How to add items to or remove items from the PDF print menu in OS X

When you go to print something from your Macintosh computer OS X gives you a ‘PDF’ option in the bottom left corner of the print window. This option creates a PDF of the document that you are trying to print and then sends that PDF file somewhere.

  • If you select “Open in Preview” it will open the newly created PDF document in Apple’s preview app.
  • If you select “Save as PDF” it will allow you to save the document somewhere.
  • If you select “Send in Mail” It will create a PDF of the printed document, open a new mail message and attached the PDF to that mail message.

This is a really handy feature but what you may not know is that you can add or remove items to this PDF menu.

To add something to the PDF menu find the “Library/PDF Services” folder and then drag an alias (Command-Option-drag) of any application into this folder. That application will now appear in the PDF menu and the PDF file will be sent to that application when it is created. You can even create custom automator actions if you want.

To remove an item from the PDF menu simply remove it from the”Library/PDF Services” folder.


10 responses to “How to add items to or remove items from the PDF print menu in OS X”

  1. Josh Freeman

    Is there any way to control the order in which these items appear? I have some in Library > PDF Services which don’t seem to sort in any logical way, and some in my User > Library > PDF Services folder, which do sort alphabetically. Any idea how to make the any-user PDF services show up in a particular order?

    1. Mark

      Josh, the entries are alphabetically sorted. You could use a letter, or a number to get the order you want.

      However, I believe that some of the “Save PDF” links get filtered to the top, no matter what. For example: “Save to Web Receipt,” “Save to iCloud,” “send in Messenger,” etc…

  2. Zoe

    Hey Mark,

    I have met a new problem. I have deleted the PDF service file and the print page still have the menus-send in mail, send to icloud, send in messenger ect. Do you have any ideas?


  3. Hi Mark

    After upgrading to Big Sur, these aliases to folders stopped working. Have you had that issue? Any clue how to fix it? I tried creating new aliases, but no luck. Thanks.

    1. Zvi

      You can create an automator workflow to replace the aliases that stopped working. Create a “printer plugin” with a single action to “Move finder items” into the folder of your choice. Save.

  4. David

    My dropdown menu has lots of options I never use – including Save PDF to Aperture, Save to Web Receipts…but I don’t see those in the PDF Services folder. They also don’t show up in the Edit Menu pop-up. Any idea how to get rid of them and simplify the menu?

    1. Michael

      Did you ever find a solution?

  5. Ben

    Yes, Apple has crippled PDF Services in Big Sur. Automator Print plug-ins and workflows do not work. Nor do shell scripts, python scripts, unix executables, etc, etc.
    The only thing that works are Applications that can open a PDF file. This means that they are just opening the document, not processing the original information that PDF Services used to pass, which included various print system info.

  6. Chrissy Alderson

    Does anyone know how to remove
    ‘save to iCloud drive’ and ‘save to web receipts’ from PDF services, it’s so annoying I use send in mail on touchbar for my work, which was the first option, now it’s something I need to scroll across to, I have to send out 100’s of letters a day using send in mail, so it’s slowed me down. I can’t find a way to delete these two that I don’t use. They are Unix executable files.

    Thank you

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