I upgraded (whatever that means) to macOS Catalina.

If you visit https://apple.stackexchange.com using Safari and do a Print... and select Save as PDF, then you can create a pdf file. All is well so far. Now, using Preview, open the pdf file that you just created, and say you want to print pages 2-3 (or the entire document, it does not really matter) as a new pdf file. On my end, this is not working. I get an error message: Print. Error while printing.

Do you know of any resolutions, or should we just wait for the next update of macOS to solve this?

  • 2
    Have you tried exporting the file as a PDF instead of using the print panel. Under the FILE menu is an option to Export as PDF.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 14:44
  • That one seems to be working. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 23:00
  • 1
    Same issue here with Catalina. The difference is the export re-exports the whole thing whereas Print as PDF you can generate a sub-set of the original pages, so will be good when they fix this!
    – Lantrix
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 3:31
  • 1
    Exactly. And of course someone could say now that we have re-exported the whole document, go on the left-hand side, select the pages that we did not want to print, hit delete, and then save the new document. Voila! But of course this is not the real answer to the problem. Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 3:52
  • 1
    I had the same problem. It seems to be related to the fact that some print drivers are 32-bits. You can verify whether this is true for your print driver following the steps described here. What worked for me is deleting all my old printers and reset the print service (step 4 described here). Hope this helps
    – Stereo
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 8:14

2 Answers 2


The essential difference between Safari's Export as PDF and Save As PDF in the print menu is that the latter involves the print architecture, and the former does not. As mentioned in the comments, it's possible that old 32-bit print drivers may be causing problems in Catalina's 64-bit clean environment. Of course, this would be noticed when printing to paper, too.

You can create a 'Generic Printer' print queue, and select that as your Printer whenever you Save As PDF in the print menu.

One other tip: for individual pages, you can drag the thumbnails out of Preview to the Finder.

It's also worth noting that Adobe's Acrobat app prohibits and prevents printing a PDF to a PDF, instructing the user to Export or Save As instead. I suspect most of the reasons for this prohibition relate to the loss of metadata -- bookmarks, annotations, Keywords, encryption, etc -- that will occur when a PDF is printed. Though there may be other reasons for doing so.


I have experienced a problem similar to yours.

Unfortunately for us, there seems to be no solution, but "the answer" to our questions was revealed in my telephone call to Apple Care. During this support call, a "second-level" tech support person stated:

"Apple doesn't actually support PDF files with Preview. There is nothing we can do to help you."


A subsequent call to AppleCare got me to a different support person who was not afflicted with an attitude. Apple subsequently reviewed a copy of my PDF document, duplicated the behavior I saw, and collected some "system data" from my Macbook. I finally got the results of this, and Apple has indicated they have found an issue that will be addressed in a future update.

  • Your problem is not really similar, apart from the fact they both involve Preview: he is creating PDFs, you are trying to copy from them.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 9:53
  • I think they're similar because: a. they both involve PDFs, and b. they both involve things that Preview did in previous versions, but doesn't do in Catalina. The reasoning behind your comment is not clear. This is a direct quote from an Apple representative when I called Apple Care on this issue. I was surprised to hear it, and expressed my doubt, but the representative confirmed this was "Apple Policy".
    – Seamus
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 19:26

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