gDoc Creator is a free program that can perform a number of document format conversions, including converting PDF to Word (.DOC) format. It can convert PDF, XPS, or any MS Office format (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) into any of three formats: DOC, PDF, or XPS. It also can optionally install add-ins for MS Office that enable saving directly to PDF or XPS and will install ’virtual printers’ that enable converting any printable document into either PDF or XPS.
If you’ve been reading this blog then you likely have seen previous posts about converting PDF to Word using free software or services (see the comparative test of free PDF to Word options). Generally speaking there are some good solutions for performing PDF to Word conversions for free; however, the best ones tend to be free web services where you upload your document to a web site and download the converted file. For local conversions on your own PC, gDoc Creator is without a doubt one of the best free options available.
This program has a number of notable features, as follows:
- Can convert to multiple formats: DOC, PDF, XPS. You can use it not just to convert PDF to DOC but vice versa, or convert other Office formats (e.g. PowerPoint) to DOC, PDF or XPS. The program installs virtual PDF and XPS printers that can convert any printable document into these two formats.
- Multiple conversion profiles: gDoc creator will give you several options for how a document is to be produced. For PDF for example, it offers the following profiles; Retain Page Layout (which is my favorite), Retain Text Editability, and Retain Text Flow. You can alternate using these depending on your needs.
- Installs MS Office add-ons for saving as PDF or XPS. Although it may be noted that Microsoft has such an add-on for Office 2007. The gDoc creator add ons are supposed to work on Office 2003 as well.
- Excellent conversion: although you CAN get better conversions (see the ’verdict’ section below), generally speaking the conversions are excellent. Image handling could be much better though; see the test below for more information on quality of conversion.
- Blazing fast conversions: I could not believe just how fast I was able to convert PDFs and other documents containing several dozen pages.
- Download size: is a whopping (and somewhat puzzling) 120 megs.
- Installs browser extensions: that handle PDF files when reading them online. Not bad, but most likely not needed if your browser already opens PDF files; I would recommend unchecking this option when installing the program.
gDoc Creator Free vs. gDoc Fusion Trial: note that while gDoc Creator is free (which is the conversion engine that adds the real value), it comes bundled with a trial version of gDoc Fusion, which is a document viewer and editor in the style of PDF Split and Merge 2, and which for some reason takes way too much time to load. While you do not need gDoc Fusion for conversions, and you do not need to use it in place of your current PDF viewer or editor, gDoc Creator has the annoying habit of using it to open your documents after each conversion. You can certainly live with this, but to go around it I simply renamed the “gDocFusion.exe” executable to something else, and would click “ok” at the end of a conversion when notified that the program was not found.
gDoc Creator’s PDF to DOC conversion tested:
I performed my 4 usual document conversions: (1) the US Form W-4 Tax forms; (2) a typical “read-me” type PDF containing text, images, and links, (3) a table with embedded images and other formatting, and (4) a PDF that is entirely generated from an image source. Here is a summary of the results.
- General layout: excellent; especially using the “Retain Page Layout” profile.
- Image handling: will convert ALL images and formatting in a page to a single big image, which depending on what you need can be very annoying, but it works and keeps the text editable.
- Handling of tables: does not create actual Word tables, but your final output will approximate tables using text boxes and images. Not creating tables is typical of most PDF to Word conversion software. Note that web services PDF to Word Free and PDF to Excel Free will render actual tables in Word and Excel, respectively.
- Handling of text boxes: is generally excellent. Three pre-set conversion profiles that gDoc offers differ in their treatment of text. “Retain Page Layout” renders both the page and text boxes fairly well, “Retain Text Editability” is supposed to do exactly that, except as far as I could see it did the exact same job for the text as “Retain Page Layout”. Finally, “Retain Text Flow” will produce ta single, continuous editable text, but will not convert images, layout, or formatting.
- Handling of text formatting: very good in general, such as font style and shading, although in one of my tested numbered lists were converted into bulleted points.
- Hyperlinks: amazingly, there were working hyperlinks in the output DOC files right were they were supposed to be.
- Handling of special characters: I did not test for this; let me know how gDoc Creater fares with this in the comments if your documents contain these.
- Fast performance: I converted multiple documents containing dozens of pages in a matter of seconds.
The verdict: I would say that generally speaking this software does a terrific job converting PDF to Word, and offers the added benefit of converting MS Office documents to PDF and XPS formats as well. As a local, desktop-based PDF to DOC converter this software is one of the best available. It probably is better or as good as Smart Soft’s Free PDF to Word Converter, although compared to that one the huge 120 meg download and the large local footprint (not to mention the annoying trial version of gDoc fusion) are disadvantages.
And while generally speaking the PDF to DOC conversion is not as good as that provided by the PDF to Word Free web service, especially when it comes to image handling and to handling actual tables in the output DOC, gDoc Converter would be the better choice if (a) you do not care to upload your business or private documents to a web service but prefer to perform the conversions on your own machine, (b) if you have many documents to convert, and would like to get it done quickly, (c) if your primary conversion objective is to get the text into Word so you can edit it, and (d) if your documents are fairly straightforward and not and the layout not too complicated.
Version Tested: 2.1
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7.
- UPDATE: this program is no longer available.