The PDF file format is a handy document format if you want present a document that includes text formatting and imagery, in a format that will look the same no matter which computer or printer it’s viewed on. However, that flexibility to make it view the same everywhere makes it hard to edit and save everywhere.
Adobe Acrobat Professional has been the standard for PDF editing for many years (which makes sense, considering Adobe created the format) and is still very popular today because of its power and flexibility. But since the PDF file format is an open format, did you know you could do basic editing, conversion and saving of PDFs from within Microsoft Word? Here’s how you do it.
Open Up a PDF in Word
First off, we should be clear that converting from PDFs to Word works better on some documents than on others. Simple, text-heavy documents are going to work better than graphic-laden documents with complicated layouts. However, if your goal is just to get the text out of a PDF, this will work perfectly.
So open up Word and head up to “File > Open” just like you’d open up any other Word document. Browse the folder that contains the files you’re looking for. As you can see, the file list will show both PDFs and Word documents.
Click on the document you’re looking to open. You’ll likely be greeted by this disclaimer, basically stating what we mentioned above: That this will work best on text-heavy documents and the layout may be different when it shows up in Word.
Go ahead and hit “OK” and let it chug away, and you will be presented with your document:
If the document was originally created in Word, it will convert back from a PDF to Word fairly nicely (like the above). However, if you convert a PDF that has a bunch of complicated tables and other layout tweaks, things can get weird with the layout, so be aware:
Save a Word Document as PDF
Word can save to a PDF, no additional software required. And it does a great job of maintaining your layout in Word when it creates the PDF. We use the “Save to PDF” functionality in Word quite a bit to export complicated sign-up forms and such. So after you’re done making your Word document perfect, open up the “File > Export” and select “Create PDF/XPS Document”.
Save the document where needed and go! You now have a fully functional PDF copy of your Word document.