel viewers will display your content differently to the reader, as not every device has Excel installed. 

PDF, on the other hand, is a ubiquitous file format that can be read on every major device. Converting your XLS files to PDFs makes sure your audience will view your content exactly as planned.

In this article, we outline the best Excel to PDF converters that are available today.

Soda PDF

(Image credit: Soda PDF)

1. Soda PDF

Powerful Excel to PDF converter

Intuitive editing tools go beyond conversion from XLS
Supports conversion to and from many file formats
Online version is as powerful as the desktop app
Pop-up ads during the free trial
Some features, like OCR, cost extra

Soda PDF is a full-featured PDF editor with both cloud-based and desktop apps. Its tools include a converter that creates accurate PDF documents from XLS files.

It’s reasonably priced at $10 per month, or $48 per year, though some features, like password protection, are locked behind a Premium version that costs $15 per month, or $84 per year. Alternatively, you can buy a perpetual Home license for $79 or a Premium license for $129, but these don’t include access to the online app.

Soda PDF is a superb choice if you plan to edit your files after they’re converted from Excel to PDF format, as it has some of the most intuitive and powerful PDF editing tools available today.

Foxit PhantomPDF

(Image credit: Foxit PhantomPDF)

2. Foxit PhantomPDF

All-in-one Excel to PDF converter and editor

Created PDFs are standards compliant
Create templates for faster XLS importing
In-app video tutorials
Interface is a bit dated
Clunky editing tools
Per-device licensing

Foxit PhantomPDF is perhaps the best-known PDF editor besides Adobe Acrobat Pro, considered a cheaper alternative to the official software. One of its many tools is an Excel to PDF converter. 

Foxit PhantomPDF goes a little further than most Excel to PDF converters because you can set custom options. For example, you can choose whether to convert a single Excel sheet or an entire workbook. 

You can pick it up for a one-time price of $139 or opt for a $14.99 subscription that includes ongoing updates. An online tool is included in the package, but it’s a stripped-down version of the desktop software.

Wondershare PDFElement

(Image credit: Wondershare)

3. Wondershare PDFElement

Top-rated PDF conversion and editing tool

Fast conversion from Excel format
Easy to edit the converted documents
Excellent integrated PDF editing tools
Quite expensive
No online version

Wondershare PDFElement can convert from XLS to PDF. It’s a desktop-only solution, but apps are available for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS.

Excel to PDF conversions are fast and accurate, but the excellent PDF editing tools are what make Wondershare PDFElement a contender for best Excel to PDF converter. It’s not the cheapest option, though, starting at $79/year, though that does include batch processing.

A free trial version is available for download so you can test it out for yourself, but a watermark is added to saved PDFs in the unregistered version.

Nitro Pro

(Image credit: Nitro Pro)

4. Nitro Pro

Windows app for converting .xls to .pdf

Batch converting multiple Excel files to PDF is easy
Perpetual per-user license
Full-feature 14-day trial
Editing converted XLS files can be tricky
Windows only
No online tools

Nitro Pro is a PDF editor and converter for Microsoft Windows. Unlike the other converters on this list, Nitro Pro doesn’t have an online version, so you must install the app on every desktop computer that you want to use it on. 

When converting Excel documents, the resulting PDF table cells can be quite small, so they can be difficult to work with in Nitro Pro’s editor interface.

Nitro Pro’s strength is in its batch processing. You can import multiple Excel documents while specifying rules defining the generated page size and image compression. Once your documents are converted to PDF, you can run additional batch processing wizards that create metadata or add passwords.


(Image credit: Smallpdf)

5. Smallpdf

For small volume Excel to PDF conversions

Support for all Microsoft Office file types, including XLS
Simple to use
Uses industry-leading file encryption
Free version has a limited number of conversions
Desktop version requires a Pro account
Rudimentary PDF editing tools

Smallpdf is a colorful online PDF converter that supports Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and JPG files. Though it’s free to use for basic single-file conversions, the number of conversions you can perform without purchasing a Pro account is limited. A desktop app version is available, but it’s only available with a paid account, which costs $12 per month, or $108 per year. But although Smallpdf supports compression, merging, splitting, eSigning, and password protecting PDFs, its editing tools do fall short.

Smallpdf is a good choice for a one-off Excel to PDF conversion from time to time, and its 256-bit encryption makes it one of the most secure online converters, but if you need to do many post-conversion edits on your PDFs, you’ll find it lacking in features.