I took part in a conversation on Twitter recently about converting files from PDF to Word without losing the formatting. In this case, it was for translation purposes but there are plenty of other circumstances where this would come in handy. Filling in forms sent as PDFs, for example (so without having to print them out and fill them in by hand).
I use Nitro Software’s PDF to Word web-based application for this. It’s free, works well and is a real time-saver.
The application is easy to use. From the PDF-to-Word website you just choose and upload the file you want to convert, select whether you want it in RTF or DOC format and type in your email address. Once the conversion’s been done, you’ll get an email with your Word file — complete with tables, charts and graphics.
Here are a couple of screenshots of the Word version of a PDF I converted recently:
You might need to tweak the document a wee bit but in my experience most of the formatting is preserved. In the example above all the text in the table is editable but that in the pie chart, and in the logos obviously, is not.
You may also have problems with speed once you start working on the file if the document is very complex and image-rich. But that’s not the fault of the file conversion (it helps if you don’t have a million browser windows open plus TweetDeck running in the background. Not that I’d ever be guilty of that). PDF to Word doesn’t work with all files — locked ones, for example.
I’m sure there are other good PDF conversion applications available — any recommendations?
By Marian Dougan