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*Best* PDF to Word Convertor

Posted on 2016-08-19
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Last Modified: 2016-08-22
I need to recommend a PDF to Word convertor to a client, but I've received mixed results from some of the ones I've used.

What, in your experience, has produced the best conversion results?  I'm thinking of applications like Adobe Acrobat / NitroPDF.

In my experience a lot of the convertors place a lot of the text in text boxes which isn't good.  I don't mind the odd missed / misinterpreted character though...

I understand the end result will also rely heavily on the PDF to begin with.
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Question by:Mdlinnett
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by:xtermie
xtermie earned 100 total points
ID: 41762159
The new Office 2016, Word 2016 itself can open PDFs now (it will do the conversion itself)
Could give it a try.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 400 total points
ID: 41762716
For 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

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:
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), and Word can do it (so can the free OpenOffice and LibreOffice). As with everything, results aren't perfect in any of them.

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

Update: I just noticed your comment about "the odd missed / misinterpreted character". That implies that you may be dealing with an image-only PDF, that is, a PDF which is just a raster image/bitmap and doesn't have text in it. If that's the case, you need first to OCR the PDF before it makes any sense to convert it to Word. Otherwise, you'll have just a graphic/photo/picture in Word. You need to create text via OCR in order to have text in Word. Such a PDF is often called a PDF Searchable Image file, as it has the image from scanning and the searchable text from OCR. Here are some EE articles and videos discussing it:
How to OCR pages in a PDF with free software
PaperPort - How To Create Searchable PDF Files
Batch Conversion of PDF, TIFF, and Other Image Formats via Command Line Interface to PDF, PDF Searchable, and TIFF
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Author Comment

by:Mdlinnett
ID: 41764904
Thank you both for your replies, I'd forgotten about MS Word being able to convert PDFs.

Joe - your response is exactly the comprehensive response I was after, and then some!  Thank you very much for your time.  I'll get testing based on your recommendations and go from there.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 41765340
You're welcome, Mdlinnett. And thanks to you for the kind words — I appreciate hearing them. Good luck with your conversion efforts. Cheers, Joe
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