PDF to Word Free is a free web service that offers high-quality conversions of PDF files to DOC or RTF formats that can be used in Microsoft word or other Rich Text Editors. It lets you upload PDF files through a web interface and will then send the converted file via email as an attachment.
I have looked at a number of free PDF to DOC/RTF conversion options (see the previously published comparative test). I will say straight off the bat that this is the most impressive free conversion service that I have come across; their slogan “the most accurate PDF to Word converter”, at least when it comes to free conversion services, is right on the money.
I will qualify this statement a little but by saying that this is still in private beta and therefore it is hard to determine whether it will eventually suffer from some of the reliability and/or server overload issues that afflict some other similar services (such as Koolwire which I have recommended elsewhere).
Please note that the developers have generously offered to make private-beta invites available for Freewaregenius readers. Check the “registration” section at the bottom of this posting under “Compatibility” for the invite code.
I used this service to convert a number of documents that contain a number of elements: images, tables, hyperlinks, bullets, numbered-lists, and various text formatting. Here are more notes on this service (as well as results):
- Max uploadable file size: is 10 megs. For larger files you might want to split these into manageable parts using something like PDF Split and Merge or PDFTK Builder.
- Performance: very fast. The email with the converted file arrived in a manner of minutes. It would be interesting to see if this will change once the service is out of private beta and is handling a higher level of traffic and conversion requests.
- Image handling: was excellent. The images were imported and placed correctly within the document (even for images inside tables). No non-image elements such as tables or formatting were converted to images (which sometimes happens in other programs/services).
- Tables: handles tables perfectly; the DOC file actually contained an editable table in the right place. This is the only free service/program of its kind that does this as far as I know.
- Handling of text and/or text boxes: produced a continuous text uninterrupted by carriage returns at the end of each line and without being dispersed into random floating text boxes (all of which may be encountered in other conversion services). The resulting text is perfectly suited for editing with MS Word or a similar editor.
- Handling of text formatting: easily the best I have ever seen. Shading in tables was handled correctly, as was font style and color. Most bulleted points and numbered list were correct, although there were some discrepancies here but they were few and far between. It even correctly created working hyperlinks that correspond to the original PDF.
- Handling of special characters: I frequently get asked about a PDF to DOC converter that can handle foreign characters (such as Russian) correctly. I did not test for this myself so please let me know how this service fares in this respect if you test it yourself.
The verdict: in terms of conversion quality this is hands down the best free PDF to DOC/RTF converter that I have seen; there is simply nothing that comes close. What remains to be seen, however, is how reliable the service will be once it is officially launched and inundated with conversion requests. I am hopeful that they will handle the logistics with the same care and attention that they have poured into the product itself. Simply terrific!
Version Tested: beta.
Compatibility: browser based.
Registration: use the invite code “nitro” and a working email address to register (you may need to wait up to an hour or so). If the invite code does not work then it is probably because they’ve maxed out on beta invites they are giving out and you may need to wait for the official launch.
Go to the PDF to Word Free page to use this service.