In case you are questioning whether or not you are able to do good PDF to Word (DOC, DOCX, or RTF) conversion for free, the reply is: Completely. This posting will current and examine a variety of alternative ways to do that, for free, with none watermarks or restrictions.
That is our fourth replace of this text, which we consider to be the perfect important overview of TRULY free PDF to Word instruments on the web. With every replace, a slew of instruments are added and a variety of the previous ones eliminated, both as a result of they not supply a FREE service, or as a result of they have been outmoded by newer instruments which might be merely higher high quality. Final up to date: Oct seventh 2013.
There are two sorts of instruments obtainable to customers: free desktop packages that may convert PDF to Word, and free on-line conversion providers. Observe that our focus on this article might be on these providers that provide the very best high quality. In making this text we examined greater than thirty instruments, of which we determined to embrace sixteen totally different instruments right here; 5 desktop-based apps and 11 on-line conversion providers.
Right here’s fast desk of contents (click on any hyperlink to bounce to that part):
- 1 The record of free PDF to Word instruments:
- 2 Essential points and questions to tackle:
- 3 General Comparison: which device(s) are the perfect:
- 4 Eliminated/excluded providers:
- 5 1. An inventory of the free PDF-to-Word conversion instruments mentioned on this article
- 6 2. Necessary points and questions to handle
- 7 three. General Comparison: which software(s) are the perfect
- 8 three.1 The Verdict
- 9 three.2 Textual content Dealing with
- 10 three.three Picture Dealing with
- 11 three.Four Desk Dealing with
- 12 three.5 Reliability and most file sizes
- 13 three.6 OCR Help
- 14 Four. Eliminated/Excluded Providers
The record of free PDF to Word instruments:
Desktop apps and on-line providers each.
Essential points and questions to tackle:
E.g will I find a way to edit the ensuing doc?, what’s the distinction between desktop and on-line instruments?, and so forth.
General Comparison: which device(s) are the perfect:
An general comparison desk and verdict part, but in addition we current extra in-depth comparisons damaged down into the next sub-criteria Textual content Dealing with | Picture Dealing with | Desk Dealing with | Reliability and most file sizes | and OCR help.
These instruments have been faraway from earlier variations of this text or have been too low high quality to make the reduce.
1. An inventory of the free PDF-to-Word conversion instruments mentioned on this article
We’ll examine 16 instruments, 5 desktop apps and 11 on-line conversion providers. You’ll be able to see a complete comparison of those in our ‘Overall Comparison’ desk. Or go to the Verdict part which ranks all of the instruments and hyperlinks out to an summary web page for every (together with sections for particular person strengths/weaknesses and obtain hyperlinks).
(Home windows; Mac; Linux)
(Home windows; Mac; Linux)
2. Necessary points and questions to handle
Earlier than I transfer on to the comparison part, some questions that I’m regularly requested about.
What codecs can I convert to? Any of the next: .DOC, .DOCX, or .RTF; which is to say something that MS Word can learn (you’ll be able to subsequently save to no matter format you want).
Do all instruments talked about on this article convert to certainly one of these codecs? No. We figured the purpose was to permit you to edit your PDF, and actually two of the instruments right here (LibreOffice and OpenOffice) don’t convert your PDF in any respect. The rationale we included them is that they may allow you to open a PDF (within the ‘drawing’ element of the suite and never the phrase processor) and edit then reserve it instantly, which for many individuals may be sufficient and even preferable to changing to a Word format.
Are the instruments talked about actually free? Sure. All of those are free. A few of them are free variations of extra souped up merchandise which might be paid, however they need to have the opportunity to ship the PDF to Word conversion performance (with out restrictions, trial durations, or watermarks) so as to be included on this article.
Please Word: it’s potential that the free model of a number of instruments might have been eliminated by the builders subsequent to the final replace of this text, by which case please tell us so we will take away it.
Are free instruments nearly as good as paid instruments? This website is known as ‘Freewaregenius’ and we solely take a look at free packages and instruments, so we don’t understand how properly paid instruments fare in comparison. However we’re adamant which you could get a superb PDF to Word conversion utilizing all free instruments (particularly those that got here out most extremely rating in our comparison).
On-line vs. desktop converters: desktop based mostly converters are packages you put in in your machine and that carry out the conversion regionally and immediately. On-line instruments are net providers which you can add your file to after which obtain the outcome (or get it by e-mail).
Some great benefits of utilizing a desktop app contain NOT having to add your file and wait. Importing very giant information may be very inconvenient in case your information are giant or when you’ve got many information to convert. Desktop apps are extra handy for batch conversions and are extra simple to use.
One the opposite hand, it’s usually the case that free on-line conversion providers are extra refined than free desktop converters and should supply a greater high quality conversion, though relying in your doc which will or is probably not the case. Two points which have to be thought-about with on-line conversions are reliability and safety: how lengthy will it take to get my transformed doc? Whereas most on-line providers will ship your transformed doc inside a matter of minutes, it’s typically the case that your file will arrive hours and even days afterwards. As for the latter concern (safety), nearly all the on-line providers talked about right here promise that your information might be transferred by way of a safe connection, that your doc won’t be checked out by a human, and that your e-mail won’t be used or shared with some other get together. Nonetheless, it’s up to you to determine whether or not you’re snug importing some personal or enterprise paperwork over the web to a distant server for conversion.
If you already know for positive that you really want a desktop-based converter and don’t need to add information on-line, then we advocate that you simply use UniPDF, which is the most effective desktop-based software talked about on this article.
Will the doc be editable as soon as it’s transformed?: sometimes, sure; nevertheless the actual reply is it depends upon your unique doc and the way it was created. Usually talking it is possible for you to to edit any transformed PDF that was created electronically and revealed utilizing software program, which includes the overwhelming majority of types and paperwork which are on the web. The exception is that if your PDF was scanned from a paper doc; on this case most converters will contemplate this to be no totally different from a photograph, and when changing will produce photographs inside a .DOC file moderately than textual content. What you want on this case is “Optical Character Recognition” (OCR) software program, or a converter than can do OCR (two choices talked about on this article can do OCR; NuancePDF and Convert.information, each on-line converters); in any other case you’ll be able to take a look at our record of free OCR instruments. These packages can “read” photographs and convert them to textual content, however for paperwork with a giant variety of pages it may be considerably labor intensive to get a good conversion.
Will any of those convert particular characters, mathematical notation, and so forth.: many will, however with numerous levels of accuracy. Some instruments are clever sufficient to deal with the inverted left-to-right course concerned in scripts comparable to Arabic or Hebrew and the render ‘connected’ letters somewhat than separate ones as applicable, whereas others usually are not. Whereas we have now a column in our comparison desk that provides you some concept about particular character help, we aren’t specialists on this and on the finish of the day you’ll have to attempt them out for your self.
Changing to photographs: in case you are concerned with changing your PDF to pictures you then’re within the incorrect place. For this you’ll be able to attempt the the superb free PDF reader referred to as PDF X-Change Viewer which has an export to photographs choice.
Paperwork used within the PDF-to-Word conversion exams: we transformed a dozen totally different paperwork meant to check numerous elements (e.g. very giant paperwork, types with a lot of tables, a scanned PDF to check for OCR, a commerce brochure sort doc with columns and pictures, and so forth.) An earlier incarnation of this text listed all the paperwork utilized in a desk, however we eliminated this to make the article smaller.
three. General Comparison: which software(s) are the perfect
It relies upon enormously on what you need it to do and in your unique PDF. We’ll price the conversion instruments based mostly on the next:
- Conversion high quality: particularly, their dealing with of Textual content, Photographs, and Tables within the transformed doc
- Different options: that are Reliability (a.okay.a can I get a respectable wanting conversion shortly with out leaping via too many hoops), OCR (optical character recognition) help, and max file measurement help for every software.
The next desk presents an general comparison/abstract. We’ll use a easy Four-point score system ( A / B / C and D ) the place ‘A’ is greatest and ‘D’ is worst. We may also colour co-ordinate outcomes in order that you might learn evaluations at a look (inexperienced/orange/purple as proven). The ultimate (general) rating column will include three extra values ( A+ , B+ , and C+ ), so as to make finer distinctions).
sluggish to load “Optical Character Recognition”
sluggish to load “Optical Character Recognition”
pages per file
three.1 The Verdict
Finally, there are three tiers of instruments: these which are wonderful/extremely beneficial, these which might be good, and people who we do NOT advocate. Please word that we quantity the instruments under (1 via 16) based mostly on our choice, with the instruments we like greatest on prime.
Tier 1 PDF to Word conversion instruments: these are extremely really helpful
- UniPDF ( A+ ): Desktop software (Home windows). That is the most effective desktop-based converter, is technically wonderful, and would be the most popular device for most readers (until they don’t seem to be Home windows customers, or until they require OCR help, which it doesn’t help).
- ConvertOnlineFree.com ( A+ ): On-line software. Could also be the most effective general conversion device (esp. with help for giant information up to 30 gigs). We advocate we use this one in case you don’t thoughts a web-based software, until you want OCR help, which it lacks.
- NuancePDF ( A+ ): On-line software, with a required desktop element. Not simply wonderful all-around conversion, however gives OCR help to boot (and one of the best OCR out of the 2 instruments talked about right here which have it). Word: OCR help is uncommon in a free converter and makes me place this excessive up the ranlings.
- Convert.Information ( A+ ): On-line software. Combines wonderful all-around conversion with OCR help. Word: OCR help is uncommon in a free converter and makes me place this excessive up the ranlings.
- PDFOnline.com ( A ): On-line device. A superb PDF to Word converter. No OCR help. Might have been higher with out the two MB max file measurement restriction.
- EasyPDF Cloud ( A ): On-line device. Actually, a rebranded model of PDFOnline.com (above) with the identical execs and cons.
- Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft ( B ): Desktop software (Home windows). Makes it into our tier 1 record of instruments as a result of it’s the second greatest FREE desktop based mostly converter, and since good desktop converters are a little bit of a rarity. We additionally assume that some individuals wouldn’t need an internet converter it doesn’t matter what. It does a very respectable job and is a wonderful common use choice.
- PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF ( A ): On-line software. An excellent converter that may ship. Is available in at this slot solely as a result of it trails barely behind those larger up.
Tier 2 PDF to Word conversion instruments: good instruments
- Pdfconverter.com ( B+ ): On-line software. One other wonderful converter, though as a result of it trails barely behind those above it turns into considerably of a ‘me too’ software in a crowded subject..
- Pdfburger ( B+ ): On-line device. A really competent and good high quality converter which permits importing of information bigger than 10 MB. Additionally trails barely behind those greater on this record, and in addition is sort of a ‘me too’ device in a crowded class..
- OpenOffice with PDF import extension ( C+ ): Desktop device. Doesn’t convert to Word format, however will allow you to open, edit and save your PDF immediately. Appropriate for making small edits on small information.
- LibreOffice ( C+ ): Desktop software. LibreOffice is predicated on OpenOffice and like that one it doesn’t convert to Word format, however will allow you to open, edit and save your PDF instantly. Appropriate for making small edits on small information.
Tier three PDF to Word conversion instruments: NOT really helpful
- PDFMate Converter Free ( C ): Desktop device. That is a new entrant which I added to this text lately. I had excessive hopes that it might be a actually good desktop converter as a result of I needed extra of these (provided that there are such a lot of good on-line converters). Alas, it wasn’t.
- Zamzar ( C ): On-line software. Though it’s PDF to Word conversion seems to be respectable at first look, technically it is among the weakest on-line instruments right here and cuts a lot of corners.
- Fileminx ( C ): On-line device. One of many weakest on-line instruments in a subject that has some actually good performers, lands this a tier three rating.
- ConvertPDFtoWord.internet ( C ): On-line software. Will get my nomination for the weakest on-line PDF to Word conversion device.
three.2 Textual content Dealing with
There are a number of elements that have an effect on textual content dealing with, however I’ll say this: all of those instruments will convert textual content kind of satisfactorily for most PDFs. There are some paperwork the place for some purpose or one other textual content accuracy can be variable throughout the totally different instruments, however these are comparatively uncommon.
We consider/examine at textual content dealing with throughout the next elements: Textual content Circulate (i.e. how straightforward it’s to edit or work with the ensuing textual content), Textual content Accuracy (will there be a trustworthy conversion?, or will the ensuing textual content be glitchy), help for particular characters (which will probably be essential for some), and whether or not the transformed doc will retain hyperlinks which will exist within the unique PDF.
Much less Correct
(textual content packing containers) however textual content selectable nonetheless
(textual content bins)
(textual content packing containers)
(textual content packing containers)
[expand title=”Click to see an in-depth explanation of TEXT HANDLING evaluation criteria” tag=”h5″ trigclass=”bazinga” swaptitle=”Evaluation Criteria Explained / Text Handling”]Textual content Stream: steady vs. interrupted
- Assuming you’re changing a PDF to Word so as to have the opportunity to edit it, it will be a lot simpler if the textual content flowed constantly and was not interrupted by carriage returns or was dispersed throughout many separate textual content packing containers.
- Subsequently, for every of the instruments being thought-about we famous down whether or not the textual content was steady or interrupted (and whether or not it was interrupted by carriage returns or textual content bins).
- Significance: we thought this was an necessary situation and gave it a lot of weight when score the varied instruments.
- Examples: click on under to see side-by-side examples of textual content that flows constantly, textual content that’s interrupted by carriage returns, or dispersed throughout floating textual content bins.
Textual content Accuracy: reliably correct vs. much less correct
- This sometimes will range relying in your supply PDF, however typically the constancy of the textual content within the transformed file is problematic.
- This could take two types: all-out gibberish the place you’re supposed to have textual content, or issues in rendering the right case, such that the phrases have lowercase/uppercase characters strewn about seemingly at random, forcing the consumer to manually right it (which might be labor intensive for giant paperwork).
- Significance: we thought this situation was comparatively minor, as a result of the inaccuracies, once they occurred, occurred in about one out of ten or so of paperwork that we examined solely. Most paperwork transformed simply superb.
- Examples: click on under to see side-by-side examples of correct textual content appropriately rendered vs. gibberish, or textual content appropriately rendered vs. textual content with incorrect letter instances.
Particular Character help: not one thing everybody will want, however learn on for those who do
- Our analysis of particular character help is considerably cursory; we solely checked out whether or not particular characters have been displayed, and whether or not the right-to-left inversion in some languages (comparable to Arabic letters or Hebrew) was revered.
- We made three sorts of judgments: good (shows particular characters more often than not and inverts left-to-right when applicable), dangerous (shows particular characters a number of the time and/or doesn’t invert), and nonexistent (doesn’t show particular characters). We selected not to make extra refined evaluations. There’s a lot of variability with this situation and we are not any specialists; readers may have to check the varied choices for themselves to see what works greatest.
- Significance: we thought this concern was minor, though we understand that for some it’s of nice significance.
- Examples: click on under to see side-by-side examples of particular characters appropriately rendered vs. rendered with out left to proper inversion vs. not displayed in any respect.
Preserves Hyperlinks: lively vs. Inactive
- You care about this in case your unique PDF incorporates hyperlinks that you want to preserved within the Word doc.
- This can be particularly necessary for net paperwork and for ebooks, the place the index in lots of instances accommodates hyperlinks into the e-book itself or it might include hyperlinks to the online.
- Significance: we thought this concern was reasonably essential, as a result of PDF paperwork are more and more built-in with the online.
- Examples: click on under to see side-by-side examples of transformed paperwork with hyperlinks preserved and lively in a single doc, and rendered inactive in one other.
three.three Picture Dealing with
Belongings you want to find out about picture rendering:
- Formatting within the unique PDF (such because the background shading of the doc for instance) is reworked into pictures when changing to Word.
- We consider picture conversion throughout two standards: whether or not the ensuing pictures are distinct or lumped collectively, and the constancy and placement of the ensuing pictures, which is roughly a measure of the standard of the ensuing picture (and whether or not the pictures within the output are positioned the place they need to be).
vs. lumped collectively
[expand title=”Click to see an in-depth explanation of IMAGE HANDLING evaluation criteria” tag=”h5″ trigclass=”bazinga” swaptitle=”Evaluation Criteria Explained / Image Handling”]Distinct Pictures vs. Lumped collectively:
- Some converters make it straightforward on themselves: they convert all pictures on the identical web page into a single picture within the ensuing Word file (together with formatting and so forth.) Different converters render distinct pictures that correspond to what you consider as a picture. Within the center are converters that have a tendency to lump neighboring photographs collectively into one.
- In case you are going to do some modifying and manipulate the pictures, and so on. it might clearly be simpler to work with distinct photographs from the get-go. Nevertheless, if the pictures are mixed collectively you possibly can all the time copy and/or crop them as applicable.
- Significance: we thought this situation was reasonably necessary, as a result of as said mixed photographs might be cropped as wanted. Nevertheless, it’s good to have a conversion that delivers ‘correct’ pictures that don’t require an excessive amount of consumer intervention.
- Examples: click on under to see side-by-side examples of all pictures mixed collectively vs. distinct pictures vs. neighboring pictures grouped collectively. Additionally an instance of pictures hidden behind different pictures.
Constancy and placement of the ensuing photographs: which is to say, the ‘quality’ of the transformed picture(s)
- Some pictures are faithfully rendered, whereas others include artifacts (principally little strains like they have been printed out on a dot matrix printer, however typically main distortions as properly). Lastly, some photographs are damaged up into a number of items, which makes them look junky and makes modifying the doc or working with these photographs troublesome.
- Placement: in some situations, there are issues with placement. That is a nuisance insofar because the transformed doc won’t seem like the unique, particularly if the location of the pictures pushes elements of them off the web page.
- Significance: we thought this problem was reasonably essential, as a result of most issues may be taken care of manually by way of consumer intervention if want be.
- Examples: click on under to see examples of appropriately rendered photographs vs. lesser high quality photographs that includes artifacts or distortions vs. photographs damaged up into a number of elements.
three.Four Desk Dealing with
That is truly simple; tables within the output PDF are both rendered as actual tables (i.e. you possibly can choose cells in Word and proper click on to see table-specific features comparable to merge, insert cells/rows, and so forth.) or in any other case simulated or ‘drawn’ utilizing pictures for the formatting and a textual content field or bins. That is much less preferable than a actual desk in case you are all for truly getting in and modifying tables or including to their content material, however some instruments do that ‘simulation’ to good impact.
(Precise Desk vs. simulated or ‘drawn’)
(with out formatting)
(with out formatting)
(with out formatting)
(with out formatting)
[expand title=”Click to see an in-depth explanation of TABLE HANDLING evaluation criteria” tag=”h5″ trigclass=”bazinga” swaptitle=”Evaluation Criteria Explained / Table Handling”] We price desk dealing with throughout two standards:
- Desk Rendering (precise desk vs. simulated or drawn): if we discovered a ‘real’ desk within the ensuing PDF, we gave within the highest score. Someday we discovered that tables even retain their formatting (i.e. the shading and borders, and so on.) and that these weren’t re-created utilizing pictures. Regardless, and even when this was not the case, if a actual desk was rendered we gave the very best ‘A’ score).
- If the desk was simulated/recreated, what was the standard?: if the software didn’t produce a actual desk we needed to take a look at how properly the desk was re-created or drawn. We hoped to see appropriately rendered textual content that match appropriately inside a re-created simulation of a desk/formatting; nevertheless, typically we discovered problems with misalignment (the place the textual content was in a single place however the ‘table-like’ formatting was elsewhere).
- Examples: click on under to see side-by-side examples of appropriately rendered tables vs. simulated tables carried out nicely vs. simulated tables accomplished poorly.
three.5 Reliability and most file sizes
By ‘reliability’ we imply the probability that you should use the software everytime you want it and have the ability to convert PDF to Word with out the method breaking down and with out having to wait too lengthy to get your transformed file(s).
You’ll have guessed that this situation relates principally to on-line converters, and you’d be (principally) proper: what use is a ‘good’ converter if I’m unable to add the information I want? (say, as a result of the servers are sluggish, or as a result of they’ve a very small max file measurement allowance). Or what if the promised emails take hours to arrive or perhaps even days?. In truth, a lot of the instruments that made it on the listing are pretty dependable (we weeded out a number of the worst offenders)
We may even admit a bias towards desktop packages when it comes to reliability, as a result of they’re immediately out there, as a result of usually talking they are often relied on to convert very giant information with out restrictions, and since they’re probably the most safe since your information are by no means uploaded to a third social gathering server.
- We dislike having to wait for the e-mail, for two causes: first as a result of typically the emails don’t come or are very late, leaving the consumer not sure as to whether or not she ought to take one other motion or just wait. The second cause is that the emails, once they arrive, don’t include your transformed information as attachments however truly ship you again to the location to obtain your information anyway, which to us appears considerably, let’s say, ‘unelegant’.
- Significance: regardless of elevating the difficulty and evaluating the varied on-line instruments, the e-mail vs. direct hyperlink challenge just isn’t essential on the finish of the day and we didn’t put a lot of weight on it (particularly as any conversion service that demonstrated a vital delay of multiple hour in remitting emails was excluded from the record to start with).
Max file measurement
- Our tackle that is that a 2 meg max file measurement is just too small. We are saying this as a result of most of the paperwork we transformed in the middle of writing this text have been bigger than 2 megs, and we received uninterested in splitting and merging them so as to carry out the conversion. Though I’m positive that the individuals behind the web instruments will say that 80% or no matter of paperwork they encounter or that folks need to convert are available at 2 megs or beneath, ebooks, commerce brochures, and naturally scanned paperwork are sometimes a lot bigger than this, and we really feel that they need to be supported.
- Subsequently, all else being equal, any software that limits processed PDFs to 2 megs or beneath received a (C) rating, whereas any device that supported 10 megs or above obtained an (A) rating. These in between acquired a (B) rating.
- Significance: truly, we really feel fairly strongly that most file sizes must be at the least up to 10 megs, and we noticed this criterion as necessary.
three.6 OCR Help
OCR (optical character recognition) is necessary when your supply PDF has been scanned moderately than digitally created. Sometimes, which means a converter with out OCR help thinks that your PDF incorporates photographs fairly than textual content, and can render these photographs as is, such that you simply will be unable to edit the doc (which we assume is the entire level of changing PDF to Word within the first place).
We mentioned this challenge within the ‘important issues and questions’ part above (beneath ‘Will the document be editable once it is converted’. The excellent news is that with OCR your picture based mostly doc will probably be processed and rendered into editable textual content. Two on-line conversion instruments supply OCR help, and each do a respectable job at it: NuancePDF and Convert.Information. We have been a bit stunned that any free instruments truly had OCR help as a result of that is sometimes considered a ‘premium’ function.
OCR High quality: of the 2 instruments talked about right here, Nuance appeared to present the higher high quality OCR, though each have been good. Word that we didn’t think about OCR in languages aside from English. For extra about OCR, we will level you to one other article revealed on this website which provides a listing of free OCR instruments, with the disclaimer that changing a picture doc to textual content could be a labor intensive or concerned course of relying on the standard of the supply.
Four. Eliminated/Excluded Providers
Why this part, you may ask? For the next causes:
- In case you’re looking for a software you examine in a earlier model of this text, which can have been eliminated for no matter cause (sometimes, it’s not free)
- In case you already know of a PDF to Word conversion device that isn’t talked about on this article; it might have been glossed over for a purpose.
Ideas? Ideas? Questions? Please share them within the feedback part under!