How Do I Convert PDF to WORD – A Need-to-Know in 5 Steps

How Do I Convert PDF to WORD? Do you often make use of PDF files? Do you often find them ‘user-unfriendly’? We’ll introduce you to need-to-know PDF to WORD conversion in 5 simple steps.

How Do I Convert PDF to WORD – Our Expertise for Your Benefit

The below summary should serve you well, when you are a conversion beginner. However, if you need more detailed guidance, we encourage you to get accustomed with part 2 and 3 (coming soon) of our PDF-to-WORD mini guide.


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In part 2:

  • we will illustrate for you the basic actions you need to take to make the conversion work;
  • plus, you’ll see how we do conversion for business purposes at Slavis Translation Agency.

In part 3:

  • will give you extensive outline of how to professionally translate a PDF file.

Interested? Then let’s begin with your tutorial.

Step 1: Understand the Format

PDF, that is Adobe Systems’ Portable Document Format, is a file format created and used for presenting, transferring and printing texts and graphics. Its core purpose is to enable users to retain the full look, layout and formatting of the created documents. PDF provides also for more advanced functionalities, like commenting, bookmarking, hyper-linking, encrypting, password-securing, as well as content and document restrictions and digital rights management.

Despite the format is very popular (PDF files may be created from virtually any texts and graphics) and practically every user is familiar with it at least on a basic level, it is not free from a number of drawbacks. Among others, there are two core usability issues. First—PDF files feature trouble with free usage of advanced functionalities. And second—copying and/or conversion of PDF into WORD doc or other text format is nothing short of troublesome.

Step 2: Define the Purpose

The issues with conversion are what we here at Slavis want to guide you through. For as far as creation or printing of PDF files is quite a piece of cake, the other way round conversion sometimes poses a good deal of trouble.

PDF is a widespread format, for which a vast number of free and commercial PDF creators and tools for printing PDF files is available. Some of the tools are free (open source) and very simple GhostScript printers, some—on the other hand—are complex commercial pieces of PDF management software. Some are standalone renditions, and some are incorporated within larger software tools and bundles.

Answering the question How Do I Convert PDF to WORD, you need to consider the purpose of your document. If it is to be shared, printed or presented (but not edited), you’d better stick to PDF and skip converting. Because PDF will secure you better for the mentioned purposes. However, if you need to do some extensive modifications, edit the document, change its layout or maybe translate it, and you lack the original source file—conversion is the solution for you.

Step 3: Identify the Type

Usually, when you are in need of converting PDF to WORD, you need to convert a text document. Taking this into account you should remember that texts printed into PDF may have, from the very beginning, editable or uneditable format. The problem stems from the fact that text PDF files may be created from, for example: WORD documents or scans/photos. Both, one way or another, are text PDF files. But given their type, you have to assume different approach.

You choose different methods when you need to convert PDF containing editable content, or in other words, a text that you may simply copy & paste if needed. And you require different set of solutions when you need to work with a text PDF that does not allow for direct copy & paste.

Step 4: My Answer to How Do I Convert PDF to WORD Issue

Below you will find an in-a-flash summary of methods that will give you an answer to the question of how do I convert PDF to WORD doc.

(1) Typing

Self-explicit and working well only if you are skilled in typewriting and the text you need to ‘convert’ (or in this case type) is short. Any benefits? It matters not whether the PDF was created from an editable text format or not.

(2) Copy & Paste

Works well only in case of editable (or in other words ‘copyable’) text PDF files and/or those which are short. Cons? It will not do you good with uneditable or lengthy contents.

(3) Office Word

The latest renditions of MS Office allow for direct opening and instant conversion of PDF files created from WORD docs. Thus, no wonder, you’ll probably have problems with PDF files created on the basis of other formats.

(4) Adobe Acrobat

Dedicated Adobe Systems’ tool for creating PDF files may be also used for converting PDF to WORD doc. Though it is not as effective in converting, as it is in creating.

(5) Online Conversion Tools

A variety of more or less advanced PDF to WORD conversion utilities, that allow for direct online converting. Either free, or commercial. And rather forget about converting complex formats or uneditable contents with this method.

(6) Google Docs

One of Google’s user-dedicated cloud services that features, among others, an option to open PDF files and download them as WORD docs.

(7) PDF to WORD Converters

A set of open source or commercial converter software, downloadable and installable, allowing for converting PDF files locally on your computer.

(8) OCR Tools

The most advanced of the available solutions. And a method that supplies you with a whole set of tools to recognise, re-create, and convert text PDF content—no matter if it is editable or not.

Step 5: Deal with the Result

When you turn to PDF conversion you should always remember that there is no tool, no way, nor solution that will supply you with a flawlessly converted doc. No matter the method you employ, you will most likely end with a content that will be in need of format/layout corrections, or at least some spacing/line breaking touch-ups.

But this is a slightly different story that we will deal with in part 3 of our mini guide. Stay tuned.

Autor: Michal Wiewior

CEO in Slavis Technical Translations, Sworny - Certified Translations

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