How To Convert PDF To Word

icons depicting PDF to Word conversion

How To Convert PDF To Word

PDF files are popular and supported on nearly all platforms. As high-fidelity documents, PDFs look the same regardless of the device, you view them on. Think of them as attractively designed digital prints for sharing non-editable documents, such as digital manuals, sales invoices, and manuscripts

Since they’re used for sharing non-editable documents, PDFs are almost impossible to edit without the proper software, like Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. So, the best possible approach to editing a PDF document is to convert it to a Microsoft Office Word document and edit it directly in the Microsoft Word program.

In this guide, we’ll show you different ways of converting PDF documents into Word documents.

For starters, we’ll cover the four basic methods of converting PDF to Word:

  • How To Convert a PDF to Word Using Microsoft Word
  • How To Convert a PDF to Word Using Google Docs
  • How To Convert a PDF to Word Using Adobe Acrobat
  • How To Convert a PDF to Word Using Web Apps

1.   Convert a PDF to Word Using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is one of the best options for converting PDF to Word (and back), as you’ll probably be working with the file in Word afterward. Worth mentioning is that the original formatting doesn’t always line up, so expect discrepancies in the text body. Fortunately, the program has numerous Word formatting tools to rectify any text distortions. Here’s how to get started:

The Open menu in Microsoft Word.
Open your PDF in Microsoft Word.


  1. Launch Word, and click Open listed on the left-hand pane.
  2. Microsoft Word will offer several file locations like OneDrive, This PC, or Browse, listed under Personal and Other headers.
  3. Click on the appropriate file location to locate the file. This PC and OneDrive options can be explored from Microsoft Word directly. The Browse option opens a file explorer window that lets you locate the file more easily.
  4. Once you’ve located the PDF you want to convert, click to open it like a regular Word document. The program will notify you that it is about to convert the PDF into an editable Word document — Click OK to confirm. Depending on the size and complexity of the PDF file, the conversion process may take some time.
  5. Once completed, Word will automatically open the converted document. The best possible approach is to save the converted document for later editing by clicking on File in the upper left corner and selecting the Save/Save as option.
The convert popup notification in Microsoft Word.
Click OK to convert the PDF to a Word document.


Once you’re done, check the formatting to ensure texts and graphics are in place. Make the necessary edits within the document and save the changes.

If your work requires you to submit the edited document as a PDF, Microsoft Word has the option to save the Word file as a PDF. Just click File in the upper left corner, and select Save a Copy/Save as. Choose the file type — in this case, PDF — from the Save as type drop-down menu.  

Additionally, you can press CTRL+P on your keyboard to enter Print mode. On the left-hand pane, select Microsoft Print to PDF from the drop-down menu under Printer, and click Print. The program will then ask you for a file save location instead of printing a document.

Converting a PDF to a Word document using Microsoft Word is extremely easy. Check out this video from Kevin Stratvert to see how to convert a PDF in Microsoft Word on desktop and on smartphones.

2.   Convert a PDF to Word Using Google Docs

If you don’t have Microsoft Word, using Google Docs is a good alternative for opening Word documents and converting PDF files into Word document format. To convert a PDF to Word using Google Docs, do the following:

The Google Doc home page.
Open Google Doc and click on the File icon.


  1. Open Google Docs in your web browser. You might have to log into your Gmail account to do so or make an account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Click the Open file icon (shaped like a folder) in the top right section of the page. Alternatively, you can start the new document and import the PDF by selecting File > Open.
  3. In the Open a file window, select the Upload tab and click Browse to open the PDF document. Alternatively, you can drag & drop the file into the Open a file window.
  4. Once you’ve selected the file, the PDF will open in the browser, but it’s actually opened on Google Drive. At the top of the document, you’ll see the Open with drop menu — click it and select Google Docs.
  5. When the PDF appears in Google Docs, just click File in the upper left corner, then Download, and then select Microsoft Word (.docx). The file should now download into your specified Downloads folder or any other folder specified for such action.
The File menu opened in Google Docs.
Click on File > Download > Microsoft Word (.docx).


While entirely free, this method isn’t without its drawbacks. Google Docs can’t convert images from PDF documents, which means that all of the images would be lost during the conversion to Word.

For a visual walk-through of how to convert a PDF to Word using Google Docs, watch this quick video from Techie Trickle.

3.   How To Convert a PDF to Word Using Adobe Acrobat

Using Acrobat is perhaps the best way to convert a PDF to Word and ensure that the document’s formatting remains as accurate as possible. Adobe invented the PDF file format. However, you’ll need to use Adobe Acrobat Pro, paid software. Luckily, Adobe offers a seven-day trial which you can take advantage of for a one-time conversion.

The trial is designed to prevent users from signing up for it repeatedly, so if you need to make conversions regularly or even daily, consider paying for the full version of Adobe Acrobat Pro. It costs $20 a month with an annual commitment — and it’s even billed annually. The non-Pro version of Adobe Acrobat costs less than $15, but it can’t convert PDFs. With that said, if you want to convert a PDF to Word, do the following:

  1. Start Adobe Acrobat Pro, and open the PDF file that you want to be converted into a Word document by clicking on File > Open. Navigate to the PDF file, or drag & drop the file into the Acrobat window.
  2. Click the Export PDF option on the Tools panel on the right-hand side.
  3. Once the Export PDF window opens, select Microsoft Word (*.docx) file type from the Convert To drop-down menu.  
  4. Click Export to Word. Once the export is complete, click the Export Files icon, select the file you just created, and save it to the desired location on your computer.
Adobe Acrobat with the Content Editing menu open.
Click on “Export file to” in the Content Editing menu.


Please note that Acrobat will automatically run text recognition for any text during the conversion process, and for most legible text, this is an ideal solution. However, this might imply some formatting once the conversion process has concluded.

4.   How To Convert a PDF to Word Using Web Apps

If paying for software like Acrobat Pro or Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) isn’t something you’d like to do, you can use one of several web-based apps for converting a PDF to Word. This requires that you upload the files and choose the appropriate conversion process and end-file type since these converters usually work with several file formats.

Most of the tools are web-based freemiums, and the quality of text recognition might be at par with the previously described methods. Check out your other options for converting a PDF to Word online:


LightPDF is among the best online document converters. It’s free, user-friendly, and lets you convert PDFs to Word files, and other formats, including TXT. You need to sign up to use LightPDF, but doing so is beneficial as the service offers file storage options. Once you convert a document, you can store it instead of deleting it.

Nitro PDF to Word

Nitro PDF to Word is actually a full-fledged software solution for creating, editing and converting PDFs. Interestingly, the program has text recognition, allowing you to convert document scans into searchable, editable PDF files. PDF to Word conversions is free.

FormSwift PDF Editor

The FormSwift PDF Editor is among the most straightforward tools for PDF-to-Word file conversion. It allows you to convert a PDF to Word file and export it or edit the PDF without exporting the file. Their premium software has a trial period. So, you can sign up and use it for a limited time.


Just like all great web apps, Smallpdf is fast, simple, and above all, free. The service allows you to upload your PDFs and export them directly to your Cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive. It also protects your privacy by implementing automatic deletions within one hour following a successful upload. The only downside to this service is that you only get two free conversions per day.

WorkinTool PDF Converter Online

WorkinTool is another free conversion tool on the web. You can use it to convert PDF to Word online. No login is required to use the tool. Select the files, upload them, and the service will convert them for you.

What to Read Next

Check out these articles:

How To Convert PDF To Word FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What does the PDF mean?

PDF is an abbreviation of the Portable Document Format — a versatile file format that allows people a straightforward way of presenting and exchanging documents.

Did Adobe invent the PDF?

Yes, Adobe Systems introduced the PDF in January 1993, and it remained a proprietary format until it was released as an open standard in 2008.

Can I convert PDF to Word on my phone?

Yes, uploading the PDF to Google Drive and downloading it as a Word document is the quickest way to convert a PDF to Word on a smartphone.

Is there a way to open a PDF in Word?

Yes, Microsoft Word will automatically convert the PDF document into Word and open it for reading and editing.

Can you convert a PDF without Adobe?

Yes, you can convert a PDF to Word without using Adobe. Simply use any other method described on our list.

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