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How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word Editable Document Online

Almost everyone would have their PDF file and need to convert scanned PDF to editable document. It’s time-consuming for them to do it by themselves. So what it makes the Internet users spent lots of time searching for ways to convert the PDF text into plain text, but it seems hard to find good ways on the Internet. After much exploring, here we pass a couple tips that are quite reliable in this article!

Pdf is a popular format for saving files that can be opened and edited by different softwares. So, it’s not a big deal to share your pdf documents online or save them to your PC. And even though it’s possible, you will find difficulties to view a scanned pdf document using a web browser or edit it in Microsoft word. This is why if you have scanned pdf files and want to convert them into editable Word, this article will present you some solutions for saving scanned pdf files to Word format.

Convert Scanned PDF to Word Editable Document Online – Convert scanned pdf to editable format, this process is called as convert scanned pdf to word. The most popular document format these days is Microsoft Word. PDF files have a different file format and may be difficult for some people to open. To solve this problem, convert scanned PDF to Word may be the easiest and most efficient solution.

How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word Editable Document Online? PDF conversion to editable documents have become very popular as scanned or picture PDF files can be converted with ease and comfort. On the internet there are number of Online Conversion sites providing web-based tool that helps user to convert their respective file to MS Word Documents.

OCR a Document or Image in Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is the original standard program for creating, editing, and viewing PDF files. It’s commonly used in business, and is bundled with Adobe Creative Suite and the full version of Creative Cloud, so there’s a good chance your business computer already has it installed—or you can install it for free from your Creative Cloud subscription. If so, it’s a great tool to OCR your documents quickly on a Mac or PC.

Note: this tutorial requires Adobe Acrobat, not Adobe Reader. The latter is a free app just for viewing PDFs. If that’s all you have, jump to the end of this tutorial for some other great OCR tools you can use.

PDF in Acrobat ready to OCR
Open your image or PDF and get Acrobat started recognizing your text 

Acrobat can recognize text in any PDF or image file in dozens of languages. All you have to do is open the scanned document or image that you’d like to OCR, then click the blue Tools button in the top right of the toolbar. In that sidebar, select the Recognize Text tab, then click the In This File button.

You’ll now get some options to tweak your OCR. If you’re recognizing a document that’s in your computer’s default languages (English (US) in my case), simply click OK to get your text recognized. Otherwise, click the Edit… button to select your OCR language, pick your PDF output style, and the resolution you want Acrobat to use while recognizing your text.

Acrobat OCR settings
Tweak your OCR settings

After a brief pause indicated by a progress bar on the bottom of the window, your text will be fully recognized. It took only around 15 seconds to recognize text on a scanned 1 page form on my 2012 MacBook Air, but a couple minutes on a 30 page full-color textbook PDF. Once it’s done, you can select any text in the document and copy it as normal, or search for text in the document. By default, Acrobat will save the recognized text inside the original file when you OCR a PDF, and if you OCR an image it’ll save the image with its text in a new PDF file. Either way, the recognized text will show up in any PDF reader afterwards, just as if it was an original digital document.

OCRed text in Acrobat
Copy text from a scanned document as plain text or with formatting—or just use the PDF as a normal PDF

With the text recognized, you can now markup the PDF using all the normal markup tools—you can highlight, cross out text, and more. You can even copy the text with the detected formatting, though that’s often less accurate than the text recognition itself.

Export Your OCRed Documents

If you’re wanting to edit your original scanned documents, or perhaps reuse the info in them in a new document, you’ll want more than just selectable text on a PDF. You’ll want the full document converted. Acrobat makes that easy as well, OCRing the text and exporting it as a new document in one step.

Just open the document you want to OCR and convert, click File > Save As… and choose the format you’d like. You can export as a Word or rich text document, Excel or CSV spreadsheet, or as HTML. Add the file name you want and the location you’d like to save your new file, and click Save. Acrobat will proceed to show the same progress bar at the bottom of the window as it recognizes the text and formatting in your document, and then will save the exported copy.

Export PDF or image in Word format from Acrobat
Export your images and PDFs from Acrobat with varying results.

Acrobat exports from scanned documents are both surprisingly good and frustratingly bad. It’ll recognize most of the text and formatting, and you’ll likely be surprised by how nice the finished exported document looks if it’s not too complex. But then, it’s still not the original document. There will be mistakes, formatting you’ll need to fix, and more. The best way is always to use the original digital document, but this is a great way to get back a digital copy of a document if all you have is a scan.

While OCR isn’t perfect, Acrobat’s OCR is quite good. In this scanned form, almost every word was detected correctly, though one instance of the word Name was detected as N””e. That’s perfectly good enough if you’re just wanting to be able to roughly search through your documents using your PDF reader’s search tool, though if you’re actually using the OCR to make a copy of the original text, you’ll want to proof-read it first and make sure to correct any obvious mistakes.

OCR Multiple Documents At Once

Got a ton of documents you want to OCR at once? Acrobat’s great for that as well. Just open any document in Acrobat, then open the Recognize Text sidebar pane as before. This time, select In Multiple Files button, and you’ll see a window where you can drag all your files you want to OCR. Again, you can add PDF or image files, and Acrobat will recognize the text and save them in PDF format. There’s also a few extra options, where you can choose where to save the finished files and how you’d like them named.

Bulk OCR documents

Other OCR Tools

Acrobat isn’t the only way to OCR text from your scanned documents, of course. If you don’t already have a copy of it, there’s a ton of other tools you can use. We already covered the best tools for OCR on your Mac: Prizmo, FineReader, the Doxie app, PDFPen, and Evernote. Prizmo and PDFPen also would work on your iOS devices for OCR on the go, and the Doxie app also works on PCs. Evernote doesn’t let you copy text out, but it works everywhere—and on the PC, OneNote’s OCR is great and free.

There’s also the free Tesseract OCR library, with a terribly basic free Mac app that can recognize text for you. Another budget-friendly OCR tool is pica text, for $3.99. Either way, if OCR is all you need, you don’t have to get a copy of Acrobat just for that—but if you have Acrobat, its OCR tool is a great extra.

Converting your file from PDF to Word is easy. The process simply returns the contents of your PDF file to its original format.

However, if you are scanning documents and saving them to PDF, most times, they’re stored as images. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is required to extract the text and save the converted documents into editable Word files.

Our online tool offers both options. And yes, it’s free to use.

How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word Documents Online

  1. Go to the Smallpdf PDF to Word online tool.
  2. Upload your PDF file via drag-and-drop.
  3. Select the option you need—the OCR conversion is only available as a Pro feature.
  4. Wait for the conversion to finish.
  5. Download your editable Word file.
Convert Scanned PDF to Word Online

Scanned PDF to Word in a nutshellConvert My PDF

The process of converting the scanned PDF file into an editable Word doc may take a few extra seconds, as our OCR needs to recognize the text of the paper documents stored as scans in PDF form. On the bright side, being a fast online PDF to Word converter—loved by over 40 million monthly users, and counting, the whole process to convert the file from scanned PDF to Word shouldn’t take too long.

Is the Scanned Pdf to Word Converter Free?

All of Smallpdf’s tools are free to use with some limitations—our OCR Word converter is a Pro feature. You can scan to pdf online, as well as convert images, spreadsheets, and powerpoints to pdf, even when these documents are scans. To use our optical character recognition (OCR) technology to convert images to editable Word, check out our JPG to Word guide.

Cool, But What Are the Limitations?

Free tasks are limited to two per day and some features are only accessible with a Pro subscription. File size is also limited to a maximum of 5 GB, as high-resolution scans may be quite large.

Getting a Smallpdf Pro account will remove the daily task limit and allow you to use the tools as often as you need to convert images to pdf, or scanned pdf to word, or use our scan to pdf converter.

Bonus Tools

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.

If you need a more detailed guide, you can refer to their tutorial.

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.


Workers frequently scan documents in the workplace and then email them to other users. An editable document is a much better solution as it ensures that people can open and read the document regardless of what software they have installed on their computer. Convert scanned PDF to Word online is used by millions of individuals worldwide because they recognize its capabilities to solve their own challenges associated with scanned PDF files.

Convert scanned pdf to word and similar one of a kind automated features have been the key to our success since the time we started. It was not long ago when conversion was only possible manually with the help of a computer, and sometimes that was a rather difficult task.

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