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Best Excel to PDF converter of 2021: Free and paid, for Windows, Mac, Android and online

The PDF logo.
(Image credit: Future)

The best Excel to PDF converters make it simple and easy to convert Excel spreadsheets to PDF files while retaining all formatting.

This is especially important, as 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, especially with the profusion of other spreadsheet software platforms now out there. 

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 currently available.

We've also featured the best Word to PDF converter.


The best PDF software is Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

The best PDF software is Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Whatever you need to convert to PDF format, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is the tool for you. It gives you total freedom to create PDFs from scratch and edit existing documents without fuss, on desktop or mobile. Of course, it also has a comprehensive range of convertors, and is the best PDF software you can buy overall.

(Image credit: Soda PDF)

1. Soda PDF

Powerful Excel to PDF converter

Reasons to buy
+Intuitive editing tools+Multiple file conversion options+Powerful online version
Reasons to avoid
-Pop-up ads during the free trial-Features such as OCR cost extra

Soda PDF is a full-featured PDF editor with both cloud-based and desktop apps. and is perfectively capable of faithfully converting XLS files into PDF documents. Soda PDF is also capable of converting man other file types to PDF files.

The interface is easy to use, and the online tools are just as powerful as the downloadable desktop software platform.

Pricing is reasonable, with a license available for a monthly or yearly subscription. Different payment levels are also available according to the number of extra features preferred, such as password protection.

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.


(Image credit: Foxit)

2. Foxit PDF Editor

All-in-one Excel to PDF converter and editor

Reasons to buy
+Converted PDFs are standards compliant+Templates for faster XLS importing+In-app video tutorials
Reasons to avoid
-Per-device licensing

Foxit PDF Editor 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 PDF Editor 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 or opt for a subscription that includes ongoing updates. An online tool is included in the package, but it’s a stripped-down version of the desktop software.


(Image credit: PDFelement)

3. PDFElement

Top-rated PDF conversion and editing tool

Reasons to buy
+Fast conversion from Excel format+Easy to edit the converted documents+Excellent integrated PDF editing tools
Reasons to avoid
-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, though it 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.


(Image credit: Nitro)

4. Nitro Pro

Windows app for converting .xls to .pdf

Reasons to buy
+Batch convert multiple Excel files to PDF+Perpetual per-user license+Full-feature 14-day trial
Reasons to avoid
-Windows only-No online tools

Nitro Pro is a PDF editor and converter for Microsoft Windows. Unlike many 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

Reasons to buy
+Support for all Microsoft Office file types+Simple to use+Industry-leading file encryption
Reasons to avoid
-Free version has a limited number of conversions-Desktop version requires a Pro account

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 can be downloaded, but it’s only available with a paid account. But although Smallpdf supports compression, merging, splitting, eSigning, and password protecting PDFs, its editing tools aren't as intuitive when compared to some rivals.

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. 

Richard Sutherland

Richard brings over 20 years of website development, SEO, and marketing to the table. A graduate in Computer Science, Richard has lectured in Java programming and has built software for companies including Samsung and ASDA. Now, he writes for TechRadar, Tom's Guide, PC Gamer, and Creative Bloq.