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How to Convert a Scanned PDF Document to Word

Converting a scanned PDF document to Word format is similar to converting other image files to Word. However, there are differences in each program and the process can be made faster by doing some preparation before you start the task.

So you have a PDF, but it’s not editable and you need to edit it. Before converting your PDF to Word, decide whether you want to convert the file or just print it. If your search uses words like “convert” or “print,” then use “Convert a scanned PDF document.” If your search includes words like “print” or “view,” then use “Print a scanned PDF document.”

If you have ever had to do a scan-to-pdf conversion you know that not all PDF documents are editable. This is because the conversion process can’t interpret the original document correctly. To avoid this problem, and make scanned/scanned pdf documents editable, there are some special tricks that you need to implement before starting the conversion process.

In this article, we show how to convert scanned PDF documents or even images of a text document into editable Microsoft Word® files. Admittedly, there are quite a few different ways to reach this end result, but we will describe one method that uses some free online services in an easy-to-follow manner.

Convert Scanned PDF To Word

When scanning a document, oftentimes, instead of containing text, the PDF contains an image of the scanned content. In order to work with the text, copy and paste, and use it, you can convert the scanned PDF to Word. Find out how to turn your scan into an editable Microsoft Word document.

How to convert a Scanned PDF to Word?

Scanned PDF to Word
  1. Open PDF2Go and go to the PDF to Word converter.
  2. Upload your file. You can do so via drag and drop into the purple box, choosing it from Dropbox or Google Drive, or your hard drive.
  3. Enable Convert with OCR. Improve the result by selecting the language(s) of your scanned document.
  4. Optional: Change the Word file format if it suits your needs.
  5. Start the conversion.

Is this converter free?

All features of PDF2Go are, in their basic usage, free. This also includes the scanned PDF to Word converter. There are only a few limitations, such as a file size limit of 100 MB, and the simultaneous conversion of three files (for free registered users it’s five files).

Are my scans safe?

On PDF2Go we do whatever we can to guarantee the safety of your scans. All servers and connections for the upload and download of your files are encrypted using 256-bit SSL encryption. This makes the transfer of your files between your device and our servers safe and secure.

The link with which you can download your converted Word document is non-guessable and expires after 24 hours or 10 downloads, whichever occurs first. Your files are not manually checked by us and the rights maintain with you at all times.

Technique 1. Copy text and tables from PDF to Word without Adobe

Works best when you need just a piece of text or a single table copied quickly.

Step 1. Open a PDF in FineReader 15 with “Open PDF Document”:

Screenshot Practice 1 Step 1

Alternatively, just double-click on the PDF (if you have FineReader set as a default PDF program).

Step 2. Select text or a table with the mouse and click “Copy as Text” or “Copy as Table” buttons that appear:

Screenshot Practice 1 Step 2: copy table from PDF to Word

Step 3. Paste copied text of table into a Word document and start editing!

Screenshot Practice 1 Step 3

Being the quickest way to extract a piece of text or a table from a PDF, with FineReader this way works equally well both for digital and scanned PDFs.

Technique 2. Convert PDF to Word as a whole document

This method works best to import PDF into Word as a whole document, making all its content, structure and formatting available for further editing.

Step 1. Right-click on the PDF document and choose “Convert with FineReader 15” -> “Convert to Microsoft Word” from the menu:

Screenshot Practice 2 Step 1: choose Convert PDF to Word document

Step 2. Choose where to save the document converted to Word and click “Save”:

Screenshot Practice 2 Step 2

Step 3.  FineReader 15 opens PDF in Word, and you can start editing it there:

Screenshot Practice 2 Step 3

This works excellently to open scanned PDF in Word as well, not only digital ones.

Technique 3. Convert multiple PDFs to Word at once

You may need to convert many PDF documents to Word at once. In this case, follow these steps:

Step 1. Select all PDFs you need to convert (holding Shift button), right-click on them and choose “Convert with FineReader 15” -> “Convert to Microsoft Word” from the menu:

Screenshot Practice 3 Step 1

Step 2. By default, the PDFs are converted into the corresponding number of separate Microsoft Word files. You can choose to import PDF files all into one Word document using “Combine all files into one document” option. In this case, use “Move Up” and “Move Down” buttons if you need to adjust the order in which the content of the PDFs appears in the resulting Word document. Then, click “Convert to Word”:

Screenshot Practice 3 Step 2

Step 2a. Choose where to save the conversion results:

Screenshot Practice 3 Step 2a

Step 3. Edit resulting document (or documents) in Word:

Screenshot Practice 3 Step 3

This way you can also convert scanned PDFs to Word – for example, pages of the same document, or mixed set of digital and scanned documents.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is considered to be the most reliable file format when it comes to distributing documents and preserving the formatting. PDF can be easily opened on any device whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or computer. But converting a PDF to Word becomes challenging as often most of the PDF converters can’t contain the same alignment in Word as it was in PDF.

If the PDF document is in a language that’s not widely used such as Tamil and Hindi etc., then this issue creates troubles because most of the PDF converters don’t recognize these languages. In this article, you will learn how to convert PDF to Word without losing formatting.

Solution 1: Convert PDF to Word without Losing Formatting with PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement – PDF Editor is a tool that can help a user to read, edit, annotate, sign, fill and share PDFs across multiple users over the internet. It’s an all one tool that offers you the necessary functionalities you may need while dealing with PDF documents.

It’s a really reliable tool, let’s have a look at some of Its features:TRY IT FREE

Features of Wondershare PDFelement – PDF Editor

  • OCR enables it to read text and formats from scanned documents. Often documents that are scanned aren’t in a well readable format.
  • More than 23 different languages can be recognized by PDFelement so that you can convert PDF files in any language to word without losing formatting.
  • You can convert tables to Word in their original format.
  • You can convert PDF to not only Word, but also 27 different file formats, including PPT, HTML, EPUB, Text, Image, and more.
  • Easily edit, copy, annotate and highlight text. You can add new text, edit the existing text, annotate text like as you do in Word.
  • Combine 2 or more two PDF files into a single file. And if a PDF file contains a lot of pages, you can separate them as well with the help of this tool.

Step by Step Guide to Convert PDF without Losing Formatting Using PDFelement

Step 1 We will assume that you have already installed PDFelement on your machine. If you hadn’t, you can download the tool by clicking the button below and install it according to the instructions provided.

Step 2 Once installed successfully, launch it on your machine and open a PDF file that you want to convert without losing formatting. You can open a PDF file by clicking on the File menu from the top menu bar and choosing the file that from your location.

pdf to word file

Step 3 Click on Convert and then go to Convert Settings. If you don’t want to change the formatting and wanted to keep the same formatting in Word, then tick on Text Layout Priority and click on Apply. This can ensure the converter can keep the original format of your PDF files as much as possible during the converting.

Convert PDF to Word without Losing Formatting

Step 4 Now convert the file into Word format and save it to your desired location. Once done, open the converted file and check its format and quality.

convert pdf to word

Solution 2: Convert PDF to Word without Losing Formatting by Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is the part of Adobe products that developed to use with PDF documents. You can create, read, edit and perform many other functions on PDF documents using Adobe Acrobat. You can even convert your PDF files into Word using Adobe Acrobat’s conversion feature. Follow the step-by-step guide provided below on how to convert PDF to Word without losing formatting.

Step 1 Download and install Adobe Acrobat on your computer from the official website of Adobe.

Step 2 Open a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat that you want to convert into Word without changing the format.

Step 3 From the menu click on File and Export.

Step 4 Now choose “Microsoft Word Document” as the text format.

Convert PDF to Word without Losing Format with Adobe

Step 5 Click Settings, here you have to make changes in “Layout Settings”. Click on “Retain Flowing Text” to keep the same formatting but it will change the layout. So, we have to click on “Retain Page Layout” to retain the layout of the PDF file into Word.

Convert PDF to Word without Losing Formatting on Adobe

Step 6 You can choose if you want to include the images and comment and click “OK” and choose the desired location where you want to save the converted PDF document and hit the “Save” button.

UniPDF PDF to Word Studio (PC) free trial

This paid software offers a free trial. Standalone and easy to use, UniPDF performs a high-quality conversion from PDF to Word (as well as images and plain text files in batch mode) while preserving all fonts, layouts, images, and formatting.

Download the installer from the UniPDF website and install it to your desktop. Once the application is open, the icons, buttons, and options are pretty self-explanatory. Add the file you wish to convert, select your desired output format (in this case, Word), and then click the Convert button.

Wondershare PDF to Word Converter (MAC)

For MAC users, Wondershare offers a free trial of their product. Their PDF to Word Converter converts PDF files to fully editable Microsoft Word documents. It can convert a 100-page PDF file in one minute and will preserve the original PDF formatting and layout in the output Word documents, making it easy for users to find the content they need. Wondershare PDF to Word Converter is the best PDF tool for people who want to reuse PDF content in a Word document without retyping or copying and pasting.

To convert a PDF file to a Word document, drag and drop your PDF file into the main window. Once the file has been opened, click on Convert. You can then click the To Word icon to choose Microsoft Word as the output format. Select the range of pages that you would like to convert by selecting All pages in the Options tab. Once you are happy with your selections, click Convert, and your document will be converted within a few seconds.

Acrobat, Adobe’s PDF Converter, and Google Docs Methods

Opening a PDF in Word is only one way to convert PDF files to DOCX format. You may get better results by using PDF-editing apps like Adobe Acrobat DC. In my experience, Acrobat does a better job than anything else of exporting PDFs to Word format. 

Open the PDF in Acrobat, choose File/Export To… from the menu, and export to Word format. Acrobat does a far better job than Word at sorting out page formatting like headers and footers. Word sometimes mixes up the text in the header with the text of the document, but Acrobat almost always gets it right.

The trouble with Acrobat is that it costs money—but Adobe offers a free online PDF converter that you can use to get the same results you get from Acrobat. 

Adobe's free, online tools, including one for converting PDFs to editable Word documents
Converting a PDF using Adobe's free online tool

You can find cheaper PDF software that convert app-created PDFs to DOCX format, but I haven’t found any that do it as well as Acrobat. 


Scanned images are a great way to preserve and share important documents. However sometimes we need those scans in another format like word document. There are multiple ways to convert scanned documents to word but the most effective way is to use the right software like PDFelement.

It is not always easy to find an online converter to convert a scanned PDF document to Word. Most converters only provide conversion from PDF to Word, when you want the output to be editable.

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