Sign in with Microsoft
Sign in or create an account.
Select a different account.
You have multiple accounts
Choose the account you want to sign in with.
"Publisher cannot save the file" error when saving as PDF


When you try to save a Publisher file as a PDF or XPS, you may get this error: "Publisher cannot save the file."

Note: While this issue can happen with different Publisher versions, it seems to happen most frequently with Publisher 2016 under Windows 10.


If you're using Publisher 2016 under Windows 10, try toggling between your default printer and another print device. To do this:

  1. Close Publisher.

  2. In Windows, select the Start button and then Settings.

  3. Go to Devices > Printers & Scanners.

  4. Deselect the Let Windows manage my default printer option if it's selected.

  5. Choose a device under Printers & scanners that isn't your default printer. For example, click on Fax or Microsoft Print to PDF.

  6. Click the Manage button and then click Set as default in the next page.

  7. Now, select your printer under Printers & scanners, click Manage and click Set as default.

  8. Start Publisher and try to save the file as a PDF or XPS again.

If you're using Publisher 2016, 2013, or 2010 on an older Windows version and you're experiencing this issue, try one of the following methods to avoid getting the error:

  • Compress pictures in your publication.

  • Remove page backgrounds or large images from your publication.

  • Remove transparent images from your publication.

  • Remove picture effects, such as recolor or brightness/correction from your publication.

  • Install the 64-bit version of Publisher as it's not affected by the issue. For more information about installing the 64-bit version, see Choose between the 64-bit or 32-bit version of Office.

Need more help?

Want more options?

Explore subscription benefits, browse training courses, learn how to secure your device, and more.

Communities help you ask and answer questions, give feedback, and hear from experts with rich knowledge.

Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?
By pressing submit, your feedback will be used to improve Microsoft products and services. Your IT admin will be able to collect this data. Privacy Statement.

Thank you for your feedback!