Converting a PDF into a Word Document

Question: Is it possible to convert a PDF into a Word document? I want to be able to edit the document.

Answer: Provided that the PDF is not password protected to stop you from being able to copy the contents (see Protecting Your Images and Text with Acrobat), you can easily copy the text from the PDF using Select All from the Edit menu in Acrobat or Acrobat Reader followed by Copy from the Edit menu. This copies all of the text from the current page of the PDF into the clipboard. If you only want some of the text, select the text tool and then drag the mouse across the text that you want to select before doing the copy. Alternatively, if you want all of the text in all of the pages of the PDF then all you need to do is to select Copy File to Clipboard from the Edit menu.

Next from within Word (or any other word processor or desktop publishing program for that matter) select paste from the edit menu to copy the text from the clipboard into your word processor.

Unfortunately, this method does not copy the images and also some of the formatting may be lost. You will have to reapply any missing formatting in order to get the text portion of the document looking like the original. Extracting graphics from the PDF is much harder as Acrobat appears to have no method of selecting any images on the page in order to copy them to the clipboard. Your best option in this instance is to use a program that can take screen images (eg. Paintshop Pro) to extract the images from the document into separate graphics files that you can them place into your new copy of the document by going into the Insert menu and selecting Picture and then from file and specifying the file name that you extracted the graphic into.

If the PDF is password protected then you will not be able to copy the text to the clipboard unless you know the password and have a copy of the full version of Acrobat (not just the free Reader) to be able to save a copy of the PDF with the password removed.


Reminder: Please remember to respect the rights of the author of the original document and do not use the method described above to copy the content of any document without the permission of the copyright holder.
Felgall Pty Ltd has supplied this information in order that it may be used to extract the content of PDF files where you have a legitimate reason and permission to do so. We accept no responsibility for any misuse of the information provided.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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