Notion Tutorials

Notion Export To PDF: Tips & Tricks For Better Formatting

Gerrard Lipscombe
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Notion Export To PDF: Tips & Tricks For Better Formatting

Sometimes sharing a Notion document via URL, or by inviting another user to your workspace, isn't viable. Maybe they're not a Notion user. Maybe you want to provide a more formal document, or you need to upload a certain file type into a form. Whatever the case--you need a to turn your Notion page into a PDF format.

Ideally, you'd like to do so in a way that doesn't:

  • Mess with the formatting;
  • Include any ugly 'properties' at the top of the page; and
  • Just generally lines up sensibly with multi-page PDF formatting.

While Notion does have a simple PDF exporting feature, it doesn't always fall squarely in line with the issues outlined above. So in this post, I'll outline:

  1. How to export a Notion page to PDF in the first place; and
  2. How to tackle some of the common issues Notion users run into when doing so.

How to export a Notion page to PDF

Let's start with the basics then.

On any Notion page, you can export and download the contents of that page as a PDF by:

  1. Navigating to the top right-hand menu of the page;
  2. Selecting 'Export' from the menu;
  3. Selecting a few basic formatting details about the document you'd like to export; and
  4. Then saving the file as a '.pdf' file to your computer.

You can take a look at the Scribe above for the exact click-by-click walk-through.

How to export Notion pages with the right format

There are a few formatting issues that pop up when trying to export your Notion pages to PDF. The main reason being that Notion pages aren't structured in the same way as most other word processor docs (like Docs or Word).

Notion pages work in blocks, and these blocks can be transformed into anything from plain text to headers, callout blocks, quotes, tables, etc.

Some main issues you might run into:

  • Databases come out looking funny;
  • Spacing of pages isn't quite the same;
  • Properties can't be hidden from the top of a database page; and
  • The general alignment of columns and dividers don't quite line up with your Notion doc.

Instead of trying to give a precise answer for every way that things can go haywire, I'll try to give some simple tips to follow when exporting Notion pages to PDF.

  1. Don't use database pages: A database page is any Notion page that belongs to a database. For example, you might have a database called 'Invoices', which has a bunch of properties like 'Due date', 'Status' and 'Amount'. All of these properties will automatically be assigned to any page in that database--and so when you try to export it, Notion is also going to export those properties, and list them at the top. Now, if that's what you want to happen--that's great! But if you're just looking to print the content of a page into a PDF, best to work with a '/page' that isn't attached to a database.
  2. Avoid timelines and non-table database views: If you do want to print a database inside of your PDF page content, Notion will let you do this--but it'll revert to the table view of your data. So if you've mapped out some elaborate timeline view for a project proposal, say, you're not going to see that recreated in your PDF export;
  3. In general, keep the formatting simple: Too many columns, dividers, images and callouts will just increases the chances of things going wrong--so if you want to use Notion for exporting documents, best to keep the formatting simple, and just get straight to the point of the content (think invoices, agreements and other 'boring' docs).

Workarounds and solutions

If you do have a database with a repetitive template that you'd like to create many PDFs from (for example, an invoice template), you can recreate that page as a standalone template button. This will let you rapidly generate a new copy, with all the template content and formatting in place, but it won't print out the properties of a database.

For an example of this in action, take a look at this Invoices Tracker Template--there's a template button '+ Easy PDF' version that takes the database template and lets you create a standalone, PDF-able page instead :)  

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