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Here is a common problem. Someone sends you a PDF file and you need to make a lot of changes to it, the kind of wholesale editing that’s impossible to do with PDF editing apps like the ones you can use to make light edits to a PDF. How do you turn a PDF into a document that you can edit to add or remove paragraphs, move text from one part of the document to another, etc.?
How We Can Convert Pdf To Word
Here’s another problem: You need to convert a PDF file to an image file for display on the web, insert it into a document, or upload it to a website that only accepts JPGs. This problem is easier to solve than the first – the answer is at the end of this story.
Pdf Vs Word
The only way to make bulk edits to a PDF file is to convert it to a word processing document so you can edit it in Word, Google Docs, or any other word processing application. What makes it difficult is that PDF (Portable Document Format), an open standard developed by Adobe in the 1990s, is completely incompatible with the DOCX word processing format that is now standard in Microsoft Word and almost everything else. Don’t believe any vendor that claims to make PDF editing as easy as Word. This kind of editing is impossible with a PDF file. You must first convert the PDF to another document type.
There is no perfect solution to this problem, but there are many good solutions. Which solution you should use depends on the type of PDF you need to edit. If the PDF was created by a Windows, Mac or Linux application with export from the application to PDF, then the solution is easy because the text in the PDF is embedded in the PDF file and can be obtained. However, if the PDF is created by scanning or photographing the printed text, then the problem is more difficult because you have to use OCR (optical character recognition) on the scanned image to get the text, and this process is always error-prone.
If you don’t know whether a PDF was created by an app or by a camera or scanner, here’s how to find out.
Open the PDF in your default PDF application, such as Edge on Windows 11, Preview on macOS, or Adobe Acrobat Reader (Opens in a new window) . Try selecting some text by dragging with the mouse. If you can select text, then the PDF was exported by an application—or it’s already had OCR applied to it, which is just as well. If you cannot select the text, then the PDF has been scanned and needs to be OCRed before you can convert it to a Word document.
How To Convert Pdf To Word Or Excel Online
Let’s start with PDFs that don’t require OCR, i.e. PDFs with embedded text. The simplest way to convert your PDF is to open it in Microsoft Word and let Word convert the content.
Open it as you would any other Word file. Start Word and go to File > Open and select your PDF. Or right-click the file and select Open with > Microsoft Word. The file will probably take some time to edit and then it will open as an editable Word document.
This solution works well, but the content may not look exactly right. The content of a PDF is “fixed” to a position on the page, and PDF does not allow you to insert or delete paragraphs while maintaining the flow of the document like a word processor can.
“Word will now convert your PDF into an editable Word document,” it says. “This may take some time. The resulting Word document will be optimized to allow you to edit the text, so it will not be the same as the original PDF, especially if the original file contains many graphics.”
Pdf To Excel: How To Convert On Pdf To Xls Or Xlsx On Computer, Phone
That said, the graphics are accurate, but not quite where you want them to be. And your text may end up in text boxes instead of flowing freely on the page. But at least there is a document you can use.
If you want to export it as a PDF when you’re done editing, just use the Export or Save As menus in Word and export your document as a PDF.
By the way, this conversion works not only in the Word desktop app but also in the free version of the Word web app (found on office.com). You open a PDF in Word Online and it appears, but click the “Edit in Word” link and you may see a warning about converting the file:
Here’s another warning about layout changes, etc. But the content will be there and can be edited, even if the display becomes bad. Try it.
How To Convert Word Files To Pdf Online
Opening a PDF in Word is just one way to convert PDF files to DOCX format. You can get better results using PDF editing applications like Adobe Acrobat DC. In my experience, Acrobat does a better job than anything else at exporting PDF files to Word format.
Open the PDF in Acrobat, select File/Export to… from the menu and export to Word format. Acrobat does a better job than Word of arranging page formatting such as headers and footers. Word sometimes mixes header text with document text, but Acrobat almost always gets it right.
The problem with Acrobat is that it costs money—but Adobe offers a free online PDF converter (Opens in a new window) that you can use to get the same results you get from Acrobat.
You can find cheaper PDF software that converts application-generated PDF files to DOCX format, but I haven’t found anything that does it as well as Acrobat.
I Love Pdf To Word
Dozens of other free online PDF conversion sites promise to unwrap editable text, but I don’t recommend any of them as a place to trust when uploading your data. Adobe, however, is established enough that I can rely on it for regular documents, even if I don’t upload anything that I need to keep.
Another free app I sometimes hear recommended for PDF to Word conversion is Google Docs. The instructions are similar to using Acrobat: Open the file for editing, then download it in Word format. Every time I tried it, though, the results were terrible. You might have better luck.
Everything I’ve written so far has focused on PDF files being exported from an application so that text can be embedded in the PDF. What can you do to convert PDF files created by a scanner or camera?
Depending on the quality of the scanned image, you may be able to open it in Word, and Word’s built-in OCR may produce editable text. I’ve had success with clean single-page images, but Word can’t do anything complex like scan a book, and tends to create an unusable mix of text and images. .
How To Convert Pdf To Word On Mac For Editing
When converting scanned images to editable text, Acrobat does a decent job of creating a PDF, but it’s nowhere near the power of our Editors’ Choice winner for OCR tools, ABBYY FineReader PDF 15 ($199). FineReader’s OCR engine is more accurate than anything I’ve tried and has a unique error checking feature that works like a spell checker in a word processor, so you can correct OCR errors before exporting the result. FineReader exports the results to Word, PDF, and other formats, and the resulting files are more usable than anything I’ve found.
If you still have the original document scanned or converted to an image file, you can use a mobile scanning app with OCR to capture and extract the text.
If you need to convert a PDF to an image file, it’s much easier on a Mac than on a PC.
On a Mac, just open the PDF in Preview. Use the File > Export menu and select the image format you want and the options you want and you have your image file.
How To Convert Word To Pdf
On Windows, the best free way is to create a free Adobe account (Opens in a new window) with Adobe, then go to cloud.acrobat.com/exportpdf(Opens in a new window) . Drag a PDF into the window. Go to Convert To > Image > Image Format (JPEG, PNG, or TIFF) and use the slider to select the image quality. Multi-page PDF files can be converted to different image files. You can download a ZIP containing the image files.
If you are concerned about privacy issues and don’t want to share your data with Adobe, then you can use several image editors to export PDF to image files. My favorite is XnViewMP (Opens in new window), which is free for personal and educational use. If you open a PDF in XnViewMP, you’ll probably need to follow the instructions to install the GhostScript open source application for working with PDF and PostScript files, but you can use XnViewMP to export a PDF
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