by Sophie Knowles thumbnail imageSophie Knowles on

The pros and cons of converting a PDF to Word

One of the most popular search engine queries relating to PDFs is "PDF to Word". When I looked at the data, the first thought that jumped out at me was: "I know why! Everyone wants to edit a PDF using a format they are familiar with!". While I wasn’t sure of my hunch back then, I now believe that my instincts were correct. The biggest issue with PDFs (and ironically, also their main strength) is that they are very difficult to edit. Users of PDF files who are stuck trying to make edits usually react in two ways – they either try to find a tool that will let them make edits directly or they try to convert a PDF to another file format.

Users in both camps will usually find a wide range of online and desktop software-based solutions that can meet their needs. As I’ve discussed earlier, there are pros of cons of heading down either route. Online solutions tend to be much cheaper (and often free), but may not fully meet a user’s needs given the limitations of browser-based technologies. There are also issues regarding privacy and data protection that make many business users uncomfortable with online solutions. On the other hand, desktop software is usually much better at solving PDF-related issues, however most desktop-based solutions are quite pricey. At PDF Pro, we offer both an online PDF editor as well as an online PDF to Word converter. Even with the limitations of building software within a browser, we try to meet the needs of our users as much as possible. 

 

The main benefit of converting a PDF to Word

If online PDF editors don’t meet your need and you are looking for another cost-effective way to edit a PDF file, you only have two options: (1) find a good desktop software trial or (2) find a good online PDF to Word converter. I’ve already covered my recommendations for PDF software trials, so I’ll skip repeating myself in this post.

The clear benefit to converting a PDF to Word is that you can directly edit the text. This is not possible using an online PDF editor, and is the reason we offer an online PDF to Word converter. Once you successfully convert a PDF to Word, you can easily make edits using Word or similar software. Converting a Word back to PDF is as simple as choosing the PDF format when saving the document (instead of .doc or other document formats). Thus converting a PDF into an editable file format is a good workaround for the limitations of the format.

 

The main drawback to converting a PDF to Word

Unfortunately, using a PDF converter is far from a silver bullet to all your PDF issues!  The main issue is that most PDF converters aren’t very good. Retaining the original formatting of your PDF is an incredibly difficult computer science challenge, mainly because PDF files are created by virtually printing objects onto a blank sheet of paper. Unlike most other file types (e.g. documents, presentations, etc.) there no rules governing where objects are placed on the page. This makes converting PDFs to other file formats very difficult.

At PDF Pro, we’ve tried to address this problem by building the best possible PDF converter. In our opinion, our PDF converter is the one of the best in the industry and does a great job of retaining the original formatting of a PDF file. While the solution is far from perfect, we hope it meets the needs of most of our users! 


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