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PDF to Word

Posted on 2016-08-15
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Last Modified: 2016-09-13
Hello, I was wondering if anyone knows a program that convert  pdf to
MS Word

Situation: we have a project where we need to scan 300+ pages (yes in paper) to pdf and somehow get it to Word so we can modify some of the text in those pages without having to re-type everything.

any idea?

Thanks
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Question by:mmerk2
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41756634
Can you add OCR to your scanner?  That would be much easier. If you cannot OCR and create a PDF picture, it may be a challenge to convert to Word.
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Expert Comment

by:nader alkahtani
ID: 41756635
You can use Microsoft Office Word editor  by right click on the pdf file then choose edit,  or open Microsoft Word then open pdf
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Expert Comment

by:SStory
ID: 41756640
FYI:  You can edit a PDF with Adobe Acrobat and several other programs (Fox It, NitroPDF, etc.) If you must take it to Word. The newer versions will convert from PDF to Word(they say) probably with some formatting loss I would imagine.

OCR is an option if just an image page (OmniPage software good for this), but as a PDF I think you will have better results with software.

There are also online options--that I haven't tried, like https://www.pdftoword.com/.

Be aware that if you are converting sensitive information that is protected by HIPPA or otherwise or are company trade secrets and intellectual property that certain online sites could be capturing all of the information you submit to use for their on nefarious purposes.  That would be my real concern about converting online. Be careful.
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Accepted Solution

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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 41756654
Since you're scanning from paper, you may want to consider a product that can scan directly to Word, such as Nuance's PaperPort. Here's the scanning output format selections, one of which is Word:

PaperPort scan to Word
PaperPort Standard (you don't need Professional) is just $25 at Amazon these days:
https://www.amazon.com/Nuance-Communications-PaperPort-Standard-Download/dp/B00M7DCPEM

Of course, any product that you use must perform OCR — either at scanning time or after scanning. In other words, you don't want an image-only PDF file. You want what PaperPort calls a PDF Searchable Image file, that is, a PDF with both the bitmap/raster image from scanning and text from OCR.

But if it must be conversion of PDF to Word, I've had good (not perfect) results with this free online tool:
http://www.pdftoword.com/

If you prefer a local install, I've also had good (also not perfect) results with this free tool:
http://www.boxoft.com/pdf-to-word/

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):
http://www.nuance.com/for-business/document-imaging-and-scanning/power-pdf-converter/index.htm

Another good (non-free) product is Able2Extract PDF Converter:
http://www.investintech.com/prod_downloadsa2e.htm

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:
http://www.nitropdf.com/pro/features/convert-export

But I've never used this, 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:
http://www.cadkas.com/downengpdf9.php

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.

It probably goes without saying, but Adobe Acrobat can do it — both Standard and Professional (but not Reader). As with everything, results aren't perfect.

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

http://www.convertpdftoword.org
http://www.pdfonline.com/pdf-to-word-converter
http://www.wondershare.net/pdf-converter/pdf-to-word-converter.html

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! I haven't found anything that is perfect, and results vary from one document to the next. So my suggestion is to put some, or all, of these products on your short list for evaluation. Define a few test docs – your docs! Compare the resulting Word files to see which, if any, of the tools produces Word files that are satisfactory. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:SStory
ID: 41756678
If you are scanning from paper, you will have to do OCR, period. The best product I know of for that is OmniPage, but it isn't 100% either. It depends upon what you are doing an OCR. If it is just text--pretty darn good. If it is text and graphics, probably OK. Then there are forms and such or poor quality text  or hand written text. All of these will be more difficult.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41756690
Regarding SStory's comment, note that OmniPage is also from the Nuance folks and, in fact, the OCR engine that is built into PaperPort is the OmniPage Capture SDK. OmniPage is more difficult to use than PaperPort, but its OCR features are more robust (the engine accuracy is the same). The latest release, called OmniPage Ultimate (version 19 under the covers) includes a copy of PaperPort 14 Professional. If you get PaperPort 14.0, I suggest upgrading to 14.5 and Patch 1, as described in these EE articles:
PaperPort 14 - Free Upgrade to Version 14.5
How to install the Patch 1 update for PaperPort 14.5

Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:mmerk2
ID: 41756738
Thanks so much for all the comments and suggestions.
 I will take note on the recommended tools to try - free first :) then might try with the others, to see what works better.
Already tried with the free version of pdftoword but did not work well.

Thanks again!
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41756740
You definitely need OCR (as a number of us have said) and that is not likely free. But try OCR from one of the sources above.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41756749
> Already tried with the free version of pdftoword but did not work well.

Not a big surprise. As I said, it's tough stuff and it varies from doc to doc. If you're able to post a sample PDF (being careful about private/sensitive info), I'll be happy to convert it with many tools that I have to see if anything does a decent job.

Re John's comment, there are many free OCR tools, such as the one discussed in this 5-minute EE video Micro Tutorial:
How to OCR pages in a PDF with free software

But before taking the time to discuss all of them, let us know if your scanner/scanning software is already capable of performing OCR, thereby creating so-called searchable PDF files. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Shabbir Rao
ID: 41756774
I always do it online it is good and easy.
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Expert Comment

by:SStory
ID: 41756982
Not to offend Joe Winograd, but my experience in the past with Paper Port has been a real pain. It may be better now but in the past it always seem to be a resource hog and I avoided it like the plague. Your mileage may vary and I haven't used it in years.  I haven't had any problem with OmniPage. If the information is in no-wise sensitive, there are many online solutions that will do the trick.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41757028
> Not to offend Joe Winograd

None taken. I agree that PaperPort has its challenges, as do many robust, complex pieces of software. But I've been using it successfully, day-in and day-out, for more than 20 years — ever since getting a copy of Version 3 that was bundled with an HP scanner in the 1990s. I'm currently on the latest 14.5/Patch1, which is running fine on W7, W8, and W10 — not a day goes by when I don't use it.

I've also had OmniPage for the same amount of time — a copy was bundled with the same scanner. Likewise, I am now on the latest OmniPage Ultimate (aka 19). My experience is that it has been much more of a pain to use than PaperPort, especially for the simple task of scanning directly to a PDF Searchable Image file, which is 90% of my document imaging work. However, they have fixed that in the latest OmniPage with the advent of the Launchpad:

OmniPage Launchpad
It is too Metro-like for my tastes, but it certainly removes a lot of the pain of performing simple OCR tasks/workflows in OmniPage. Regards, Joe
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by:SStory
ID: 41757117
I haven't seen this newest OmniPage. That's a shame. I hate the "Metro" look. Not everything is a tablet.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41757133
> I hate the "Metro" look. Not everything is a tablet.

Completely agree! But you don't have to use it. It is a separate shortcut in the OP program group (runs LaunchPad.exe) that simply puts the Metro-like front-end on OP. You can still use the standard OP shortcut (runs OmniPage19.exe), which provides the interface you like:

OP Ultimate standard interface
Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:mmerk2
ID: 41761366
I am trying the different solutions that have been posted, so far I found one that is fairly good, but want to give a chance to others.

Thanks all for the feedback...
I'd like to keep the answers there for a while ...
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41761391
No rush. Take your time to evaluate the alternatives, but keep us updated on your progress with an occasional post so that the question doesn't look to be abandoned. Good luck with your testing! Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:mmerk2
ID: 41761488
will do, thanks Joe
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Author Comment

by:mmerk2
ID: 41766964
Hello,  updates to my last comment...
Ive tried some of the software recommended... so far the best that have worked for me is Nitro PFD and Wondershare - pdf to word pro converter...

keep going though.
Thanks for the support...
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41766970
Thanks for the update — very helpful!
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41786175
Hi mmerk2,
This question just came to the experts as being abandoned with a request that we help to resolve it. But since you've been responsive in the relatively recent past in providing us with updates, I'm adding this comment, which will give you more time to respond. But please do give us an update soon so the question does not get caught in the "abandoned" net again. Thanks, Joe
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Author Comment

by:mmerk2
ID: 41786288
hello!
Thanks for giving me more time.... I did find two possible solutions and submitted them for approval to my supervisors  with my recommendations.... I am currently waiting for them to decide what they want to do with the project.  
The options I found worked best for us were:  Wordshare – PDF to Word Pro converter for Windows and Nitro Pro 10

I think the question can be closed for now. Thanks so much for the help.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41786300
You're welcome. Good to hear that a couple of options worked well for you. Thanks in advance for closing the question. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41795486
Hi mmerk2,
It has been a week since you said, "I think the question can be closed for now. Thanks so much for the help." So I'm wondering if perhaps you don't know that here at Experts Exchange, the person who asks the question is the one who should close it. In other words, simply saying "the question can be closed" is not going to result in the question being closed — you have to close it. If you're not familiar with how to do it, these articles explain it:

How do I accept a comment as my solution?

How do I accept multiple comments as my solution?

What grade should I award?

Regards, Joe
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Author Closing Comment

by:mmerk2
ID: 41795911
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions, it was very helpful.  I submitted my findings and still waiting for the decision to be made.
Sorry for the delay on closing the question, I've been very busy these days and did not know how to do this until now.

Have a great day.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41796104
Thanks for closing it. Good luck on the project after the decision is made. Regards, Joe
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