PDF (Portable Document Format) is the file format that most documents, e-books and instruction manuals come in. PDF is basically a better way to compose and display text and graphics in the form of a document that can be viewed, printed and even electronically transmitted. However, the disadvantage of the PDF file format is that it can only be viewed using a PDF viewer and only be edited using a PDF editor as word processors such as the likes of Microsoft Word do not have PDF support.
In order to be able to freely play around with a PDF document, you are going to have to convert it into a format that can be processed by almost every word processor out there – RTF (Rich Text Format), for example. RTF is a file format for documents that can be viewed and edited in almost all word processing applications. However, converting PDF into RTF isn’t the challenge – doing so while maintaining every bit and piece of content and content formatting is.
Thankfully, there certainly are applications and other resources that can be used to convert PDF documents into RTF documents while still making sure that they retain all of their original content and formatting. In order to convert a PDF into an RTF document while making sure that it retains all of its original content and formatting, you can either use a third-party application that is designed specifically for this purpose or a website that you upload PDF files to and get converted RTF files in return from.
Method #1: Convert PDF to Word using Google Docs
Google Docs has built-in PDF conversion tools, here is how to use them.
- First, go to the Google Drive website and sign in using your Google account.
- Click on the New button in the top left corner, and a drop-down menu will show up. (You can skip this and the next step if you have already uploaded your PDF file uploaded to Google Drive.)
- Now, select “File Upload,” locate the PDF file on your Mac, and click “Open.”
- Once the uploading finishes, you will get a notification in the lower right corner saying “upload complete.”
- Locate the PDF file in your Google Drive and click on it.
- Now, click on the 3-dot icon in the top right corner of your screen (or right-click the selected file).
- Select “Open With,” from the drop-down menu, and click on Google Docs.
- In this window, you can edit the PDF file. To save it as a Word document click on the File menu (in the top right corner).
- Select the “Download As” section from the drop-down menu, and click on Microsoft Word (.docx).
Now you have a .docx version of your PDF file downloaded on your Mac.
Note: Keep in mind that using this method to convert PDF to Word documents may cause some visual changes in the document content. Also, this method will not convert the images from the PDF document (if the document contains any images).
Method #2: Copy Text from PDF to Word Document
- Open a new Word document on your Mac.
- Open the PDF file in Preview (you can double click on it or right-click and choose open with …Preview).
- Click on the Text tool (button labeled “A”) and highlight (select) the text you want to copy. (To copy the entire content from the PDF file use Command + A.)
- Now, click Edit > Copy, (right-click > Copy, or press Command + C on the keyboard).
- Open the Word app and paste the selected text in there (right-click > Paste).
Using this method will not include copying the junk code from the PDF file, which may be found in files converted using some other converting methods.
Method #3: Convert PDF to Word Document using Zamzar.com
Zamzar.com is a website that can convert your PDF files to Word files (.doc or .docx). Here is how to use it.
- Go to Zamzar.com and click on the Choose Files button in the Step 1 section.
- Locate your PDF file on your Mac and click Open.
- Now, click on the drop-down menu in Step 2, and select the file type you want to convert your PDF to (.doc or .docx).
- Enter your email address in the text field under Step 3 and click the Convert button.
- Once the Zamzar finishes with the conversion you will receive an email with your Word document.
Method #4: Convert PDF to a Word (.rtf) file using Automator (Mac Preinstalled App)
- Launch Automator on your Mac (Click on Spotlight, type in Automator and click on the Automator icon).
- If a dialog box opens up asking you where you want to save your file, choose Desktop (or any other location where you want to create the converter app) and click Done.
- Now, click the File menu and select New.
- Select “Workflow” from the dialog window and click on Choose.
- Now select “Files & Folders” from the left panel, and click on “Ask for Finder Items.”
- Drag and drop “Ask for Finder Items” into the right panel.
- Now, click on the “PDFs” in the right panel, choose “Add Grid to PDF Documents,” and drag it to the right panel.
- Under the Extract PDF Text field on the right panel select the Rich Text radio button in the Output section. Here you can also choose the output location as well as the file name.
- Once you are done with the adjustments you can save the app. Click on the File menu and choose Save.
- Type the name for your app, and make sure you choose Application in the File Format section.
- Click the Save button, and quit Automator.
- Now go to Desktop and open the app you’ve just created.
- Once it loads up, select the PDF file you want to convert to text, and click Convert.
- Now a .rtf file will show up on your Desktop.
This converting method will include all the text customizations from the PDF into the .rtf file.