You’ve probably come across the very handy ‘Mail PDF’ option in the Mac Print menu … in case you haven’t: select “Print” or ⌘+P – in the lower left corner of the print window that appears, there’s a drop-down box headed ‘PDF’; click on the arrow next to ‘PDF’ and that gives you an array of things you can do, including Mail PDF. Basically, this menu turns whatever you’re looking at into a PDF and allows you do Do Stuff with it – mail it, save it, etc etc.
Ok, so the PDF function is very very useful: I use it to save articles etc to Evernote, for example, and to mail PDFs of documents/articles/other stuff as necessary.
The Mail PDF function works fine … as long as you use Apple’s built-in Mail app. If you prefer/need to use another application (Outlook, Postbox, Airmail, etc etc) then at first glance, you’re out of luck. At second glance … you aren’t.
If you want to be able to mail PDFs from another email application, follow these steps:
- Go to the print window (⌘+P or select “Print” from the File menu)
- Click on the drop-down arrow next to “PDF” in the lower left corner
- Select the last option in the list, “Edit Menu…” (by the way – if you see … at the end of an option in a menu, it means there are further options that will appear when you click that option. Just FYI)
- The “Edit Menu…” option brings up a window titled “Printing Workflows:”. Basically, it’s a way of passing PDFs to other apps
- Click the + in the lower left corner
- That will bring up a Finder Window: navigate to your Application folder and, from there, select whichever email app you prefer/need to use. Click “Open” (don’t worry, it doesn’t actually open the app)
- You’ll be taken back to the “Printing Workflows:” window, and the name of the app you’ve just selected will now appear on the list in that window
- If you want to change the entry from the app name on the list to something a bit clearer (e.g.: change “Outlook” to “Send PDF with Outlook”) then click on the app name; it’ll be highlighted and you will be able to change the wording on the list to something else (doesn’t change the functionality – just the entry that appears in the menu list after).
- Once you’re done, click “Ok”
- That’ll take you back to the Print window. Click on the arrow next to “PDF” again, and you’ll find your new entry in the list … click it, and you should find you have a new mail message created with the relevant article/document etc that you sent to print as a PDF attachment to the mail message.
- Write the text of the email and send as usual!
This works for things other than emailing – many programs (Scrivener, Evernote) put their own “Save as PDF to …” functions into this menu but (in theory) any program that can handle a PDF can be added. For example, I use Things as a project/task app these days, and have added “Send PDF to Things” to the PDF print menu; that creates a new task in Things with the PDF as a note, which can be useful for saving background material for a task.