PDF to Word conversion tools

Hello Experts, I have an attorney client that wants to be able to convert PDF files into MS Word 2013 documents.  We are currently using Adobe Acrobat but the format gets jumbled in the process.

Any recommendations on how to take a 75 page PDF document and to have a high accuracy with formatting, etc..?  Remember these are legal documents so some documents have some odd type face with court documents, etc.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
For PDF to Word, I've had good (not perfect) results with this free online tool:

If you prefer a local install, I've also had good (also not perfect) results with this free tool:

You may get better results with non-free products. I've gotten better (but still not perfect) results with Nuance's Power PDF (comes in both Standard and Advanced editions):

There's a free trial for the Advanced edition (but not Standard) so you can see how well it works for you before buying it:

Another good (non-free) product is Able2Extract PDF Converter:

It also offers a free trial.

The first link in this post is to the (free) Nitro cloud. Nitro is a well-known name in PDF tools and their Nitro Pro has a PDF to Word feature:

There's also a free trial for this, but I've never used it, so can't vouch for its performance. However, it uses the same engine as the online tool, which I have used and is very good, so I would expect the same of Nitro Pro.

One more non-free product (but reasonably priced at $39) is CAD-KAS's PDF to Word:

I haven't used this product, but I have used their PDF Editor Objects, which is excellent. Based on the quality of PDF Editor Objects, I think that their PDF to Word is worth a try, and there's a free trial:

I've been on previous threads here at EE where other experts have recommended these three (free) online tools:


I can't personally vouch for these, but based on the positive comments from other members, I'm passing them along for your consideration.

No matter which way you go, keep in mind that PDF-to-Word conversion is tricky business – maintaining the formatting/layout is tough stuff, as you've discovered in trying to do it with Adobe Acrobat. My experience with some other products is that they're better at maintaining the formatting than Acrobat is, but none is perfect. It is possible that your attorney client will not be happy with the results from any product on converting "a 75 page PDF document and to have a high accuracy with formatting, etc."

Regards, Joe
Richard DanekeTrainerCommented:
I would recommend the Nuance PDF Pro converter as a package.  Also, for legal, the Dragon voice-to-text for legal departments.

Many overlook that Office 2013 will convert PDF to Word on open.  I would try that option to see how well this no extra cost solution works first.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi Richard,

A quick note to let you know that Nuance has deprecated all editions of PDF Converter. The replacement for PDF Converter is Power PDF Standard; the replacement for PDF Converter Pro is Power PDF Advanced. It's possible, of course, to find old stock of PDF Converter and PDF Converter Pro in distribution, but for a new purchase at this point in time, Power PDF Standard/Advanced is the way to go.

Also, that's an excellent point about Word 2013 (and earlier versions) opening a PDF and converting it to Word format. OpenOffice and LibreOffice can also do it (both are open source and free). As with everything else, all three products are not perfect at maintaining formatting. Regards, Joe
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Leslie BloomCorporate & Product Marketing ManagerCommented:
Online OCR is a free web-based tool that can do this for you - http://www.onlineocr.net/

It's very straightforward and no download needed.
tucktechAuthor Commented:
Just tried the nuance tool as suggested.  It looked good to me even on a document that was scanned and was a little skewed.  The only thing that looked off to me was that it did not number the pages as it did in the original.. not bad.  Sent it to the client for review.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
That's good news — thanks for the update! I've been very happy with Power PDF Advanced.

In fact, since your client is an attorney, he/she may be interested in a couple of features about which I've published EE Micro Tutorial 5-minute videos:

Bates Stamping/Numbering of PDF Files with Power PDF Advanced

Convert Scanned Image-Only PDF Files to PDF Searchable Image Files via OCR with Power PDF Advanced

Many attorneys require a Bates Stamping/Numbering function for their PDF Files. They also like to create searchable text in scanned PDFs so that they may be searched for content.

In addition, Power PDF Advanced may be used to convert image-only PDF and TIFF files into PDF searchable files via a command line interface, which you could leverage for your attorney client. I discuss it in this EE article:

Batch Conversion of PDF, TIFF, and Other Image Formats via Command Line Interface to PDF, PDF Searchable, and TIFF

Regards, Joe

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tucktechAuthor Commented:
Nuance or Adobe appears to be the best way to go.  I did plenty of testing but the client (lawyer) has not come to any conclusions.  I think the nuance actually saves the format better from my tests.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Thanks for the update. If your client eventually goes with Nuance's Power PDF, I'm curious to hear his opinion of it. Please post back here with his feedback, if you don't mind. Thanks much, Joe
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