How to convert PDF to Word DOC for free: a comparison

If you are wondering whether you can do good PDF to Word (DOC, DOCX, or RTF) conversion for free, the answer is: Absolutely. This posting will present and compare a number of different ways to do this, for free, without any watermarks or restrictions.

This is our fourth update of this article, which we believe to be the best critical  overview of TRULY free PDF to Word tools on the internet. With each update, a slew of tools are added and a number of the old ones removed, either because they no longer offer a FREE service, or because they were superseded by newer tools that are simply better quality. Last updated: Oct 7th 2013.

There are two kinds of tools available to users: free desktop programs that can convert PDF to Word, and free online conversion services. Note that our focus in this article will be on those services that offer the highest quality. In making this article we tested more than thirty tools, of which we decided to include sixteen different tools here; 5 desktop-based apps and 11 online conversion services.

Here’s quick table of contents (click any link to jump to that section):

  1. The list of free PDF to Word tools:

    Desktop apps and online services both.

  2. Important issues and questions to address:

    E.g will I be able to edit the resulting document?, what is the difference between desktop and online tools?, etc.

  3. Overall Comparison: which tool(s) are the best:

    An overall comparison table and verdict section, but also we present more in-depth comparisons broken down into the following sub-criteria Text Handling | Image Handling | Table Handling | Reliability and maximum file sizes | and OCR support.

  4. Removed/excluded services:

    These tools were removed from previous versions of this article or were too low quality to make the cut.

1. A list of the free PDF-to-Word conversion tools discussed in this article

We will compare 16 tools, 5 desktop apps and 11 online conversion services. You can see a comprehensive comparison of these in our ‘Overall Comparison’ table. Or go to the Verdict section which ranks all the tools and links out to an overview page for each (including sections for individual strengths/weaknesses and download links).

Desktop Tools Online Services
Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft
(Windows)
NuancePDF
PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF
LibreOffice
(Windows; Mac; Linux)
Convert.Files
Zamzar
OpenOffice with PDF import extension
(Windows; Mac; Linux)
PDFOnline.com
EasyPDF Cloud
PDFMate Converter free (Windows) ConvertOnlineFree.com
ConvertPDFtoWord.net
UniPDF (Windows) Fileminx
Pdfconverter.com
Pdfburger

2. Important issues and questions to address

Before I move on to the comparison section, some questions that I am frequently asked about.

What formats can I convert to? Any of the following: .DOC, .DOCX, or .RTF; which is to say anything that MS Word can read (you can subsequently save to whatever format you like).

Do all tools mentioned in this article convert to one of these formats? No. We figured the point was to allow you to edit your PDF, and in fact two of the tools here (LibreOffice and OpenOffice) do not convert your PDF at all. The reason we included them is that they will let you open a PDF (in the ‘drawing’ component of the suite and not the word processor) and edit then save it directly, which for many people might be enough and even preferable to converting to a Word format.

Are the tools mentioned really free? Yes. All of these are free. Some of them are free versions of more souped up products that are paid, but they should be able to deliver the PDF to Word conversion functionality (without restrictions, trial periods, or watermarks) in order to be included in this article.

Please Note: it is possible that the free version of one or more tools may have been removed by the developers subsequent to the last update of this article, in which case please let us know so we can remove it.

Are free tools as good as paid tools? This site is called ‘Freewaregenius’ and we only look at free programs and tools, so we don’t know how well paid tools fare in comparison. But we are adamant that you can get an excellent PDF to Word conversion using all free tools (especially the ones that came out most highly ranking in our comparison).

Online vs. desktop converters: desktop based converters are programs you install on your machine and that perform the conversion locally and instantly. Online tools are web services that you can upload your file to and then download the result (or get it by email).

The advantages of using a desktop app involve NOT having to upload your file and wait. Uploading very large files can be very inconvenient if your files are large or if you have many files to convert. Desktop apps are more convenient for batch conversions and are more straightforward to use.

One the other hand, it is generally the case that free online conversion services are more sophisticated than free desktop converters and may offer a higher quality conversion, although depending on your document that may or may not be the case. Two issues that have to be considered with online conversions are reliability and security: how long will it take to get my converted document? While most online services will send your converted document within a matter of minutes, it is sometimes the case that your file will arrive hours or even days afterwards. As for the latter issue (security), virtually all of the online services mentioned here promise that your files will be transferred via a secure connection, that your document will not be looked at by a human, and that your email will not be used or shared with any other party. Still, it is up to you to decide whether you are comfortable uploading some private or business documents over the internet to a remote server for conversion.

If you know for sure that you want a desktop-based converter and do not want to upload files online, then we recommend that you use UniPDF, which is the best desktop-based tool mentioned in this article.

Will the document be editable once it is converted?: typically, yes; however the real answer is it depends on your original document and how it was created. Generally speaking you will be able to edit any converted PDF that was created electronically and published using software, which comprises the overwhelming majority of forms and documents that are on the internet. The exception is if your PDF was scanned from a paper document; in this case most converters will consider this to be no different from a photograph, and when converting will produce images inside a .DOC file rather than text. What you need in this case is “Optical Character Recognition” (OCR) software, or a converter than can do OCR (two options mentioned in this article can do OCR; NuancePDF and Convert.files, both online converters); otherwise you can check out our list of free OCR tools. These programs can “read” images and convert them to text, but for documents with a large number of pages it can be somewhat labor intensive to get a good conversion.

Will any of these convert special characters, mathematical notation, etc.: many will, but with various degrees of accuracy. Some tools are intelligent enough to handle the inverted left-to-right direction involved in scripts such as Arabic or Hebrew and the render ‘connected’ letters rather than separate ones as appropriate, while others are not. While we have a column in our comparison table that gives you some idea about special character support, we are not experts on this and at the end of the day you will have to try them out for yourself.

Converting to images: if you are interested in converting your PDF to images then you’re in the wrong place. For this you can try the the excellent free PDF reader called PDF X-Change Viewer which has an export to images option.

Documents used in the PDF-to-Word conversion tests: we converted a dozen different documents intended to test various factors (e.g. very large documents, forms with a lot of tables, a scanned PDF to test for OCR, a trade brochure type document with columns and images, etc.) An earlier incarnation of this article listed all of the documents used in a table, but we removed this to make the article smaller.

3. Overall Comparison: which tool(s) are the best

It depends greatly on what you want it to do and on your original PDF. We will rate the conversion tools based on the following:

  • Conversion quality: specifically, their handling of Text, Images, and Tables in the converted document
  • Other features: which are Reliability (a.k.a can I get a decent looking conversion quickly without jumping through too many hoops), OCR (optical character recognition) support, and max file size support for each tool.

The following table presents an overall comparison/summary. We will use a simple 4-point rating system (  A  /  B  /  C   and   D  ) where ‘A’ is best and ‘D’ is worst. We will also color co-ordinate results so that you could read evaluations at a glance (green/orange/red as shown). The final (overall) score column will contain three more values (  A+ ,   B+  , and   C+  ), in order to make finer distinctions).

Overall Comparison
Online v. Handling of Other Features Overall
Desktop Text Images Tables Reliability Max file
size
OCR Score
A/B/C/D
Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft Windows C B B A No limit No B
LibreOffice Windows;
Mac; Linux
C B B C Large files
slow to load (*)
No C+
OpenOffice with PDF import extension Windows;
Mac; Linux
C B B C Large files
slow to load (*)
No C+
PDFMate Converter free Windows D D C A No limit No C
UniPDF Windows A A A A No limit No A+
NuancePDF Online B A A A 10 MB (*) Yes A+
PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF Online B A A A 5 MB or 50
pages per file
No A
Convert.Files Online B A A A 250 MB Yes A+
Zamzar Online C C C A 100 MB No C
PDFOnline.com Online A A A B 2 MB No A
EasyPDF Cloud Online A A A B 2 MB No A
ConvertOnlineFree.com Online A A A A 30 MB No A+
ConvertPDFtoWord.net Online D C C B > 12 MB (*) No C
Fileminx Online C C D A 50 MB No C
Pdfconverter.com Online A A B B 2 MB No B+
Pdfburger Online B A B A > 12 MB (*) No B+

(*) For more info on these data points refer to the 'Reliability and max file size' comparison table below.

3.1 The Verdict

Ultimately, there are three tiers of tools: those that are excellent/highly recommended, those that are good, and those that we do NOT recommend. Please note that we number the tools below (1 through 16) based on our preference, with the tools we like best on top.

Tier 1 PDF to Word conversion tools: these are highly recommended
  1. UniPDF ( A+ ): Desktop tool (Windows). This is the best desktop-based converter, is technically excellent, and will be the preferred tool for most readers (unless they are not Windows users, or unless they require OCR support, which it does not support).
  2. ConvertOnlineFree.com ( A+ ): Online tool. May be the best overall conversion tool (esp. with support for large files up to 30 gigs). We recommend we use this one if you don’t mind an online tool, unless you need OCR support, which it lacks.
  3. NuancePDF ( A+ ): Online tool, with a required desktop component. Not just excellent all-around conversion, but offers OCR support to boot (and the best OCR out of the two tools mentioned here that have it). Note: OCR support is rare in a free converter and makes me place this high up the ranlings.
  4. Convert.Files ( A+ ): Online tool. Combines excellent all-around conversion with OCR support. Note: OCR support is rare in a free converter and makes me place this high up the ranlings.
  5. PDFOnline.com ( A ): Online tool. An excellent PDF to Word converter. No OCR support. Could have been better without the 2 MB max file size restriction.
  6. EasyPDF Cloud ( A ): Online tool. In fact, a rebranded version of PDFOnline.com (above) with the same pros and cons.
  7. Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft ( B ): Desktop tool (Windows). Makes it into our tier 1 list of tools because it is the second best FREE desktop based converter, and because good desktop converters are a bit of a rarity. We also assume that some people would not want an online converter no matter what. It does a very decent job and is an excellent general use option.
  8. PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF ( A ): Online tool. A very good converter that will deliver. Comes in at this slot only because it trails slightly behind the ones higher up.
Tier 2 PDF to Word conversion tools: good tools
  1. Pdfconverter.com ( B+ ): Online tool. Another excellent converter, although because it trails slightly behind the ones above it becomes somewhat of a ‘me too’ tool in a crowded field..
  2. Pdfburger ( B+ ): Online tool. A very competent and good quality converter which allows uploading of files larger than 10 MB. Also trails slightly behind the ones higher on this list, and also is kind of a ‘me too’ tool in a crowded category..
  3. OpenOffice with PDF import extension ( C+ ): Desktop tool. Does not convert to Word format, but will let you open, edit and save your PDF directly. Suitable for making small edits on small files.
  4. LibreOffice ( C+ ): Desktop tool. LibreOffice is based on OpenOffice and like that one it does not convert to Word format, but will let you open, edit and save your PDF directly. Suitable for making small edits on small files.
Tier 3 PDF to Word conversion tools: NOT recommended
  1. PDFMate Converter Free ( C ): Desktop tool. This is a new entrant which I added to this article recently. I had high hopes that it would be a really good desktop converter because I wanted more of those (given that there are so many good online converters). Alas, it wasn’t.
  2. Zamzar ( C ): Online tool. Although it’s PDF to Word conversion looks decent at first glance, technically it is one of the weakest online tools here and cuts a lot of corners.
  3. Fileminx ( C ): Online tool. One of the weakest online tools in a field that has some really good performers, lands this a tier 3 ranking.
  4. ConvertPDFtoWord.net ( C ): Online tool. Gets my nomination for the weakest online PDF to Word conversion tool.

3.2 Text Handling

There are several factors that affect text handling, but I will say this: all of these tools will convert text more or less satisfactorily for most PDFs. There are some documents where for some reason or another text accuracy will be variable across the different tools, but these are relatively rare.

We evaluate/compare at text handling across the following factors: Text Flow (i.e. how easy it is to edit or work with the resulting text), Text Accuracy (will there be a faithful conversion?, or will the resulting text be glitchy), support for special characters (which will be very important for some), and whether the converted document will retain hyperlinks that may exist in the original PDF.

Comparison: Handling of Text
Ease of Editing Conversion of Text Score
Text Flow:
Continuous vs.
Interrupted
Text Accuracy:
Reliably
Accurate vs.
Less Accurate
Special
Characters
Support:
Preserves
Hyperlinks:

Active vs.
Inactive
A,B,C
or D
Examples / Screenshots Show me Show me Show me Show me
Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft Interrupted
(text boxes) but text selectable nonetheless
Less
Accurate
Non-
existant
Inactive
Links
C
LibreOffice Interrupted
(text boxes)
Accurate Good Inactive
Links
C
OpenOffice with PDF import extension Interrupted
(text boxes)
Accurate Good Inactive
Links
C
PDFMate Converter free Interrupted
(text boxes)
Less
Accurate
Good Inactive
Links
D
UniPDF Continuous Accurate Good Active
Links
A
NuancePDF Continuous Less
Accurate
Good Inactive
Links
B
PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF Continuous Less
Accurate
Bad Active
Links
B
Convert.Files Continuous Less
Accurate
Bad Active
Links
B
Zamzar Interrupted
(carriage returns)
Less
Accurate
Bad Active
Links
C
PDFOnline.com Continuous Accurate Good Active
Links
A
EasyPDF Cloud Continuous Accurate Good Active
Links
A
ConvertOnlineFree.com Continuous Accurate Good Inactive
Links
A
ConvertPDFtoWord.net Interrupted
(carriage returns)
Less
Accurate
Bad Inactive
Links
D
Fileminx Interrupted
(carriage returns)
Less
Accurate
Bad Active
Links
C
Pdfconverter.com Continuous Accurate Good Active
Links
A
Pdfburger Continuous Less
Accurate
Good Inactive
Links
B

Click to see an in-depth explanation of TEXT HANDLING evaluation criteria

Text Flow: continuous vs. interrupted

  • Assuming you are converting a PDF to Word in order to be able to edit it, it would be a lot easier if the text flowed continuously and was not interrupted by carriage returns or was dispersed across many separate text boxes.
  • Therefore, for each of the tools being considered we noted down whether the text was continuous or interrupted (and whether it was interrupted by carriage returns or text boxes).
  • Importance: we thought this was an important issue and gave it a lot of weight when rating the various tools.
  • Examples: click below to see side-by-side examples of text that flows continuously, text that is interrupted by carriage returns, or dispersed across floating text boxes.

Text flow examples

Text Accuracy: reliably accurate vs. less accurate

  • This typically will vary depending on your source PDF, but sometimes the fidelity of the text in the converted file is problematic.
  • This can take two forms: all-out gibberish where you’re supposed to have text, or problems in rendering the correct case, such that the words have lowercase/uppercase characters strewn about seemingly at random, forcing the user to manually correct it (which can be labor intensive for large documents).
  • Importance: we thought this issue was relatively minor, because the inaccuracies, when they happened, occurred in about one out of ten or so of documents that we tested only. Most documents converted just fine.
  • Examples: click below to see side-by-side examples of accurate text correctly rendered vs. gibberish, or text correctly rendered vs. text with incorrect letter cases.

Text accuracy annotated

Special Character support: not something everyone will need, but read on if you do

  • Our evaluation of special character support is somewhat cursory; we only looked at whether special characters were displayed, and whether the right-to-left inversion in some languages (such as Arabic letters or Hebrew) was respected.
  • We made three kinds of judgments: good (displays special characters most of the time and inverts left-to-right when appropriate), bad (displays special characters some of the time and/or does not invert), and nonexistent (does not display special characters). We chose not to make more refined evaluations. There’s a lot of variability with this issue and we are no experts; readers will have to test the various options for themselves to see what works best.
  • Importance: we thought this issue was minor, although we realize that for some it is of great importance.
  • Examples: click below to see side-by-side examples of special characters correctly rendered vs. rendered without left to right inversion vs. not displayed at all.

Special Characters Annotated

Preserves Hyperlinks: active vs. Inactive

  • You care about this if your original PDF contains hyperlinks that you would like preserved in the Word document.
  • This may be especially important for web documents and for ebooks, where the index in many cases contains links into the ebook itself or it may contain links to the web.
  • Importance: we thought this issue was moderately important, because PDF documents are increasingly integrated with the web.
  • Examples: click below to see side-by-side examples of converted documents with hyperlinks preserved and active in one document, and rendered inactive in another.

Hyperlinks - Active v. Inactive

3.3 Image Handling

Things you need to know about image rendering:

  • Formatting in the original PDF (such as the background shading of the document for example) is transformed into images when converting to Word.
  • We evaluate image conversion across two criteria: whether the resulting images are distinct or lumped together, and the fidelity and placement of the resulting images, which is roughly a measure of the quality of the resulting image (and whether the images in the output are placed where they should be).
Comparison: Handling of Images
Distinct images
vs. lumped together
Fidelity of Image Score
A/B/C
or D
Examples / Screenshots Show Me Show Me
Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft Distinct images Good Image rendering generally but variable. Images can sometimes be sliced into several pieces and hard to use. B
LibreOffice Distinct images Good Image rendering generally but variable. Images can sometimes be sliced into several pieces and hard to use or distorted. B
OpenOffice with PDF import extension Distinct images Good Image rendering generally but variable. Images can sometimes be sliced into several pieces and hard to use or distorted. B
PDFMate Converter free Variable; images sometimes lumped together, sometimes distinct. Image rendering passable but often low quality. Will sometimes render incorrect 'background formatting' images. D
UniPDF Distinct, but adjacent images are likely to be combined together Correct rendering and placement of images A
NuancePDF Distinct, but adjacent images are likely to be combined together Correct rendering and placement of images A
PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF Distinct images; however, sometimes images are hidden behind 'formatting' images Correct rendering and placement of images A
Convert.Files Distinct images; however, sometimes images are hidden behind 'formatting' images Correct rendering and placement of images A
Zamzar Images lumped into a single background image n/a (placement irrelevant since it creates a single background image) C
PDFOnline.com Distinct, but adjacent images are likely to be combined together Correct rendering and placement of images A
EasyPDF Cloud Distinct, but adjacent images are likely to be combined together Correct rendering and placement of images A
ConvertOnlineFree.com Distinct, but adjacent images are likely to be combined together Correct rendering and placement of images A
ConvertPDFtoWord.net Images lumped into a single background image n/a (placement irrelevant since it creates a single background image) C
Fileminx Distinct images Low quality. Images are sometimes distorted, and sometimes sliced into pieces and hard to use. C
Pdfconverter.com Distinct images Correct rendering and placement of images A
Pdfburger Distinct. If adjacent images are combined together they can be 'ungrouped' by right clicking in Word Correct rendering and placement of images A

Click to see an in-depth explanation of IMAGE HANDLING evaluation criteria

Distinct Images vs. Lumped together:

  • Some converters make it easy on themselves: they convert all images on the same page into a single image in the resulting Word file (including formatting etc.) Other converters render distinct images that correspond to what you think of as an image. In the middle are converters that tend to lump neighboring images together into one.
  • If you are going to do some editing and manipulate the images, etc. it would obviously be easier to work with distinct images from the get-go. However, if the images are combined together you could always copy and/or crop them as appropriate.
  • Importance: we thought this issue was moderately important, because as stated combined images can be cropped as needed. However, it is nice to have a conversion that delivers ‘correct’ images that do not require too much user intervention.
  • Examples: click below to see side-by-side examples of all images combined together vs. distinct images vs. neighboring images grouped together. Also an example of images hidden behind other images.

Distinct Images vs lumped together

Fidelity and placement of the resulting images: which is to say, the ‘quality’ of the converted image(s)

  • Some images are faithfully rendered, while others contain artifacts (mostly little lines like they were printed out on a dot matrix printer, but sometimes major distortions as well). Lastly, some images are broken up into several pieces, which makes them look junky and makes editing the document or working with those images difficult.
  • Placement: in some instances, there are problems with placement. This is a nuisance insofar as the converted document will not look like the original, especially if the placement of the images pushes parts of them off the page.
  • Importance: we thought this issue was moderately important, because most problems can be taken care of manually via user intervention if need be.
  • Examples: click below to see examples of correctly rendered images vs. lesser quality images featuring artifacts or distortions vs. images broken up into several parts.

Image fidelity examples2

3.4 Table Handling

This is actually straightforward; tables in the output PDF are either rendered as real tables (i.e. you can select cells in Word and right click to see table-specific functions such as merge, insert cells/rows, etc.) or otherwise simulated or ‘drawn’ using images for the formatting and a text box or boxes. This is less preferable than a real table if you are interested in actually going in and editing tables or adding to their content, but some tools do this ‘simulation’ to good effect.

Comparison: Handling of Tables
Table Rendering
(Actual Table vs. simulated or 'drawn')
If simulated, how well? Score
A/B/C
or D
Examples / Screenshots Show Me
Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft Simulated Looks good. Well drawn B
LibreOffice Simulated Looks good. Well drawn -but editing tables can be difficult B
OpenOffice with PDF import extension Simulated Looks good. Well drawn -but editing tables can be difficult. B
PDFMate Converter free Simulated Not very good. Text and formatting misaligned. C
UniPDF Actual Table
(without formatting)
n/a A
NuancePDF Actual Table
(with formatting)
n/a A
PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF Actual Table
(with formatting)
n/a A
Convert.Files Actual Table
(with formatting)
n/a A
Zamzar Simulated Not very good. Text and formatting misaligned. C
PDFOnline.com Actual Table
(without formatting)
n/a A
EasyPDF Cloud Actual Table
(without formatting)
n/a A
ConvertOnlineFree.com Actual Table
(without formatting)
n/a A
ConvertPDFtoWord.net Simulated Not very good. Text and formatting misaligned. C
Fileminx Simulated Not very good. Text misaligned, formatting off. D
Pdfconverter.com Simulated Looks good. Well drawn B
Pdfburger Simulated Looks good. Well drawn B

Click to see an in-depth explanation of TABLE HANDLING evaluation criteria

We rate table handling across two criteria:

  • Table Rendering (actual table vs. simulated or drawn): if we found a ‘real’ table in the resulting PDF, we gave in the highest rating. Sometime we found that tables even retain their formatting (i.e. the shading and borders, etc.) and that these were not re-created using images. Regardless, and even if this was not the case, if a real table was rendered we gave the highest ‘A’ rating).
  • If the table was simulated/recreated, what was the quality?: if the tool did not produce a real table we wanted to look at how well the table was re-created or drawn. We hoped to see correctly rendered text that fit correctly inside a re-created simulation of a table/formatting; however, sometimes we found issues of misalignment (where the text was in one place but the ‘table-like’ formatting was elsewhere).
  • Examples: click below to see side-by-side examples of correctly rendered tables vs. simulated tables done well vs. simulated tables done poorly.

Handling of Tables

3.5 Reliability and maximum file sizes

By ‘reliability’ we mean the likelihood that you can use the tool whenever you need it and be able to convert PDF to Word without the process breaking down and without having to wait too long to get your converted file(s).

You may have guessed that this issue relates mostly to online converters, and you would be (mostly) right: what use is a ‘good’ converter if I am unable to upload the files I need? (say, because the servers are slow, or because they have a very small max file size allowance). Or what if the promised emails take hours to arrive or maybe even days?. In fact, most of the tools that made it on the list are fairly reliable (we weeded out some of the worst offenders)

We will also admit a bias toward desktop programs when it comes to reliability, because they are instantly available, because generally speaking they can be relied on to convert very large files without restrictions, and because they are the most secure since your files are never uploaded to a third party server.

Comparison: Reliability and Maximum file size
Instant download links vs. sent by email Max file
size
Overall
A/B/C/D
Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft n/a No limit A
LibreOffice n/a Large files slow to load (1) C
OpenOffice with PDF import extension n/a Large files slow to load (1) C
PDFMate Converter free n/a No limit A
NuancePDF Via Email 10 MB (2) A
PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF Instant Link 5 MB or 50 pages per file A
Convert.Files Instant Link 250 MB A
Zamzar Via Email 100 MB A
PDFOnline.com Instant Link 2 MB B
EasyPDF Cloud Instant Link 2 MB B
ConvertOnlineFree.com Instant Link 30 MB A
ConvertPDFtoWord.net Instant Link > 12 MB (3) B (4)
Fileminx Instant Link 50 MB A
Pdfconverter.com Via Email 2 MB B
Pdfburger Instant Link > 12 MB (3) A

(1) Both programs have such a hard time opening large PDF's for some reason that it can be very frustrating. We recommend that you use only if you have relatively small files. (2) We think this is the largest supported upload size but could not find confirmation anywhere. (3) We couldn't find exact upload limits but a 12 meg file uploaded just fine while a 60 meg file did not convert successfully. (4) We gave a 'B' score because the process of uploading large files would break down without alerting the user.
Click to see an in-depth explanation of 'Reliability and max file sizes' evaluation criteria

Instant download links vs. sending by email

  • We dislike having to wait for the email, for two reasons: first because sometimes the emails do not come or are very late, leaving the user unsure as to whether she should take another action or simply wait. The second reason is that the emails, when they arrive, do not contain your converted files as attachments but actually send you back to the site to download your files anyway, which to us seems somewhat, let’s say, ‘unelegant’.
  • Importance: despite raising the issue and comparing the various online tools, the email vs. direct link issue is not very important at the end of the day and we did not put a lot of weight on it (especially as any conversion service that demonstrated a significant delay of more than one hour in remitting emails was excluded from the list to begin with).

Max file size

  • Our take on this is that a 2 meg max file size is too small. We say this because many of the documents we converted in the course of writing this article were larger than 2 megs, and we got tired of splitting and merging them in order to perform the conversion. Although I am sure that the people behind the online tools will say that 80% or whatever of documents they encounter or that people want to convert come in at 2 megs or under, ebooks, trade brochures, and of course scanned documents are typically a lot larger than this, and we feel that they should be supported.
  • Therefore, all else being equal, any tool that limits processed PDFs to 2 megs or under got a (C) score, while any tool that supported 10 megs or above got an (A) score. Those in between received a (B) score.
  • Importance: actually, we feel quite strongly that maximum file sizes should be at least up to 10 megs, and we saw this criterion as important.

3.6 OCR Support

OCR (optical character recognition) is important when your source PDF has been scanned rather than digitally created. Typically, this means that a converter without OCR support thinks that your PDF contains images rather than text, and will render these images as is, such that you will not be able to edit the document (which we assume is the whole point of converting PDF to Word in the first place).

We discussed this issue in the ‘important issues and questions’ section above (under ‘Will the document be editable once it is converted’. The good news is that with OCR your image based document will be processed and rendered into editable text. Two online conversion tools offer OCR support, and both do a decent job at it: NuancePDF and Convert.Files. We were a bit surprised that any free tools actually had OCR support because this is typically regarded as a ‘premium’ feature.

OCR Quality: of the two tools mentioned here, Nuance seemed to provide the better quality OCR, although both were good. Note that we did not consider OCR in languages other than English. For more about OCR, we can point you to another article published on this site which offers a list of free OCR tools, with the disclaimer that converting an image document to text can be a labor intensive or involved process depending on the quality of the source.

4. Removed/Excluded Services

Why this section, you might ask? For the following reasons:

  • In case you are looking for a tool you read about in a previous version of this article, which may have been removed for whatever reason (typically, it is no longer free)
  • In case you know of a PDF to Word conversion tool that is not mentioned in this article; it could have been glossed over for a reason.
Click to see the list of PDF to Word conversion tools that were removed or excluded from the article

These did not make the cut
Name Type reference
Wondershare PDF to Word Converter Desktop Is not free. The free (and legal) version which used to be available for download in various places is no longer on offer. (You may encounter free Giveaways for this on the internet quite frequently though).
Wondershare PDF to Word Converter Online Online The service seems to have been shut down or in any case the servers seem to not be responsive when we tried to test it over the past month prior to the update of this article. In any case it is just another online converter.
Doxillion Document Converter Desktop This program is free for personal use. However; it strangely attempts to download executables from the internet on performing the first conversion that will cause your antivirus program to freak out and interrupt the process. But even if you let it (like I did) the PDF to Word conversion was particularly poor and didn't warrant being written up.
FirstPDF Desktop No longer a free program (and anyway nothing special)
PDF Shaper Desktop Conversion quality so bad it had to be excluded.
Freemore PDF to Word Converter Desktop Simply doesn't work.
Boxoft PDF to Word Desktop Works; but does a very poor job almost across the board (although perhaps better that many of the converters also excluded in this table).
3D PageFlip Free PDF to Word Desktop Is in fact a rebranded version of Boxoft (above). Does not do a very good job.
Nemo Free PDF to Word Converter Desktop Crashed so much on Win7 64 bit that I gave up on it (when it didn’t crash; it only converted the first 100 pages of a 272 page document). Quality wasn’t stellar either.
SomePDF Desktop Was removed because the conversion results were extremely poor compared to the others
Walker PDF to Word Desktop Did not work at all when we tried to test it.
SobiSoftware Convert PDF to Word Free Desktop Crashes; doesn’t work; and anyway I can’t find it on the internet anymore.
HelloPDF Desktop Will only convert after sending the user to a webpage full of ads; which is very annoying. It also insists on being online to work.
FM PDF to Word Converter Desktop Insists on installing some crapware toolbar – even when you uncheck it during the install process – and very low conversion quality to boot.
PDF to Word Converter from pdfwordconverter.net Desktop Assures you it is free; but will only convert 50% of your document for free.
Free PDF to Word Converter from free-pdf-to-word.com Desktop Is not really free; despite the ‘really freeware’ claim on the site.
Pdftohtml.net Online Actually does a great job converting PDF to HTML (which you can load into MS Word); but a lot of the formatting is lost and this article is about converting PDF to DOC or RTF.
PDF Mechanic Desktop Converts PDF to HTML (which you can load into MS Word); but does a poor job (and anyway this article is about converting PDF to DOC/DOCX/RTF). Seems to be discontinued and is hard to still find on the internet (although possible).
Koolwire Online Removed because they discontinued the PDF conversion service
Cometdocs.com Online Unreliable; the promised email came days later; with a link that ‘expired’ mere minutes after the email arrived.
Convertpdftoword.org; Pdftowordconverter.org Online Are landing pages powered by Cometdocs; and like that one; they are unreliable and will either not email your file at all; or make you wait a very long time.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Questions? Please share them in the comments section below!


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • Kurt

    I convert a pdf (246kb) to rtf via koolwire, I got a 6.8 mb big rtf, which did not load neither into ms word 2003 nor word 2007.
    Same file convert with zamzar loads in word, but layout is extremly ugly

    • Rach

      Interesting dilemma, even though it was 5 years ago. In 2013 it’s become very simple to convert PDF to Word, and the process is broken down in this video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtN-GiH57LY

      • dik

        Link supplied by Rach only works if you subscribe to online Adobe conversion, and it’s expensive.

  • Samer

    @Kurt,
    If you want, send the document to me (say, with DivShare) and I will investigate.

  • Stuart

    Just converted a 1.56 mb pdf file to a 2.88 mb word document by koolwire. Program did a great job. Loaded into word 2003 no problem at all.
    Thanks Samer

  • pitzelberger

    koolwire works great for me too.
    tried to convert one chapter of my thesis, which I am writing in Latex, and everything looks nearly like in the original. Even the equations are preserved.

    Great pick!!!

  • Kurt

    @Samer,

    I have uploaded thte original pdf at:
    http://members.chello.at/trinko/1a.pdf
    the converted rtf is uploaded at:
    http://members.chello.at/trinko/1a.rtf (6,8 MB!!)

    Thanks

    Kurt

  • Kurt

    @Samer,

    I tried it once again, now it worked – the file loads into ms word, *but* the layout is in my humble opion not ok (But my pdf-file contais lots of tables, so maybe its fine for other pdfs)

    Kurt

  • jw

    Thanks. Great post.

  • Samer

    @Kurt,
    I agree with you that the forms are not adequate. All of the PDF to DOC converters mentioned above create text boxes to approximate the look of the original document and do not create real tables.I don’t really have any better ideas/suggestions, unfortunatley.

  • http://maximillianx.blogspot.com Rob Dunn

    Nice post – good info Samer!

  • http://www.petnos.com petnos

    thanks for sharing…

  • Ken

    Samer,
    Unfortunately I can’t say this works well. I’ve uploaded three different files to Koolwire and NONE were even converted. I received an email saying they failed to convert, check the rules, etc. Which of course didn’t matter as the rules were followed to the letter. Big disappointment, oh well.

    I do agree with your assessment of Free PDT to Word Converter…much too much trouble.

    I’ll keep trying Koolwire but so far not impressed.

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  • Dani

    Excellent!

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  • Mark

    Samer,

    Excellent review site! However, big disappointment with KoolWire for me. Six attempts to convert PDF to RTF and no joy. No response even. File size is 2.1 MB. Four e-mail uploads – no response. Two direct uploads – no response. It’s like I’m sending e-mail and uploads into the abyss. This thing would be great if it worked. Advice?

  • http://palmettoequipment.blogspot.com justin

    great information here. I have a question regarding PDF software, though. Have you ever ran across a piece of software that will translate the language of a PDF? or do you know of a way to translate the language of an entire word document after it has bee n converted from PDF? thanks…

  • Samer
  • Mark

    PLEASE REPLY:

    Samer,

    Excellent review site! However, big disappointment with KoolWire for me. Six attempts to convert PDF to RTF and no joy. No response even. File size is 2.1 MB. Four e-mail uploads – no response. Two direct uploads – no response. It’s like I’m sending e-mail and uploads into the abyss. This thing would be great if it worked. Advice?

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  • bungle

    I think this is a good article that clearly lays out the options.

    Going in reverse (as in doc -> pdf) koolwire was absolutely terrible and zamzar performed badly.

    Best of the bunch by far was media convert, it accurately converted “unusually” formatted doc files into pdf AND has less security issues as you are not required to give any personal information.

  • Sam

    Hi nice work, but i think its missing the unicode support study, i tested the zamzar so far and it does not convert unicode characters in the doc file

  • http://www.miminfo.se Mattias Hyll

    You have done a good job! I have tried all these converters, plus a few more, and I too find KoolWire being the best. Zamzar is ok, but all text ends up in different text blocks and makes it hard to copy.
    Both KoolWire and Zamzar replied back within a few minutes (PDF file size ~10 MB, at time 13.00 GMT 1).
    BTW – Adobe have added support for PDF to txt, but the mail address didn’t work :-)

  • Victor

    Thanks so much for the great work!

    I have tried so many converters and yours pick of koolwire is the best after I tried it!!!!

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  • http://www.chunaove.cn xiaomo

    thx~~
    Very helpful

  • http://www.andrewmin.com/ Andrew Min

    Odd… Koolwire doesn’t seem to be working right now. I tried both by email and by the website.

  • http://www.andrewmin.com/ Andrew Min

    Never mind, guess it was just really big.

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  • Don

    FYI – With current versions of Acrobat, you can copy and paste text directly into word. The formatting may not be great, but the operation is simple.

  • umer

    the option of copying and pasting from acrobat to word can be disabled by the author if they set a security code and lock the document. In such cases one can not copy and paste and can not even do highlighting, underlining and commentating on the locked document.

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  • Joe Walsh

    I tried to convert PDF files which contained tables, but the conversion was very poor.

  • http://av1428.googlepages.com Arunkumar K

    Hi is there any software (Freeware) to convert a PDF file to doc along with Equations (Math book).
    if so pl do let me know.

  • TK

    Koolwire did not convert mine either.

  • Guy Raymond

    No matter what PDF file I send to Koolwire, I can only get a message that says it was not converted.

    Right now it looks like it does not work at all.

  • http://no Thomas

    Always the same :

    “Thank you for using Kool Converter, the free file conversion service.
    We were not able to convert your files. Please check the
    koolversion rules or the FAQ section and try again.

    The Koolwire team”

    Those 2 websites seems to be abandonned

  • http://www.orkut.com Pawan

    hi its is very cool…..

  • Deb

    Just tried Koolwire – no good. When it goes to the download page it is blank. Tried several times nothing happened.

  • http://www.goforitpromotions.com Janice

    I used the Kool conversion method. The problem was the documents were returned in Word doc form, but I didn’t know on my end that when we scan documents into our copier/scanner that they are converted to image pdf files. This means no software can convert them! I had to take the originals to a scanner where the OCR function was set up on it. So, it may not be the conversion products discussed on the site.

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  • nathan

    Hi is there any software to convert a PDF file to doc along with Equations (Math book). if so pl do let me know.

  • mukesh

    Hi is there any software to convert a PDF file to doc along with Equations (Math book). if so pl do let me know.

  • Dan

    Hi, Samer. Thanks very much for the comparison. Have you tried pdf995? With an add-on of Omniformat, it is supposed to convert pdf into html or doc. For me, the html conversion went fine, but I couldn’t get it to convert to doc. Anybody care to try?

  • Treyce

    It converts it but opens in word with all blank white pages.

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  • Alex

    KoolWire didn’t work for me either. I think I figured out why. The original PDF file I was trying to convert has some security settings which prevented it from being converted. Oh well…

  • Bob

    KoolWire converted my pdf (9MB) to rtf (1MB). When I open it in MS Word 2003, it says 13 characters and nothing at all appears. Please help. Ideas?

  • just me

    here’s another pdf to word converter:
    http://www.freefileconvert.com/

  • Daniel

    Nothing of described works to convert Russian-text pdf to doc or RTF.

  • DSpider

    I’m a bit disappointed… I’m beginning to think THERE ARE NO good freeware converters out there (and I’m not talking about that web s**t). I guess it’s wearez hunt season. Shhhh… I’m hunting wearezits.

  • Disappointed

    “Thank you for using Kool Converter, the free file conversion service. We were not able to convert your files. Please check the koolversion rules or the FAQ section and try again.

    The Koolwire team”

    I sent a non-protected PDF file to doc@koolwire.com, and this was the response. I checked the koolversion rules, but it said nothing.

    WHY DO YOU RECOMMEND THIS S**T??? THIS DOES NOT WORK. PEOPLE JUST WAST THEIR TIME WITH THIS S**T.

  • Citywalker

    Daniel, Zamzar converts russian text pdf-s. I know, I have used it for this.

  • chan

    Hi Sameer,

    I face a problem to convert pdf into word because when i convert it into word format mathematical symbols not converted pdf to word . let me know if u have any idea….

    Thanks in advance

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  • adrian

    Oh, sowell.

    The Some PDF converter actually created real edible tables when converting. Everthing else looked excellent. Samer, please post it here and give it a freewaregenius pick.

    Only 1 con: I tested it with a 0.56 MB pdf and the output doc was a whopping 7.3 MB!! What the heck??

  • Delivered

    Did not work!

  • Anonymous

    OK

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  • Meresa

    I tried Koolwire, but not response.

    I did find another free conversion that worked well for me: http://www.pdftoword.com/. It did a better job than Zamzar.

  • Raghavendra

    pdf to word document

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  • tawee

    thanks!

  • THE-IMRAAN

    hi guys,

    check this out, i did, its perfect, its fast, its easy and its FREE
    Enjoy!!!!!

    http://www.onlyfreewares.com/Utilities/Converters/Free-PDF-to-Word-Converter.php

  • bill

    Hi,

    I know this site: http://www.convertpdftoword.net and i think it is good :)

  • http://www.topcoafuri.ro Coafuri mirese

    I have been looking for a free program to convert the files I need for a long, long time. Thank you for taking the time to post this! I was able to convert PDFs to PNGs with no problems.

  • Mick

    Koolwire short circuited on me to…same error message. I verified that the document was not protected.

  • Michael

    Great article, thanks for telling us about Koolwire, that site is awesome

  • http://www.sliferdesigns.com/ Siifer

    I tried this site : http://www.pdftoword.com and it took a virtual eternity just to upload my file for conversion

  • Check

    You should try http://www.convertpdftoword.net/ it is a very good program. I’ve been using it with no problems. It merges all images into a single one that puts as a background on the DOC and converts the PDF’s text into textboxes on the DOC.

  • Chirag

    koolwire worked very well for me… thanks!!!

  • walter

    I tried them all and they sucked except THIS one ROCKED. WOW. I’m actually stunned that this exists. And you don’t have to wait for a stupid email that never comes! http://www.convertpdftoword.net/

  • Bill

    I’ve had good results with pdfonline.com

  • http://www.convertpdftoword.netwebsite allissar

    this website worked for me

  • http://www.convertpdftoword.netwebsite allissar
  • Me

    http://www.convertpdftoword.net = Service Unavailable

  • Me

    Thanks for your review!

    Here’s my results with several 2Mb PDF files:
    Koolwire.com – best results, 2 hours middle of day (NA time), 15 minutes in middle of night.

    PDFtoWord.com – failed on half of files, no explanation given, took 7 hours middle of day.

    PDFOnline.com – seemed promising, since it doesn’t use email, but timed out on one of my files and said the other one was too big – a bust!

  • Me

    But now I’ve gone through the QUALITY of the conversion and PDFtoWord was much better – Koolwire’s conversion was missing lots of letters here and there. So my conclusion is that PDFtoWord is best but not quickest…

  • Prof

    PDF 2 Word failed me miserably! Missing words, wrong format, words or phrases swapped… and so on and so on. Basically, next to nothing.

    On the other hand, Covert PDF to Word at http://www.convertpdftoword.net/ worked almost like the original PDF file – well almost as there were a few minor ‘cosmetics’ missing.

    Thanks to ALL those mentioned http://www.convertpdftoword.net/.

    Cheers.

  • http://www.nemopdf.com cocle

    Sounds great! I like free trial pdf to word converter software very much. But there’s a problem. Because of my job, I often need to convert PDF to Word, and I have used some freeware, but it hardly meet my needs. http://www.nemopdf.com/how_to_use/pdf_to_word.html

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the article! It is a great help.
    I found both of these sites to be great. I converted a 700kb pdf. Covertpdftoword.net was faster, but I like that I can copy a bunch of pdf addresses, paste them each into an email and then just wait for results with the default email addresses at koolwire.com. Both sites produced quality docs with images placed almost exactly the same as the pdf.

    http://www.convertpdftoword.net
    http://www.koolwire.com/Default.aspx

    I had hopes that the pdf import extension in Open Office would work, but it imports only into Draw and though it can export many image formats including swf and html,( it generates a powerpoint-like web page,) but it does not export ODT or DOC.

  • Jesse

    Dear Samer and all,

    Thank you for the informative review on PDF to DOC converters. I am very keen to learn more about the latest updates and if necessary, what you would recommend me to get for both:

    1. Freeware types
    2. Paid license types (and the price too)

    Also, I would like to address the following questions:

    1. Is it possible to convert locked PDF files into DOC? If so, how?
    2. What’s the best kind of tool (free or otherwise) that you know of that converts PDF into any output that you want?

    Feel free to email me about this. Likewise, my offer and queries goes out to anyone who can answer me the above questions. I don’t mind making a donation of a token sum to their Paypal accounts as thanks, or click on their site links, leave a comment etc.

  • Harry

    Thanks to all for pointing to http://www.pdftoword.com/.

    I have just used it to convert a 708kb .pdf file containing 36 statistical tables and 50 graphs, some generated in Excel and some in Sigmaplot. I received the email with an attached .zip file within two minutes.

    There were a few minor problems with the conversion:
    – Ordinary (i.e. click only) hypertext links turn into Ctrl-click links. I’m not sure how to rectify this.
    – The HT links are truncated to the first line of the URL.
    – It converts all the rows in a wafer into one big row and some text in a few tables appears squashed. But the text is all there and editable.
    – Some bars in a few Excel bar graphs changed colour. Minor cosmetic problems in some SigmaPlot graphs.

    On the whole, the converted file looks exactly like the .pdf and requires little editing. My organisation is likely to adopt this, as all our web content is required to be available in an ‘accessible’ format, as well as .pdf.

  • http://www.mutuelle-sante-fsp.com Mutuelle santé

    Great article and good test. Very usefulm to convert pdf files. Thanks.

  • R Duke

    I had the best results with pdftoword.com. See http://alma.ch/blogs/bahut/index.html for alternatives and a few additional notes.

  • Annu

    I have used universal converter by soft solutions. Giving good result.
    This is available at
    http://products.softsolutionslimited.com/universal_converter/index.htm
    try this..

  • http://nfp.freehostia.com/ JimVanDamme

    OpenOffice.org now has a PDF editor plugin that not only opens PDFs, you can edit them! It opens in Draw, although kind of slowly. Edit the text, move the boxes, change the pictures. Export back to PDF if you want, or keep in OOo format (or anything). Sweeeeet.

  • Fran

    Thanks a lot for very precious info and reviews :o)))

  • freefreeperson

    So many of these leads are written by self-advertising scum, trying to get sales via this FREEWARE site.

    I really worry about the way words like “free”, “freedom” are losing their true meaning. I don’t think this site was meant for ‘free’ advertising!

    for example,

    the ‘free’ (free trial only) convertpdftoword costs $40+
    the ‘free’ (free trial only) nemo pdftoword costs $40
    the ‘free’ (free trial only) tweak pdftoword costs $40

    the ‘free pdf to word’ link goes round & round in ever decreasing circles until it vanishes.

    koolwire looks like a go0d guy,
    but seems only to convert TO pdf, not FROM

    And the
    SCUMMY FREEBOOTER ADVERTISING TIMEWASTER AWARD

    with 7 (SEVEN) free dishonest mentions of an expensive commercial product on this FREEWARE site, goes to:

    scumbags >>> CONVERTPDFTOWORD <<< avoid scum

  • Votre

    Yikes!

    Cancel my previous comment.

    I sent it to the wrong website.

    That’s what happens when you have too many browser tabs open and you’re brain dead like me.

  • JK III

    Great Post! Keep posts like these coming.

  • Sammi

    Excellent review. Thanks so much for taking what must have been an incredible amount of time to do this. Very impressed.

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  • Sérgio Dias

    What an amazing job. Thank you very much for the time spent. You rock!

  • Jasray

    Yes, an excellent review and analysis. A full version of Adobe Acrobat Professional goes for $99 with a 10/10 rating. So I shall take $5.00/hour out of my check for three days, and keep it simple.

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  • awh

    Wow! Your top rated PDF2Word Online worked great! I set up a test document with a lot of different tables of varying widths and cells and it didn’t mess up anything! Maintained the exact page layout and fonts! Too cool!

    Might have to buy their PC version (looks like a real bargain at only $19.95).

    Ditching ABBYY PDF Transformer (too labor intensive) for this app right away!

    Great review – thanks!!

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  • Kristof

    About Nuance, I suggest you read there legal notice again.

    Use of services
    Any material, information or other communication you transmit or post to this Site will be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary (“Communications”). Nuance will have no obligations with respect to the Communications. Nuance and its designees will be free to copy, disclose, distribute, incorporate and otherwise use the Communications and all data, images, sounds, text, and other things embodied therein for any and all commercial or non-commercial purposes. You are prohibited from posting or transmitting to or from this Site any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, or other material that would violate any state, federal, or international law.

    Nuance may, but is not obligated to, monitor or review any areas on the Site where users transmit or post Communications or communicate solely with each other, including but not limited to chat rooms, bulletin boards or other user forums, and the content of any such Communications. Nuance, however, will have no liability related to the content of any such Communications, whether or not arising under the laws of copyright, libel, privacy, obscenity, or otherwise.

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  • Mike

    This is a great review! Thanks for breaking down the coverters into a top 10 list. It helped an awful lot and I was able to covert one of our PDFs right away to see what kind of results we could get.

    I ended up using #10, PDF Online. I didn’t want to install anything and that converter worked well and responded right away. (I’m still waitining on the return email from some of the others…)

    Thanks so much!
    Mike

  • nik

    good review keep it up….

    BTW u need to spell check your results ;)

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  • Mate

    Thank you for another great review! Keep on :)

  • Paul

    Really good review you have but I don’t see that you tried what is built into Word2007. I just choose ‘save as PDF’ . It works fine for me. I have heard that sometimes links in the PDF are not always correct but I have never had the problem.
    Can you try this out the, using the same tests and let us know how it goes?

  • Meem

    Hi

    Is there any app supports PDF to Word for Arabic language ?

  • Gianni

    Troppo complicato per me, lo provo grazie.

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  • Ted

    Thanks for the update.
    I just used PDF2Word with a complicated PDF doc with data in columns – it converted it to tables, no worries.

    Thanks
    Ted

  • Juile

    This was incredibly helpful and articulate — thanks so much! What was especially helpful was knowing which program could do OCR. Nuance works very well, though I have not yet figured out how to make it do the OCR trick, and to contact Nuance costs $9.95. Any tips on getting it to do that? Thanks much!

  • Samer

    Julie,
    1- Download the the Free Nuance PDF Reader, then install and run
    http://www.nuance.com/imaging/products/pdf-reader.asp

    2- Load up your PDF that you want OCR’d, then click on the “convert PDF” button in the top bar

    3- Enter your email address. The program will upload your file, convert it (perform OCR if appropriate), then email it to you.

  • tham

    PDFOnline.com does convert to pdf, not to doc and…. loses all figures in the process

  • Samer

    @ Tham: PDFOnline.com does indeed convert PDF to DOC, which is why it is mentioned here (and btw of all the options here it received the best score). Go here: http://www.pdfonline.com/pdf2word/index.asp

  • http://hnuh rajeswarareddy

    kjk

  • Phil

    Just to say thanks, a very helpful article indeed.

  • sb

    I want to point out that Anybizsoft can convert also SECURED pdf (no text copy) like one I have from the EU commission, while I tried a couple of other converters (Smartsoft and pdfonline) and they couldn’t.

  • Jie

    Great review! Thanks–saved me a lot of time to try around.

  • BG

    Samer, I also have not gotten PDFOnline.com to convert to DOC. It converts to RTF in a zip file for me, but not DOC.

  • Samer

    @ BG: Word opens RTF no problem. Simply save in turn as .DOC

  • Donia

    AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Free continuously gives me a runtime error when I try to use it. :-(

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  • Ashe

    A great help and real time saver – thanks! Can vouch for PDF online.

    I had spend days writing a large technical report in Word 2007 full of tables, images, columns and table of contents, printed to pdf in order to print a hard copy (my printer couldn’t handle the large docx file) then somehow lost the original doc in the digital ether. Importing or opening back in word was a mess, but PDF ONLINE delivered it back to me looking almost like original, and in a very fast turnaround time.

    Only thing I needed to do was reapply original style (a one click job), table of content (virually one or two click job) and custom header/footers (5 minutes) and it was right back to perfect.

    Very happy!

  • safi2228@yahoo.com

    Please I want to know, how to change from PDF file to word doc.,

    Please explaing to me
    with regards.

  • MATT

    I used “#7: PDF to Word Free from NitroPDF:” and did not like it. This conversion removed the left margin so all text was on the left side of the page, and all the converted text wound up on draw boxes so updating and reformatting the text was VERY difficult and I finally gave up and looked for a new program.

  • http://www.gusgsm.com Gusgsm

    Thanks a lot for the detailed and careful study. I am looking for a good quality PDF to text or html conversor that fits the job to build epub files and your page has saved me a lot of work.

    It’s odd how difficult it seems to be finding a simple plain conversor that turns PDF paragraphs into html paragraphs. Even Acrobat Pro stalls at a 450 pages novel :(

    As I said, Thank you :)

    Gustavo

  • Snakepit

    Not sure yet about all available services, but PDF Online and some others only convert a limited number of pages/ percentage of document size.

  • ashemsay

    Very useful comparative test, since i’m looking into it for one of my clients, the “commercial use” section really helped me out. Good job, thank you for sharing it!

  • Tony

    Thanks for a fascinating review.Greatly appreciated.

    You might like to look at
    http://convertpdftoword.net/Default.aspx

    which I used a lot until I got snared by the downloadable programmes.

  • Samer

    @ Tony: that one was on my list, but I decided to skip it in favor of the others.
    @ Snakepit: I am not aware of any limits that PDF Online imposes on conversions. If that is the case then it is certainly new and was not there when I wrote this review. I will look into this issue the next time I update this posting.
    @ Ashemsay: you’re welcome!

  • Samer

    @Menassy,
    Try some of the others. I am not sure which ones do require an MS Word install; will add this to the list of issues to compare across in my next update of this post.

  • Ron

    Smart Soft PDF to Word converter now limits its free version to 3 pages and has a watermark over all 3 pages. Basically just a come-on to purchase at $40

    • Samer

      @ Ron: I just checked. It is still free and unlimited, no watermark, no page limit. I tested again on a 20 page PDF and can confirm. My guess is that you downloaded their trial version rather than the free version. These two are different.

      Once you get on their page make sure you downloade the free version, reviewed here. Be careful what download button you use (you want the top one on the page, under the “free pdf to word converter” section, the one without “free trial” underneath it. )

  • Kurt

    Koolwire rejects to convert *any* pdf to doc/rtf – at least from my german yahoo-account

  • Mark

    I just tried PDFOnline.com using a 75-page 1.1MB PDF document, and got the following message:

    “Your PDF was partially converted to Word (RTF)

    The conversion process takes longer then our server allowed, but some pages were successfully converted.”

  • Dogfight

    I also tried PDFonline with a large PDF file, and got the “partially converted” message. The 28 pages it returned were pretty accurate, but the size limitation downgrades the score in my opinion.

    Thanks for a great overview!

  • Tomas

    There is one missing service which do PDF to Word very well http://www.freepdfconvert.com/convert_pdf_to_source.asp

  • MorrisB

    Thank you for your great review. I was stymied trying to get a very complex 150 page user manual into .Doc format so that it would look like the original. I settled on pdfonline.com, which you recommended. It was excellent. Fast and accurate. Thanks again.

  • steve

    Good list. I found that Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft did a good conversion in keeping the images separate etc, but the size ballooned from 55 MB pdf to 500 MB word file, which even my system had trouble opening. AnyBizSoft PDF to Word free kept the size down to 49 MB, much more manageable. I would prefer the latter for big files, but the former for complicated files where the placement of images mattered.

  • http://n/a timmy

    brilliant post! been looking for something like this for ages!! however.. why doesnt ‘word’ wake up and smell the pdf coffee ??

  • Kelly

    Thank you! You are a life saver! Fantastic information.

  • phoebe

    You can try of this convertion tool that I find it easy and simple to use

    “http://officeconvert.com/advanced-pdf-to-word-converter.htm”

  • A K

    I found this online service to be very quick, with high quality:
    http://www.convertpdftoword.net/

    • Samer

      @ A K: I considered this service but decided not to include it in my article. It wasn’t good enough.

  • AKC

    Please I want to know, how to change from PDF file to word doc.,

    Please explaing to me
    with regards.

  • vocivoci

    doesnt google docs do this job?

  • Davide Andrea

    I tried a whole bunch of desktop based PDF-Word converters. Most have a trial version, but will only do 3 pages, which is pretty useless, I tried 2 of the ones you mention, with poor results:

    SmartSoft:
    The downloader opened up a window, saying “Wait wile we dowload” and stayed there, spinning for 15 minutes. Finally I gave up and closed it.

    AnyBizSoft PDF to Word free:
    It converts fine, but then it tries to open Word (I don’t have Work on my computer) and crashes.

  • Samer

    @ David Andrea: I just tried to download SmartSoft’s free PDF to Doc converter, but the download does seem to hand, like you suggested.

    Therefore I will temporarily post the program in the following link, until the original link is fixed:
    http://www.divshare.com/download/12238820-e05

    I also went and performed a conversion using AnyBizSoft’s PDF to Word free: worked perfectly, opened in my MS Word 2007.

    @ vovivoci: I just went into Google docs and spent some time exploring to investigate the possibility. It does NOT seem like it performs a conversion service. If you know more let me know.

  • http://www.zco.com/ iPad Developer

    AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Free continuously gives me a runtime error when I try to use it. :-(

  • JFalk

    For those that asked about PDF to HTML, PDFOnline also handles that. The quality is pretty much on par with their PDF to Word and is the best I’ve seen.

  • Kaarlo von Freymann

    Thanks for a job well done. It was difficult for us to understand why the utterly needed PDF to Word conversion is so difficult to get done properly. Manufacturers’ manuals for instance must be redone because they are unusable, full of “thank you for…” “It is a good idea…” “We are the greatest ..” and the like of blablabla no-one needs. All that silly stuff makes the document long and detracts from the essential. In the end no-one reads them just like you do not read Microsoft licens agreements. I was told it is so difficult because the creators makes it difficult on purpose. So we have used ABBYY OCR, but that inevitably is both labour intensive and furhtermore photos are reproduced in a miserable quality.
    If anyone knows a conversion that really works, e.g. recreates the original PDF exactly as it looks and lets you edit it to your liking like you can edit a document you receive as a word, please tell us. Having tried at least a dozen we are fed up. Of course it need not even be free.
    Kaarlo von Freymann Spacetechnology Co. Helsinki Finland v.freymann@welho.com

  • Matt

    I cannot disagree with you more wholeheartedly. PDF2Word is TERRIBLE.

    This is the message it gave me:

    “The conversion process takes longer then our server allowed, but some pages were successfully converted. ”

    I had uploaded a 50-meg pdf. It returned a 50-meg zip file.

    Inside that zip was word-compatible document, 100 megs. It was 12 pages long. My 50-meg pdf had been over 400 pages.

    12 pages. No images. All text. 100 megs. All the formatting screwed up beyond belief.

    Less than 1% of the content. Twice the file size. Broken formatting.

    It’s a terrible, terrible service.

  • John Coombes

    Bingo!

    I have been searching for a goof pdf-doc converter and your advice on SmartSoft did it.

    Many thanks for sharing this with the wide world!

  • Renee

    I just tried PDF to Word from NitroPDF and it said it would send the conversion to my email.
    What it sent was a thank you for a subscription I supposedly ordered for their newsletter!
    Where did my conversion go?

    Another one I tried did a great job–for 40 pages out of 357. Their server ran out of time and I’ll bet their dog used to eat their homework.

    Is that a good free converter out there? And if not, why keep getting our hopes up??

  • renee

    Hey, I was wrong. The conversion just took longer than I expected but it came! And from the little I’ve checked so far it worked fine!

    Astounding, and thanks to you and Nitros’ PDF to Word.

  • http://rlg27@att.net Anonymous

    My dpf tp word conversion from Nitro just came. Took longer than expected but looks good. Kudos to you and them!

  • jbohaj

    The Performance of (www.PDFOnline.Com) is on Downside now a days. I Upload a Simple (Text Only) PDF of 252 Pages & Sit Back. It Disappoint me, 1st time, it Convert only 10 Pages and 2nd time 20 Pages.

    Please refer a good PDF Desktop Application.

  • Joseph

    Superb article….. very helpful…. Thank you!!!

  • sheryl

    I used SmartSoft to convert a pdf to word doc. It looked great until I got to the tables that were landscape format in the middle of the document (most, but not all, of the original pdf is in portrait format). Tables that were originally in portrait format converted just fine.The grids for the tables in landscape format converted, but without any of the text that was in the original pdf document. How can I correct this problem?

  • Wyn

    Was wondering if there was a software to bookmark your review sections
    i.e. had you titled the section “PDF Overview”
    whereby I can right click just that section and bookmark it. Many times I end up scrolling thru pages and keywords to find that specific result again.
    I really just need to get back to your final side by side comparisons in a hurry in case over time I need to try an alternate suggestion. I would bookmark on my side as PDF conversion and poof there you are? It would really save me time. I rely on your recommendations and love the site but coming back and trying to find something I know I read is something I have grown to dread as you do not have a very reliable search index. I tried searching for top slideshow apps for win7 x64 and landed on unrelated results. There must be another key word for this type of software but if that word escapes me then I have to search by categories like pic editors, cd/dvd writers, converter software and the like b4 I find what I am looking for.

    Maybe I am just doing it wrong. I know somewhere you have an indexed section for app types but I can never find it on your home page which is why I go straight to your search button which pretty much fails me everytime. Help! This would be my biggest wish list for your wonderful site. Happiness to you – Wyn

  • Matt

    I have a bunch of old printed handouts (hard copies) that I would like to turn into a digital format that I can still edit. From what I have read I need something with OCR support to do this but I want to know if you know of any other or faster ideas.
    Thanks Matt

  • boris

    i think that the most of theese PDF tools is based on free or opensource projects like openOCR or PostScript. some free pdf conversion services (review by me): converting pdf to word

  • Macky Boy

    Wow, Samer, thanks. PDFonline.com is made a perfect conversion of my PDF to MSword. Not even Acrobat Pro can do this lol! The guy who wrote that algorithm is gonna be rich if he sells it to Adobe (if he hasnt alreayd).

    Thank you~

  • technophobe

    thanks very much indeed for doing all the slog to research and write this article. It was really well written, easy to understand and very informative. All I had to do was download the chosen software by clicking on yor hyper-links! what could be simpler and the converter I chose was really easy to use and very fast so I can now edit my pdf files. Many thanks indeed. :)

  • Erie

    Hi. Thank you so much for doing this research for us. I have tried several of the Pdf to Word converters but I still can not find one that can convert greek letters in the original pdf file. I have math expressions with greek letters and so far the converters just skip the greek letters, any suggestions? Maybe a non-free pdf to Word converter out there that does the job?

  • Ronak

    You can simply convert a pdf to doc by opening it in adobe reader ,selecting copy to clipboard from edit menu and pasting it in a new word file {copying to clipboard may take some time}

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for your recommendations. Nuance was simply superb! It looked 99% like the original pdf, AND took less than a minute. Thanks! :-)

  • AP

    Great review. You might want to look at CutePDF. It works with special characters and saved my life. It’s not easily visible on their crowded webpage but they do have a freeware app which saved my life!

  • Danica Crittenden

    Do you have any info re the best paid (not free) PDF-to-Word converter for a publishing company? We’re looking for the best way to convert PDF manuscripts to Word with minimal formatting losses/changes.

  • pdxta

    PDFOnline.com seems strangely inconsistent when it comes to the maximum number of pages it will convert.

    I started with a PDF of 179 pages. It gave the “conversion took longer than server allowed / partially converted” message others have reported. The .rtf was 133 pages.

    I then extracted pages 26-77 (52 pages total) of the same PDF, and these pages were located well before the 133 page max of the first conversion attempt so I thought it would have no trouble. But instead of 52 pages I got 23 in the .rtf. Yet the first conversion attempt included these same 52 pages and more with no problem.

    I then extracted six other pages from the original PDF and those converted to six .rtf pages with no problem.

  • gvstn

    I had a simple text PDF that was in the format of an essay test. 10 questions fill in your replies. A couple had indentations such as “name of deceased:”.

    Nuance converted this fine as far as formatting and appearance but filling in information after the indentations was problematic. Word did not like long answers and wrapped the lines but would not allow proper indentation on subsequent lines. Nuance also converted numbered list strangely where it was difficult to edit the numbers in the list. This fault combined with the need to download the viewer and the Software Manager task always running in the background takes this down to a 6 or 7 in my book.

    Nitro is very good but 8 hour wait to receive the converted document by email. Way too long but I used this document after I gave up on Nuance.

    Lastly, I just reread the article before posting and tried PDFOnline (which I had missed) and it seems to have converted just as nicely as Nitro but immediately and without need to provide email address. Definitely, worth taking a look at this one. I’d suggest uploading to Nitro, as well, so you have a second option as a backup even if it takes awhile to get the document.

  • Peter

    hi,, would appear your article has been hacked.. the first link I tried sent me to a site that was a GET A DATE TONIGHT site.. this was the SYSTEM link in your first paragraph.. Haven’t checked the rest, but you might want to check out your doc for hacking..

  • MB

    pdf online timed out. said conversion time exceeded their server limit.

  • Anthony Goldstein

    Hi
    Thanks for your site and the information provided
    I tried the Nuance product off the link provided My download was 32Mb and is the Nuance PDF Reader 7 I did not find any other product to download — is there another?
    This product appears to cost $49 though it installed perfectly and a licence number was provided during the download after I filled in a survey — which I only noted when I was halfway through I could have avoided

    Main point it could you point me to the free facility

    Thanks
    Anthony Goldstein

  • mc

    Thanks for this article. Great post. I also found a site where you can convert pdf files to word and vice versa for FREE. Try http://www.pdftowordfiles.com/

  • Adam Smith

    Great, thanks for sharing, I’ve never found so many free PDF to Word converters, I always convert my pdf file with this website, http://www.pdftowordconverter.net/
    It’s also a free online pdf to word converter.

  • Pingback: Convertir pdf a Word / Convert pdf to Word « Smythsys's Weblog

  • giantslor

    I tried all these and more, and I found one better (at least for the one pdf I converted, with images, tables etc.)

    I’ll get to that, but first, the best of those listed (for my purposes anyway) are AnyBizSoft and NitroPDF. Both produced quite accurate results, and the documents were ready to edit. You could easily put your cursor in any blank cell to enter info.

    PDFonline was pretty good, but the results looked a little funky in places and some of the tables were not ready to edit. A little disappointing.

    Now, here’s my favorite so far: http://www.convertfiles.com/ I was not expecting much from a general-purpose file converting site, but the output on my document was pretty much perfect and easily editable. The file was also the smallest of any I tried except for one or two sites that converted to .docx (but weren’t as accurate/editable). Give it a try, no email necessary, and it’s fast.

    • Samer

      @ giantslor: thanks for the tip. I will make sure to look into this service in my next update of this page.

  • http://alkindle.blogspot.com/ Meem

    Is there any app can convert PDF files to Word or any for Arabic files ?

  • Rouffian

    Thanks Giantslor. That convertfiles.com site was actually the biggest surprise I have had in this field. It worked perfectly in a file with embedded tables, graphics within tables, graphic page numbering etc. Brilliant, fast and free.

  • Ruffy

    This is a best program… believe me i test many software all days and this is a best

  • http://genkeis.multiply.com Syamsul Arifin

    Great review :)
    Thanks

  • princesslilo

    PDFOnline sucks for me. I have my text embedded and when I upload it to Lulu it says the text is not embedded, plus the converter enlarges the paper size from 6 X 9 to Letter size. Really annoying!

  • Frank Cooper

    Wow. Great article! Saved me so much time. Just converted a 250 page shsat prep pdf via PDFOnline and the results are awesome. Basically converted the entire document to Word with all the tables and images exactly where they should be. Previously when I tried converting via Adobe Pro, I would just get a big pile of crap with random images and text boxes everywhere. Total Fail by Pro. Anyway, glad I came across your post and the sites you suggested and especially PDFOnline. Keep up the great work!

  • N

    Excellent Article. Thank you so much for sharing.!

  • panaroL

    thanks for writing such a useful article, and thanks to other commentators for sharing as well! pdfonline.com and convertfiles.com did the job for me! didn’t know there were good free pdf to word converters until i stumble upon this page. thanks!

  • http://www.at364.com Safwan

    well i went to pdfonline.com and uploaded a 19 MB file but it said that it could not be converted fully because of large size and that i have to buy the full version of software to continue!

  • Nelson

    Nuance PDF Reader does NOT work to convert pdf to Word. Trying to upload a file for conversion only results in an error message, saying “try again later”.

  • http://www.freewaregenius.com John

    i must say that it is perfect review of PDF converters, but you know it is a fact that many low cost and free PDF editors or converters don’t really do the job and their performance is not up to the mark. Some products look real fancy but worth nothing. I started using Classic PDF editor two months ago and i must tell you that i am really happy because it allows me to create, edit and convert PD files with full control in my hand. Not all freewares are good to use but some freewares are just awesome and you really did point the “awesomes” …thanks

  • Andrew

    Great set of reviews. Now that MS have moved to docx, anyone know of a good converter from pdf to docx, other than adobe get one free then pay option?

  • Ed Townes

    Nuance did a fine job basically, but – and maybe this is a known “issue” – a pretty straightforward “heart of the document” table requiring per cell entries was rendered as an image, hence useless.

    I had used the EscapePDF service – one that has the related purpose/function of letting one fill in a PDF online – no dealing with printing or US Postal service – and each cell was available for text entry. Oh well, if it were easy (and flawless), … Hey, maybe some day it will be!

    THANKS SO VERY MUCH for a super-thorough & informative survey.

  • Amit

    Hello, I have some web pages, their extension is (.xhtml). I want to convert them into pdf. In short (html to pdf).

    My 1st Preference is to Convert them Online. I have tried many (html to pdf) Online Services i.e. http://www.pdfcrowd.com & many more but no luck. lease suggest (Quality Conversion Free Online Service) like http://www.pdfonline.com, but it is not supporting online (html to pdf) conversion service.

    please Refer Converters also. Thanks

  • http://www.nemopdf.com PeterPatrickGo

    Here has another new PDF to Word converter free currently, named as Nemo PDF to Word converter. Here is the product address for your reference:
    http://www.nemopdf.com/pdf-to-word.html

  • http://www.meetcarolynblake.com Carolyn Blake

    Thank you for going to the trouble to write this review. I downloaded and installed the Smartsoft Free PDF to Word Converter. It works like a charm, exactly as you said. I have my own eBook and the original .doc file was lost. Saved me from retyping the entire book.

    • Samer

      @ Carolyn: you’re welcome!

  • http://www.all-crna-schools.com/ Joy

    Thank you so much for your review! Saved me a lot of time searching and made the decision easy for me. What a great service you offer!

  • tahere

    tank you very very much

  • Arthikin

    Eylo,
    The Information Is Great But Could You Also Help Me In How To Make One? Like What Software Will Be Used? Thanks

  • Nasorenga

    Tried to convert a 50-page PDF document at pdfonline.com. It only did two pages, told me I have to buy the desktop version to convert the whole document.

    • Samer

      @ Nasorenga: really? That’s too bad. I will double check this at the time of the next update of this article, and if that’s the case will probably remove pdfonline.com from the list.

  • Nasorenga

    I converted a PDF doc using Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft. It didn’t convert ligatures (fi, fl, ff) correctly, and also messed up double quotes. Example: “Modality-specific” was rendered as ªModality-speci®cº.

    Could be fixed with a simple global replace – except that the converter loses the word boundaries when it doesn’t recognize the words, e.g. first author becomes ®rstauthor.

  • Edwin

    Thank you for this article. Great post!

  • Haider

    You missed Abbyy PDF Transformer . Abby has one of the best OCR so would like to see it in the tests

  • http://www.godotmedia.com/ Godot

    Always love a detailed piece like this. Thanks for explaining it so well.

  • Mark Taylor

    I tried Nuance, but didn’t like it because you had to install their PDF reader (along with some other junk), then when you want to convert a pdf, you still had to upload the file to their web site to convert it. Sort of defeats the whole purpose of installing the software–keeping the document private. You have to wonder why they make you install their reader if you have to upload the pdf site to convert it. Why not just provide a web site like others do that you can convert the pdf without having to install software??

    Anyway… my primary goal was to convert the pdf as accurately as possible so that I could easily edit it using MS Word. Some converters do a good job of converting to Word for viewing and printing, but use frames making it hard to edit. Other online services restrict the size of the pdf to about 10-20 pages, so large pdfs can’t be easily converted.

    I finally tried Convert.Files that giantslor recommended. It was GREAT! I could edit the doc, no email was required, and it converted a large pdf over 300 pages very quickly. They also offer a number of conversion options including epub and mobi for mobile devices. The only drawback is they don’t offer software to allow you to convert files yourself. If they did, I’d probably purchase it so that I wouldn’t having to upload a private file to their website.

    OCR is not a problem for me because I have Adobe Acrobat Pro which does an execellent job of OCRing a pdf that is formatted as images. But Acrobat’s file conversion is practically useless, so that’s why I needed a better solution.

  • http://www.nurseanesthetistschoolsus.com Nurse Anesthetist Schools

    Thank you for going to the trouble to write this review. I downloaded and installed the Smartsoft Free PDF to Word Converter. It works like a charm, exactly as you said. I have my own eBook and the original .doc file was lost. Saved me from retyping the entire book.

  • http://www.revraycarter.com Ray

    The Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft was a stunningly successful converter. The program handled everything I asked it to do with speed and accuracy…both characteristics that I found lacking in many other programs I tried. Thanks for your review – it was quite accurate.

  • http://www.sicvita.com Wallace

    Most of the programs mentioned converted my 5 PDF files of a manuscript into single page images I could not edit. Nuance did a fair job but had a paragraph break after each line. Convert.files did the job and did it better than Nuance. Many thanks for the article and to the commentators.

    The other method that worked okay was to use HP Document Manager (on my HP computer or came with the printer). It will convert PDF to Wordpad (WPS). In WPS you can “save as” a Word document.

  • dear samer

    love your post. might I suggest that you arrange them in rank order so that we can read the best reviews only . thank you for a good service to humanity.

  • http://www.anysoftwaretools.com/ anysoftwaretools

    This is definitely the first most comprehensive software comparison test I have ever seen. You must have spent days even weeks to write down the great post. Really shocked…Will all software be free one day? I am expecting. Cheers

  • DMT

    Fantastic post, many thanks!

  • http://nurseanesthetistsalaryguide.com Nurse Anesthetist Salary

    Great review. You might want to look at CutePDF. It works with special characters and saved my life. It’s not easily visible on their crowded webpage but they do have a freeware app which saved my life!

  • Suzanne

    Brilliant review — very helpful analysis, and love all the user comments too.

  • Orlando

    Thank you so much for the recommendations. The Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft tool worked perfectly for me.

  • Keith Rand

    Thank you! It is so refreshing to find a comprehensive no-nonsense article with well-researched references and links that has been written by a knowledgeable person. It saves so much time – and time is money – tax dollars in this case! Thank you for sharing your evaluations.

  • Bill

    One aspect that was not addressed in your review was the conversion of equations. That is not a surprise, but adding it to your check in the future would be useful to engineers and scientists. I did find the text portion of PDFtoWORD online to be good, excluding equations. However, it thought my PDF was large and only converted part.

  • http://www.pdf-converter-macosx.com/ Mac

    Great post,Samer! I have tried several PDF converters before and gave my credits to Some PDF to Word Converter, it is simple and has fast conversion speed. i am still worried about the security issue with online services and it takes much longer to upload/convert a large PDF online. i am wondering which converter listed above can handle password protected PDF files.

  • http://www.flashconverterformac.com Mac Video to Flash Converter

    Thanks for your great article. It’s helpful to me.

  • Michelle K

    The one you rated highest, PDF to Word Online, did not work for any of the 3 files I tried. I tried both with and without graphics and the one without graphics opened to a blank doc. The one with a chart graphic and words, converted everything except the important chart. Very disappointed.

  • http://arkimedes.org Max

    I think this article needs a little revision with regards to Koolwire:
    “Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    Kool Converter not available anymore
    Dear Kool Converter user,
    we regret to inform you that we have decided, after a few years of activity, to dismiss the Kool Converter services and focus our attention on the Kool Messenger services only.”

    Tried http://www.pdfonline.com but it complains that there are too many users right now

    • Samer

      @ Max: thanks for the tip. I am planning a revision sometime in the next few months.

  • Steve

    Excellent article.

    I tried several mediocre .pdf converters before I found this article. Then I tried Nuance and PDF to Word Online as they were top rated. Both were better than the other products I had tried.

    I felt Nuance did a slightly more accurate job than PDF to Word Online. Also, Nuance converted my whole document while PDF to Word gave me 42 pages and then asked me to buy the full version.

  • steve

    Avira will not let me download Free OCR.net, due to the risk of the software being a virus or other malicious software. Please comment. Thanks.

  • Mike Soriano

    You could also try http://www.doc2pdf.net/PDF2Word. It is totally free, and works very well.

  • Stig Andersen

    A very good review. Thanks.

    Regarding the free service ‘PDF to Word’ Online Converter; I tried it a number of times. It will often be ‘busy’ and I’ve never been able to get a full document back. I uploaded a very simple 21 page report and they will return anything between 4 and 8 pages. Too bad as the few pages I get looks really good. The free client-side version will only let you convert three pages for a period of 15 days. You need to pay the $20.

    Thought I’d mention this.

    Again, thanks for you effort.

    BR
    Stig Andersen

  • David

    Would be VERY helpful to show a converted copy of your original test file with each review.

  • Kimwong

    I prefer free online PDF Converter. I’ve try both http://www.pdfonline.com/index.htm and http://www.free-pdftoword.com/. Both of them are great, easy and convenient, and with excellent output converted files.
    Recommended. Please add the second one to this great tip. Thanks Samer and this article.

  • Kimwong

    I prefer free online PDF Converter. I’ve try both http://www.pdfonline.com/index.htm and http://www.free-pdftoword.com/. Both of them are great, easy and convenient, and with excellent output converted files.
    Recommended. Please add the second one to this great tip. Thanks Samer and this article.

  • http://inderdeepgill.tumblr.com inderdeep gill

    I have a file from BBH which is a PDF file, but they required me to fill in the form on the actual reader.

    When I e-mailed it back they’re receiving blank pdf files – I contacted Adobe (I was using Preview on Mac) and they told me its because edited pdf files cannot be saved but only printed.

    BBH told me to convert the pdf file into a word file and re-send it… only thing is when I do this the structure gets all messed up.

    All the conversion sites send me back an .txt or .rtf file which makes it unreadable.

    Is there any way for me to email you this file for conversion? Please any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • Greg

    WOW everyone one of the online sites tried to convert my file and it came back “unable to convert due to file size”. 35 pages long and 2Meg size.

    Guess it is back to the drawing board.

    Thanks for the nice article and work in the comparison.

  • Vladimir

    One drawback about PDF to Word Online is that it does not let you convert large documents for free

  • Anonymous

    Free PDF to Word Converter from SmartSoft&:
    doesn’t convert non-Latin (e.g., Cyrillic) characters.
    PDF to Word Online copes with that greatly, and leaves the colours and fonts unchanged.

  • Suzanne

    Samer, this is a BRILLIANT article, thanks very much for your time and comparison skills.

    Inderdeep, to fill in such a PDF you need a program that will edit the PDF itself, e.g., Adobe Acrobat, in a version that is compatible with the version of the PDF file.

    You can try printing the filled in PDF to a PDF printer, e.g., Primo from Nitro PDF … but that does not always work.

    Finally, fill in the form, print it to an actual printer, then scan it back in (cumbersome, yes, but … this _will_ work), and find an OCR program to convert it back to PDF or Word or whatever. Then send that, or send the scanned document.

    Kind regards, all,
    SM

  • Gorky
  • Joecooltherealone

    Why didn’t you review pdf995 and Omniformat?

  • Anon

    Suggest to go the extra mile and include a table of comparison of these software services in regards to OCR, handling image, text, hyperlinks, tables etc with tick, cross, average, good, excellent ratings.

    excellent article by the way!! thanks.

  • bboyjkang

    Is there any reason why Smart Soft’s “Free PDF to Word Converter” would make the outputted Word doc 6 times the size of the PDF. Also, what do you call it when all lines of text have a dotted rectangle around it? Smart Soft’s “Free PDF to Word Converter” does this. Even after turning off “Text Boundaries”, a dotted rectangle would remain. Doing a replace command of “. ” into “.^l” (“period space” to “period new-line”) for sentence segmentation caused some weird text over-lapping.

    gDoc Creator stopped working a short while after starting the conversion.

    Do you think you can review FM Software Studio’s desktop PDF-to-Word software, “FM PDF To Word Free”? I just followed the link that Gorky posted.
    http://www.fm-pdf.com/pdf-to-word-free.html
    I just tested it, and there’s no dotted rectangle around the text, like in Smart Soft’s converter. I only tested “FM PDF To Word Free” on a few PDFs so far. On 1 conversion, the pictures were missing, and on another conversion, I got a “handle is invalid” error, but so far, it’s the only desktop PDF-to-Word software that kind of worked for me. There were no text boundaries, or text over-lapping when the conversion went through.

    Please update the list, and mention FM Software Studio’s software as a desktop option if you believe that it performs adequately.

    I really appreciate the work put into reviewing all the conversion options, both by online and by desktop.

  • bboyjkang

    Could you also take a look at “Free PDF to Word Doc Converter” at http://www.hellopdf.com/ ?
    The reviews on CNet say that it’s terrible. I just tested it, and it’s definitely not great. It has those rectangle text boundaries, with no continuous stream of text, a characteristic that you mentioned, and it has some other weird things going on.

    However, I think it’s worth mentioning, even if it’s awful because it’s a noble effort:
    “Frequently Asked Questions
    Why PDF to Word Doc Converter is FREE?
    One day when I was looking for a free desktop program to convert my .pdf files to .doc files I found none. And the shareware pdf conversion software is very expensive. So in my spare time I wrote this free program to help people who want to convert PDF to Word documents.”

    It’s just 1 person. This could be one of the best chances at getting an open-source PDF-to-Word software project going. I’d definitely learn the code if I had access to it.

  • bboyjkang

    Woops again. An open-source PDF-manipulation project already exists:
    Apache PDFBox – Java PDF Library
    The Apache PDFBox™ library is an open source Java tool for working with PDF documents. This project allows creation of new PDF documents, manipulation of existing documents and the ability to extract content from documents. Apache PDFBox also includes several command line utilities.
    Features
    • PDF to text extraction
    • Merge PDF Documents
    • PDF Document Encryption/Decryption
    • Lucene Search Engine Integration
    • Fill in form data FDF and XFDF
    • Create a PDF from a text file
    • Create images from PDF pages
    • Print a PDF
    http://pdfbox.apache.org/

    It can’t do a full-fledged PDF-to-Word conversion, but maybe 1 day it will.

  • Rob Carmody

    The in depth review is well written (even I can follow it).

    The use I put this information to is quite modest, but now I can copy web pages into Word & not

    stare blankly at Pdf. filled screens, which are inoperable to me.

    What a relief.

    Thank you so much.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this very detailed and nuanced review. It was exactly what I needed.

  • hamid

    hi i from iran
    i need software until convert english to persian
    tnx

  • samir shah

    When I use PDF to Word Online, it converts the table of contents and headers and footers to text. I have to reformat the whole word document to get it looking right. Is there an easier way?

    Thanks

  • Jim (Rubah)

    I believe Google.com has a translator, — now becoming linked into Gmail.

  • Alan

    Thank you for this PDF conversion to Word update. I converted 143 KB .PDF to Word: ConvertFiles.com created a 28 KB file.
    PDFonline.com created a 158 KB file.
    Both were fast and efficient. Both exhibited high resolution.
    I deleted the large file. ;)

  • vion77

    I think that the best free PDF to Word converter is Wondershare PDF Converter.
    You can download it for free from:
    http://www.conversionepdf.com/pdf-in-word-gratis.html
    or
    http://www.wondershare.it/pdf-converter/index.html

    ;-)

  • http://go4convert.com Alena

    The PDF convertor to different formats is quite difficult question and need more time to make processing of PDF more opened from pdf standards and copatibility.
    You can check the online resource: http://go4convert.com
    It converts to DOCX, EPUB and FB2 from PDF for free

  • GIlbert

    gDoc Creator IS NOT FREE!!! They are liars. When you use it there is a bookmark on all pages. If you want to use it you must pay. It is not what I call a freeware. They are liars!!!

    • Samer

      @ gilbert: we are working on an update for this article. If gDoc creator indeed adds a watermark we will exclude them from the new list.

  • Jim

    Cannot wait for your latest update. The one glaring omission from your excellent previous would appear to be detail of final file sizes? I have had little success with desktop programmes without increasing file size substantially. A 2.5MB pdf file has grown in Word to 239MB (Some) & 2.46GB (SmartSoft)?
    Note also the results of online conversions reported by ‘Alan’ above – file size has to be an important issue for consideration?
    Regards and thanks for an excellent job

    • Fred Thompson

      Be careful with file size comparisons. PDF is a version of Postscript page definition language which has absolute placement of elements and support for vectors. Word does not. Smaller size does not always indicate a better conversion, especially if you want to edit/modify the document.

  • hiller

    I tried item 10(PDF to Word Online:) on a PDF math document. It failed to translate the inequality sign , <

  • sam

    Does anybody out there know about a PDF -to-doc converter that does math docs ?

  • Tono Witono

    I think this software is good for all

  • Scott Youngman

    I just tried Wondershare online. It wouldn’t let me download the resulting Word file because the time was “past 24 hours” — even though it was only a few minutes after I had uploaded the PDF. I tried this twice and had the same result. Perhaps it was because I was using Opera web browser. I succeeded on the third attempt by having the Word file sent to my email address.

    • Samer

      @ Scott: yes, I had that happen to me. At the time I thought it was because I had converted that same document earlier, so I changed its name and it worked. See if that works for you.
      Otherwise, I would recommend the desktop version of Wondershare, which actually has slightly better results, and doesn’t limit you to 10 megs upload.

  • Chuck

    Please clarify your listing of Wondershare as free. In fact, it’s a 15-day demo that costs $29.95.

    • Samer

      Chuck: the link I am providing above is to an older version of Wondershare PDF to Word (v.3.5) that is provided in FULL version for free on the CNET website.
      http://download.cnet.com/Wondershare-PDF-to-Word/3000-2079_4-10920472.html

      If you scroll down to the ‘Quick specs’ sidebar on the page above, under price you will see ‘Free; $29.95 to buy (Buy it now)’. The one you download on the site is the free full version 3.5, but you cannot use it commercially as I indicated above. If you buy it you get the latest version (3.6) which has more features etc.

      I hope this clears it.

      • Chuck

        Samer: apologies. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Gama

    i try almost all of the offline & online converter
    all come to failed to convert my insurance claim form
    even a simple text is converted to some wierd ascii
    what a bummer

  • jasray

    Great article that led me to test a few of the free alternatives as well.

    1. First PDF – flawless with tables and text boxes formatted correctly in a 22 page PDF.
    2. Nemo PDF to Word – good, but tables were off.
    3. Free PDF to Word – good, but tables were off.
    4. PDF 2 Word Converter – okay, tables and other random errors.
    5. FM PDF to Word Free – the worst out of the bunch; all the text/tables/boxes, etc. were off.

  • karim

    Wondershare desktop does NOT work on my W7 SP1 32bits !!!

    All PDF files come out as .docx…but when i open i get “corrupt file message”. Tried with 4 types of pdf.
    i can open them using wordpad 2010…but it is messy….what the HELL???? no one is complaining about the program that GOT 9/10 !!!
    WHAT is the problem ?????????????????????

    ps: i also get the same with the online application of wondershare !!!!!…..

    my pdf DO get converted if i use another program…..but i wanted the best desktop one !!!!!

  • rupali

    Loved your article.. It helped me a lot in identifying best coverter.
    Thanks

  • Bob

    Thank you for your generosity in providing this information. It is very well organized and clear.

    My need for PDF-to-Word conversion is to extract portions of Company information from multiple pages on their website, and condense it to key points. This means I want to copy PDF docs, Convert, extract paragraphs, and edit in a Word doc.

    The desktop apps, even the highest rated one, has either carriage returns or is in a not easily edited format. The online services have their size restrictions.

    Thanks again for creating this page, as it saved me so much research time, and no doubt contains info I would never have found on my own.

  • Paul Bartholomew

    Thanks so much for this excellent article = it saved me a lot of work.

  • http://www.pdfmate.com Ariel

    Very detailed explanation on PDF to word converters free. It helps our users choose the suitable tool to do PDF word conversion in a more convenient way. Thanks a lot!
    But it seems that there is not any information on what kind of word document it converts, *.doc or *.docx?
    I also know a free pdf to word converter desktop program named PDFMate Free PDF Converter. http://www.pdfmate.com/pdf-converter-free.html
    The word file it converted is in *.doc format. The conversion quality of the word file is very good.

  • Peter

    Great listing, can you or anyone else point me to a similar analysis for Macs ?
    I suppose the online servies are OK for Mac users, but am looking for an application.

    Thanks
    Peter

  • http://jnlyyREpPR2j rekha

    i need written coding program not downloaded or online converting software plz will u send the program of original.not softwrae.

  • http://www.tombush.co.uk/ Tom Bush

    None of these are able to get readable text out of the PDF I am trying to convert — is this perhaps something to do with the fact that the original was rendered via PS from a LaTeX source? Could it be a font thing?

  • adr

    wondershare is limited to 5 (only FIVE !!!!) pages in the free trial version – -comm’on, dudes,
    don’t waist or time to download and on… !!! put this information on the “weakness”

  • Jeff Kang

    Thanks a lot for the third update.

    From my little experience with the PDF-to-word software companies that you provided, I think PDF-to-word from NitroPDF, and BCL easyConverter Desktop are a couple of the best converters.

    I had trouble with online services because my PDFs were a tad large. NitroPDF could have the best program, but it’s expensive for just using it for PDF-to-word (it’s $100, and meant to compete with Acrobat X Standard, which is $300). BCL easyConverter Desktop is cheaper at $20, but is it as accurate as NitroPDF?. Wondershare PDF to Word Converter is also cheap, but I didn’t have much success with it. I also didn’t like how Wondershare would give discounts for phony reviews. In addition to learning about the products, read up on the companies too.

  • S. Reeve

    Excellent review, thank you! Certainly cleared up my confusion and let me choose the converter that is best for my needs. Beats googling and hoping the one you download is going to work and not gonig to fill your laptop with viruses!

  • Peter

    I use http://convertonlinefree.com/PDFToWORDEN.aspx and result is excellent

  • Gennady

    Fast and precise PDF to Word online-service: http://www.pdftoword.us

    It would be good if you will review this service into next article release, it’s seems it may appear in three of the best.

  • Anonymous

    wondershare is a 15 day trial with watermarks. please take it off your list.
    pdfonline only converts 7 pages. not really worthy of a review.

    • Samer Kurdi

      Hmmm. Its true. They removed the previous version reviewed above, which was not a 15 day trial. Too bad for them, because I will remove Wondershare from the list in the next update.

  • karen

    An excellent review thank you. Detailed and thorough. I’m currently trying different options of my Graphic Design CV to compare the results. As it is a design CV it contains both fonts and subtle graphics, some embedded different fonts (from my Mac and Adobe Acrobat). I know already, these won’t be available on a general PC ‘Word’ version so I’ll still have to convert some elements manually which is frustrating and diminishes the visual quality of my original CV. Would you believe that here in the UK the useless Government’s Universal JobMatch site cannot accept pdf document CVs for upload whereas most other agencies can do so? Hence, for now, my need to produce a non-professional (at least, in the design industry) Word CV!

  • reedbeed

    I downloaded Nuance PDF Reader so I could use the converter mentioned here. I doesn’t work, click on ‘convert pdf’ and it just loads the pdf into Paperport viewer Plus. I phoned Nuance, and read out part of your review to them. They said that it was quuite untrue that one could convert pdf’s on their web site.

    What waste of time!

  • http://www.markschellhammer.com Mark Schellhammer

    Beware of Wondershare. It downloads the whole program “free” right? Then you have to register, then PAY. Also, it downloads an Optimizer program that pops up and doesn’t go away once you uninstall Wondershare. And my computer went blue on me once already (hasn’t done that for years) so I would be very leery about using Wondershare. May have a malware in it.

    • Samer Kurdi

      Mark. It was different when this article was last updated. You actually downloaded a fully working version then, elbeit not the latest version that was being sold. I will write to Wondershare to see if they would provide an older version for free again, and if not I will remove them from the list.

  • Andy B.

    You can also try to use an online converter: http://kitpdf.com/. It converts pdf to text and then you can paste it to word.

  • http://schivmeister.wordpress.com Ray

    Wondershare no longer provides this free version (it is a 15-day trial, and there is no “free” mentioned anywhere). Please remove it from this list.

    • Ashcro11

      I agree, if something is “Free to Try” then it should not be included. Thanks!

    • SamerKurdi

      Removed it from the latest update Oct 3rd 2013.

  • bob

    So many tools are out there. I believe http://www.htm2pdf.co.uk to have the best HTML to PDF conversion out there, but not to Word unfortunately…

  • Adam

    Thanks very much for your comprehensive review. A lot of time and thought went into this. Based on your recommendations I used convert.files, and it worked beautifully, and converted the document in about 45 seconds. I am still waiting on the first site I tried to send me an e-mail.

    One comment regarding software that is no longer offered: sometimes you can get it at archive.org, if they visited the website and were able to see while they were archiving it. Forget about support if you can only find the software on archive.org, but if you’re looking for the best program ever written and it’s not normally available any more, a small chance that archive.org is better than no chance at all.

  • GeekWhenTVsHadTransistors

    Good site and good work. I’m bookmarking this. Can’t find anything that handles equations though.

  • GeekWhenTVsHadTransistors

    Finally found solution. Used http://www.splitpdf.com/ to split the pdf file into individual pages. Then inserted word “object”, choose “Adobe Acrobat Reader”, then navigate to pdf page. OK, it doesn’t convert, but it gets it into a word document. Unless you want to edit it, this is close enough.

  • BenjaminDe

    Thanks for the review! Another good PDF to DOC online converter is http://www.coolutils.com/Online/PDF-Converter/ But it can do only one PDF at a time, no batch processing.

  • Maggie

    Yes, its free, but only for 5 pages. I don’t think is quite useful. Here are some totally free pdf tools, such as pdf merger, pdf splitter, pdf to html, and pdf to image. All for free on http://www.kvisoft.com/

  • Brandon

    You can use PDF Burger to convert PDF to Word online: http://pdfburger.com/pdf-to-word
    It’s free!

  • Drake

    DO NOT try to download the wondershare its full of viruses you should remove it from this page

  • yearmore

    i don’t want to buy pdf converter, so i am using free trial of the pdf to word converter in c#. now i am searching for free open source :
    http://www.rasteredge.com/how-to/csharp-imaging/pdf-convert-word/

  • Rita

    PDFMate PDF Converter is also a pretty good free converter I think.
    http://www.pdfmate.com/pdf-converter-free.html

  • kumatron

    Call me sceptic but I wouldn’t trust the outcome of any of this tools until I see it with my own eyes! SmartSoft Free PDF to Word Coverter did a wonderful job and as I see, its the less functional of all of them. GREAT POST! Thanks for the info

  • NeilM

    UniPDF (unipdf.com) is a desktop application that’s worth a look. I haven’t tested it much but it did a good job with the docs I tried. Also read a good review elsewhere on it.

    • SamerKurdi

      Wow. Indeed, an excellent desktop converter. I will now have to go back and update this article again, to include this one. Thanks for the tip!

      • Fred Thompson

        Yes, NeilM is fully correct. I’ve been using UniPDF for months. It’s almost as good as my favorite paid app; Able2Extract Pro. UniPDF handles complex structures such as tables very well. The created Word files are also pretty easy to edit.

        • John S

          Very useful and comprehensive post BUT!!

          ** !! Be warned!! I downloaded unipdf and was annoyed to see that it comes with a number of gatecrashers most of which I blocked at the door, one of which I missed – Tubesaver. I then started to see popups for all sorts of crap. I removed all elements of Tubesaver (a known malware agent) from my PC. The pop ups continued. I then used Malwarebytes to do a deep scan it identified further problems in the residue of Unipdf on my system – I removed it – no further problems.

          I am surprised that this slipped through your checks. I have had so much excellence from Freewaregenius that I now feel quite shocked.

          • SamerKurdi

            @ John: you are right, it does come bundled with crapware. I listed this in the ‘weaknesses’ section for that program. However, as bundled crapware goes, all the extra stuff can be easily disabled. I installed UniPDF on multiple machines without problem, unchecking the extra stuff during the install.

            This sort of thing has become very much standard with a lot of free software, unfortunately.

            • John S

              @ Samer. Thanks and I am sorry that I did not read your review thoroughly enough, I just saw the pros. I think I was half asleep when I installed. I thought I had trapped everything but this crept through. However It was quite a nasty bit of crapware. I do counsel prospective users to be very careful because it is a real pain untangling oneself afterwards.

          • Fred Thompson

            I’ve used UniPDF for months and never saw such things. The installer did attempt an external connection which I allowed but no cruft was evident at all. Granted, I use a blocking host file, Spybot and SpywareBlaster. You can also use UniExtract or a similar util to decompress the installer and get the 11 files that comprise UniPDF.

    • SamerKurdi

      Added it to the article!
      (At number 1).

  • Merly

    Why didn’t you include http://convertstandard.com/PDF2Word.aspx I use it every day.

  • siro

    How did this article spam my RSS feed with 16 posts (each for another program)?

    That was really annoying. I really cherry pick blogs that have a good utility/posts ratio, and this was unexpected.

    • SamerKurdi

      Sorry. I created a page for each tool mentioned in the article, and did not realize that they would be publishing on the RSS feed (I thought only posts were publishing not pages).

  • Convert files to PDF

    The guideline of convert pdf to word file is easy and help for them who want to convert. Besides i want to mentioned that it is more easy by using one website which is http://pdfburger.com

    • Abilash

      Thanks a lot! I really liked the web to pdf feature (It is quite buggy though).

  • astral_cyborg

    wow, thanks again for the information. very useful

  • tredsaivsuk

    You forgot Calibre that his better than all the solution in the article

    • SamerKurdi

      Actually, I didn’t. Calibre’s PDF to Word conversion was so disappointing that I excluded it from the article. Perhaps thinks have changed since I tested it, since you are giving it such an endorsement. I will take another look at it.

  • Andrew

    Any reason why it might not work? When i converted text was completely garbled i used uniPDF. Does size of file have an impact?

  • Lweinc

    Thank you for the research and information.

  • ThomasB

    One thing you do not mention, at least in the parts I have seen: language. Do the conversions of text work as well with texts written in languages other than English: French, German, Italian, to name just a few?

  • tara88

    Recently I was REALLY low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this!! – 6hm7

    • Helper3

      moron, this has nothing to do with this topic, stop posting spam

  • Zephyr

    Thank you – fantastic review!

  • http://wordpressassistants.com/ Wordpress Assistant

    Here you can find the best pdf converter

  • http://wordpressassistants.com/ Wordpress Assistant

    Adobe Acrobat Pro is a good pdf editor.

  • SB

    I installed unipdf on your recommendation and have ended up with the search.conduit malware on my machine. Warning to others. Be careful. (In addition the software didnt convert my document properly)

  • Daniel Moscovitch

    I recently discovered Convertii….really cool free/cloud-based converter! convertii.com

  • http://www.yiigo.com/guides/vbnet/ Thomas Smith

    Wow, thanks for sharing us with this comprehensive info for PDF! That’s so helpful. Here’s another PDF converter tool:
    http://www.yiigo.com/guides/vbnet/how-to-pdf-convert.shtml

  • kim

    i dont know why after i finish dowloading my word from PDF file, when i open the word file . it’s still the images . can any one help? i use windows

    • SamerKurdi

      @ Kim: this is most likely because your original PDF file was created via scanning a document, rather than published digitally. What you need is OCR conversion (Optical Character Recognition). Two tools that do this for free are mentioned above: NuancePDF and Convert.Files. See if they might work for you.

  • irv englander

    Downloaded and installed Unipdf. Tried to convert a 12 page pdf file. The converted file crashes libreoffice 3.4, writer both in .doc and .rtf. The .rtf file will open successfully in wordpad, but of course that’s not a convenient way to work.

  • Alex

    I am using this one http://www.filesgang.com/software/cad.kas.pdf.editor

    It’s an editor but it works very well for converting too.

  • Gill

    Thanks so much for this information! I was despairing about having to completely re-format a bunch of 20 page documents with lots of tables, images, and text, after 123 PDF Converter made a complete hash job of them. My avast antivirus wouldn’t even let UniPDF install due to all the crapware it’s loaded with.

    Based on your reviews, I used ConvertOnlineFree.com and the conversions were nearly perfect. You saved me hours of work :)

  • johnphlip96

    Nice post, But, would you like to more reliable secure and safe PDF to word converter software, you can use Kernel for PDF to Word Converter Tool. This software quickly convert multiple PDF file to word file format, just s single conversion click.

  • Red Rooster

    Well, considering UniPDF is “free”, the extend you get inundated with highly likely unwanted toolbars and search engine changers is a bit of a let-down for what otherwise seems to be a nice piece of software. :-(

  • Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for this awesome write-up! I need one of these for part of my job, and UniPDF was exactly what I needed.
    For the record, I think the crapware that people have been referring to that come with it comes from the Softonic site that they’ve partnered with. I didn’t even get that one, as it is a “Softonic Downloader for UniPDF”, which I really just read to mean infection vector.
    CNet has a clean installer, and I honestly just found that by searching “UniPDF installer” and picking the first one that didn’t look hokey.
    Hope that helps as much as this artcile helped me, thanks again!

  • yetunde aladejana

    i used the convertonlinefree for PDF to word. my document had a mix of tables and text and it was a perfect conversion. Thanks for the dependable information you share!!!Grateful.

  • Zen Thompson

    http://twitter.com/ZenThompson14/status/526582393855934464
    Here is a way can help you Edit / Annotate / Convert and Create PDFs