"Publisher cannot save the file" error when saving as PDF

ISSUE

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.

STATUS: WORKAROUND

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:

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