PDF to Word: How to Convert an Adobe File to Microsoft Word DOC or DOCX
If you are already using Adobe Acrobat DC and you want to convert your PDF files into Microsoft Word DOC or DOCX for updating or editing purposes, you need only follow a few simple steps and youre done. To convert PDF to Word, just open a file in your Acrobat, click on the Export PDF tool on the right pane menu, choose Microsoft Word as your export format, and then choose Word Document. Click Export, name the Word file converted from the PDF and save it in a desired location in your computer, flash drive or cloud storage.
The Adobe Acrobat DC
The Adobe Acrobat DC, the latest upgrade to the software from the original creator and developer of the portable document file format, is still the premiere and leading brand when it comes to PDF converter tools. If your PDF contains scanned text, Acrobat will run automatically a text recognition feature that will ensure that the converted Word document is an exact replica of the original. It also has a Batch Sequence among its Output Options menu for handling large amounts of files to be converted. Now with its Adobe Document Cloud support services, you can even use your mobile devices to work, edit, combine, convert and share your PDF files.
With the new Adobe Acrobat software, you can edit and make changes directly on a PDF file by choosing the Edit Text & Images in the Content Editing tools. It also comes with Format options which allows you to edit paragraph alignment, spacing and layout. If you right-click an image, you can rotate, flip or entirely replace it with a new one. With these new features, if the changes to be introduced on the original file are minimal or minor, you may not even have to convert PDF to Word at all. After all, the basic justification for wanting to have a dedicated desktop conversion tool is that a Word document makes for easier editing. Now though, with the latest upgrade to the Adobe Acrobat software, you can edit the PDF files as if you are just using a word processor.
Of course, the most obvious downside to the top-of-the-line Adobe Acrobat product is the price. It is free to use for 30 days, but if you want to keep on using it, you'll have to buy the software. The desktop only package costs $635. A subscription-based package which includes the Acrobat for your desktop plus Acrobat mobile and Document Cloud services is also available for $14.99 a month. Another thing that may be said against the product is that it uses too much resources. If your computer operating system is relatively old, chances are it will slow down or even crash once you turn on the software. There are other more affordable, less resource-hungry alternatives to the professional-grade Adobe Acrobat DC, XI, or X which software reviewers claim work even better, faster and more efficiently than the original. These alternatives, like the professional-grade Adobe Acrobat editions, are also all free to try for a certain stated trial period. It won't cost you anything to try them out to find which one will suit your needs and budget.
Microsoft Word 2013
For those who have already upgraded to Microsoft Word 2013, they know that it now comes with a new function called PDF Reflow which allows any PDF file to be opened and edited as if it were a Word DOCX file. When you open your PDF file, you'll see a message that reads: Word will now convert your PDF to an editable Word document. This may take a while. The resulting Word document will be optimized to allow you to edit the text, so it might not look exactly like the original PDF, especially if the original file contained a lot of graphics. According to Microsoft, there may be other things in the original PDF file that won't look exactly the same in the converted Word document like tables with cell spacing, page colors and page borders, frames, tracked changes, footnotes spanning more than one page, end notes, font effects, audio, video, PDF active elements, among others.
Pros and Cons of Using a Free PDF Converter
As with most other basic computer application programs, there are software tools for converting PDF to Word that are free or open-source. Some of these may even be just as good or even better than the paid versions, depending of course on your personal criteria. But generally, here are some pros and cons on the matter.
Advantages of freeware
Clearly the single most important advantage is that you can use an open source or a freeware PDF converter without having to buy or pay for anything. You can just download and install, say UniPDF, and run it on your desktop or laptop computer to convert your portable document formatted files into editable DOC or DOCX files. Or, if youre not in too much of a hurry and you can afford to work on one file at a time, you can upload them for online conversion at Google Docs, Zamzar and similar free cloud-based services.
If its open source software, it is continually evolving and improving in real time. Software developers are working on it to find ways of getting better quality and better security. Unlike proprietary systems, the open source community has more members who can devote their time to weeding out bugs and kinks as soon as these become apparent. Since most of these open source developers are not motivated by profit, the kind of solutions they come up with tend to be more long-lasting and of wider global applicability.
Disadvantages of freeware
On the downside, since there is really no motivation to create a product that will sell and make money on the market, an open source PDF to Word converter software may tend to be less user-friendly than say an original Adobe Acrobat, or its more affordable commercial alternatives.
Usually, most free or open source software are also provided without any assurance of support. You use it at your own risk. This means that if a problem is found with the software application, the developer may or may not feel compelled to help you find a solution. Some freeware applications do not even come with a users manual or a software documentation which you can read and consult with respect to your problem. The same may be said of the free online file conversion services. You dont have anything to hold against the service provider in the event that they botch up the job you requested.
Most freeware also tend to be ad-supported to cover at least the basic cost of development. Or, they are nag-ware, constantly reminding you to donate money as a sign of your appreciation for the developers effort.
There are some products for converting PDF to Word that follows the so-called freemium business model. For instance, in a standalone desktop application, you can have and use a free version with limited functionality for as long as you want. But if you want to more capability, you can upgrade to a pro edition by paying an activation fee. The same may be said for the cloud-based file conversion facility. You use the free online service for as long as you want. But if you want premium quality service with guaranteed support and shorter waiting time, you have to pay a subscription fee.
Guide to Converting PDF to Word and Word to PDF
Basically, you may want to convert PDF to Word DOC or DOCX so that you can edit the document. Unless you have a professional-grade Adobe Acrobat IX or higher software, you can't easily make corrections or introduce changes on a PDF file directly. Once you are through with the editing, you may want to convert the revised document from Word DOC or DOCX to PDF for purposes of security, better portability and ease of storage.
PDF to Word Conversion
There are two ways of converting Adobe files to Microsoft Word DOC or DOCX files. One is by availing of online file conversion services. The other is by using an installed standalone desktop PDF converter software. In both cases, there are top-of-the-line proprietary versions, the more affordable alternative commercial versions and the freeware versions. Which one you select will depend on the volume, frequency and extent of regularity by which you have to convert and edit PDF files.
There are now several cloud-based services for for converting and editing PDF files, including Google Docs. If you have a Google account, just sign in and proceed to your Google Docs. Upload your PDF file to your Google Drive either by dragging and dropping it to the page or by clicking on the Select a file from your computer button on the menu. Once uploaded to your Google Drive, the file will be displayed on the Google Doc window. On the File button in the menu, click on the Download as option. Select Microsoft Word (docx). Wait for the PDF file to download to your computer as an editable Word document file. Of course, the downside with using most of these free cloud-based resources is that they can convert only one PDF file at a time. Often too, it takes a long time to wait for the conversion process to be completed. In the case of ZamZar, you will even have to give them your email address where they will send you the converted file later once they are ready.
If you have to process tons of large files quickly and on a fairly regular basis, you may need to install a desktop PDF to Word converter application directly on your computer. With such a dedicated app, the file conversion process can be done locally and instantly on your machine. There are many free PDF converter desktop apps that comes to mind. Of course, these freeware desktop apps arent as powerful nor sophisticated as the file conversion tools that are used by the cloud-based services, even if also free. In terms of quality, the converted files youll get from these apps will likely be a notch or so lower than those youd get from the online resources, or from the branded softwares like Adobe Acrobat and its more affordable commercial alternatives.
Word to PDF Conversion
After youre done editing, converting a Word file to PDF is fairly easy. Using Microsoft's own basic Word software application, or for that matter, any modern word processor, you can just click on either the Save as or the Export options shown in the File scroll-down menu to convert your edited DOC or DOCX document back to PDF.