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How to Convert PDFs to Word Documents and Image Files



Portable Document Format (PDF) is the open standard developed by Adobe in the 1990s to display documents in a way that makes them consistent across platforms and software. DOC (or DOCX) is the format / file extension mainly used by Microsoft Office for word processing documents. The two are not nearly compatible.

The problem is that you can not open a DOC file with Adobe Reader (or any other free PDF reader like FoxIt and Sumatra). To convert PDFs to Word format – which really only means editing a PDF document in Word – the associated process is simple.

As of Word 2013 (released in 2012), Microsoft has offered a feature called PDF Reflow. It does what you expect. In Word, go to the File tab, select Open, select any PDF file, and open it for editing as if it were a Word DOCX file.

There are limitations, however. The PDF file that you open in Word contains all the content. However, it probably will not look exactly right. That's because PDFs are "fixed". While the data exists, the file does not save the relationship between the data (for example, the position on the page). Word documents refer solely to determining this placement.

Here is a list of Microsoft's exactly what can not be converted correctly:

  • Tables with cell spacing
  • Page colors and margins
  • Tracked changes
  • Frames
  • Footnotes that span more than one Extend Page
  • Endnotes
  • Active Elements for Audio, Video and PDF
  • PDF Bookmarks
  • PDF Tags
  • PDF Comments
  • Font effects such as Glow or Shadow (In the Word file the effects are represented by graphics.)

When you open a PDF file in Word, you receive the following warning:

 Converting PDFs to Word - Warning

"Word is now converting your PDF file into an editable Word document," it says. "This may take a while, and the resulting Word document will be optimized to handle the text, and it may not look exactly like the original PDF, especially if the original file contained many graphics."

The said graphics are fed; They can also be easily edited.

Saving a file from Word 201

3 to PDF is as easy as saving it as on the File tab. You should check the boxes in the Open File After Publishing dialog box to see them immediately.

The conversion also works in Word Online, which you can find in Office Online. You open a PDF file in Word Online and can view it. However, click the "Edit in Word" link and you will see the following:

 Converting PDFs to Word - File Conversion

It follows another warning about changes to the layout, etc. However, the content will be available and editable, even if the look goes awry. Try it.

That is, you can use PDFs in Word. If you do not have an older version of Microsoft Word.

Using PDF with older versions of Word

You're not lucky when trying to open a PDF directly in Word 2010 or earlier. You must first convert the file.

There are many ways to do this. Sites like Nitro's Converter easily do a one-way conversion in both directions and send you the result via email. Of course, Nitro would prefer to sell you software, which is handy if you need hundreds or thousands of PDFs to convert.

Others include: Word.net, which has similar functions; doc2pdf, the best-looking site that converts PDFs to Word and back; PDFPros Option to convert up to three PDF files in Word per month; and PDF Converter, which also converts PDF to Excel, PowerPoint or an image or vice versa. In fact, you can e-mail each attachment to pdf@freepdfconvert.com and receive a PDF.

Desktop software – the fastest way to turn a PDF document into a Word document – is not lacking in options. PDFMate or WPS Office converters are excellent options for Windows users. If you work with a Mac, there is Lighten or iPubsoft, but both have only one free trial, which is why they are not completely free.

Smallpdf sells a $ 99 Windows tool called Solid PDF Converter, which offers much more than just Word output, batch conversions, and OCR to convert scans into editable text. It also offers a service of $ 6 per month for unlimited online conversions.

 Converting PDFs to Word - FoxIt

Ultimately, however, Word makes a pretty dreadful editor for PDF files. If you are looking for a full PDF editor, you will be much better, and you will not have to pay the high cost of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

For example, FoxIt PhantomPDF costs $ 109; Qoopa's PDF Studio Standard costs $ 89; and CutePDF costs only $ 49.95. They all have free trials, so if you have serious PDF editing in your future, give it a try before choosing Word conversions.

Exporting a PDF file to JPEG or another image format

Converting a PDF file into an image file makes it much easier on a Mac than with a PC. Just open the PDF on a Mac and preview it. Use the File> Export menu to select the desired image format and options and your image file.

On Windows, it's best to create a free Adobe account and sign in to https://cloud.acrobat.com/exportpdf. Drag a PDF into the window. From the Convert To menu, choose Image, then Image Format (JPEG, PNG, or TIFF). Use the slider to select image quality. Multi-page PDFs are converted to separate image files. You can then download a ZIP file containing the image files.

If you care about privacy concerns and do not want to share your data with Adobe, you can use many image-editing programs to export PDF files to image files. Our favorite is XnViewMP (www.xnview.com), free for personal and educational use. When you open a PDF file in XnViewMP, you'll probably need to follow the instructions for installing the open source GhostScript app to work with PDF and PostScript files. You can then use XnViewMP to export a PDF file to any standard image format. Note that all fonts are converted from the scalable TrueType format to bitmap and smaller text becomes "block-y".

If you want to optimize export options, you can export all commercial PDF editors to image files. We used FineReader, Acrobat and PDF-Xchange Editor with great results. These include options for creating small files suitable for viewing on the Internet, inserting into documents, or other locations where PDFs are not supported.


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