How to Convert a PDF to a Microsoft Word Document

PDFs are often used when distributing documents so that they’re seen the same way by all parties. Because they’re designed in this way, they can be quite difficult to edit. You may want to convert your PDF to a Word document so that you can make changes to your text more easily.

Convert a PDF to a Word Document Using Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC

Adobe’s own Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader DC both offer an easy way to convert PDF files to Word documents. The bad news is that it ain’t free.

The full Acrobat DC has a standard version (Windows only) that runs $12.99 per month and a pro version (Windows and Mac) that runs $14.99 per month. And both require an annual commitment. Pretty overkill if all you need to do is convert a PDF to Word format once in a while. But if you already have Acrobat DC, then you should use that convert your PDFs.

Acrobat Reader DC, on the other hand is free, but you’ll need to pony up a $1.99 per month fee if you want it to be able to convert PDFs to other formats, like Word. If it’s something you need to do regularly, that fee is probably worth it because using Acrobat is the most reliable way to change your PDFs to Word documents, since it tends to maintain formatting pretty well.

We’re going to look at using the full Acrobat DC to make the conversion in our example here. If you’re using Acrobat Reader DC, the process is pretty much the same. You just won’t have quite as many formats to which you can convert. Both support Word, though.

First, open up the PDF in Acrobat. Over on the right side of the window, click the “Export PDF” command.

Next, select the “Microsoft Word” option on the left. On the right, selecting “Word Document” converts the PDF to a modern Word document in the DOCX format. Selecting “Word 97-2003 Document” converts the PDF to the older DOC format.

When you’ve made your choice, click the “Export” button.

On the next screen, choose where you want to save your new Word document.

Type a name for the document, and then click the “Save” button.

Your PDF is now saved as a Word document, so pop it open in Word and get to editing.

Convert a PDF to a Word Document Using Microsoft Word

You can also convert your PDF to a Word document using just Microsoft Word. Converting in Word often leads to style and formatting issues, so it’s not always the most reliable method. However, it certainly works well enough for simple documents or when you just need to get stuff into an editable format.

Click “File” on the Word ribbon.

In the sidebar that opens, click the “Open” button.

On the Open page, browse to wherever your PDF is stored (This PC, OneDrive, whatever).

Locate and select your PDF, and then click the “Open” button.

A warning pop ups, indicating that your new document may lose some of the formatting it had as a PDF. Don’t worry. Your original PDF will remain intact; this is just letting you know that the new Word document you’re creating from the PDF might not look exactly the same. Click the “OK” button.

Word converts the PDF and opens up your new Word document right away.

Convert a PDF to a Word Document Using Google Docs

Google Docs provides another safe and reliable way to convert your PDF to a Word document. It’s a two-step process where you first convert the file to a Google Docs document, and then convert it to a Word document—so you’ll probably lose some formatting along the way. If you have Word, you’re really better off just doing it in Word. But, this method can be useful if you don’t have Word, but need to convert a PDF to a Word document you plan to send along to someone else.

Open up your Google Drive, and then click the “New” button.

Click the “File Upload” option.

Locate your PDF file, and then click the “Open” button.

Your new file will now appear in your Google Drive.

Next, right click your file in Google Drive, click the “Open With” menu, and then click the “Google Docs” option.

Your file is now open as a Google Doc document.

Now, click the “File” menu.

Click the “Download As” menu, and then click the “Word Document (.docx)” option.

Your Google Docs file will be converted to Word format and downloaded to your local PC as a Word document.

Hayley Milliman is a technology writer and wannabe programmer. She spends most of her family reunions setting up people’s devices.