How to Convert PDF to Word Without Losing Formatting

Imagine this scenario: you can only find the old PDF version of your resume on your computer. But now you’re ready to apply for new jobs, and need to update your resume as soon as possible.

How can you convert your document to an editable format without hurting the original formatting?

The best option is to convert your PDF back to a Word doc. But doing so is easier said than done.

Converting your files from PDF to Word without losing the original format is simply not as easy as the other way around. However, it can be done — especially if the PDF’s format isn’t too complex.

We explain the 3 main ways to change your file format from PDF to Word without messing up your original formatting, plus the pros and cons of each way.

1. Use Adobe Acrobat to Convert your PDF File to Word

Adobe Acrobat is one of the best options for converting PDFs if you need to retain formatting.

However, Adobe Acrobat requires an Adobe subscription, which will run you $14.99 per month on average. But if you don’t mind paying, Adobe is definitely a good choice. The software helps you retain the formatting of your original PDF when converting it to most major file types, including Word.

Here’s how to use the software:

Step 1

Open your PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2

From the Tools menu, select “Export PDF”.

The first step to turn a PDF into a Word document using Adobe Acrobat without losing formatting
Adobe Acrobat, depending on the version you have downloaded, may or may not look like this (but the process should be the same).

Step 3

Select “Microsoft Word (* .docx)” in the sidebar on the right side of the tool.

Step 2 in converting a PDF to Word in Acrobat — the prompt to choose the file type
Choose the file type you want to convert to in the dropdown.

Step 4

Click the “Convert” button. After that, you can save your converted Word file to your computer without messing up the formatting.

Clicking the 'Convert' button in Adobe Acrobat to turn the PDF into Word, no format lost
Although it’s a non-descript gray button, it’s still worth clicking.

2. Open your PDF with Google Docs and save it as a Word file

If the cost of Adobe Acrobat doesn’t suit you, try converting your PDF to Google Docs then turning it into a Word DOCX file.

The biggest advantage of using Google docs to convert a PDF to Word is that it’s free. However, the final formatting output might not be as clean as you’re looking for. It simply depends on the complexity of the PDF’s original format.

However, you can always make the necessary editing adjustments within Word later. And the formatting should stay largely the same using this method, so it’s worth a shot.

Step 1

Make sure you’re logged into your Gmail account.

Step 2

Open a new Google Doc. You can either access Google Docs from within your Gmail, or simply type “docs.new” into your web browser.

Step 3

Click “File”, “Open”, then find your PDF.

Tip: You can do this from inside Google Docs, but it’s also possible to access from your Google Drive if your PDF is located there.

Using Google Drive to upload files like PDFs and Word docs
Google Drive helps you upload different file types which can then be opened using other Google Workspace tools.

Step 4

Click “File”, “Download”, “Microsoft Word (.docx)”, and your PDF will download as a Word doc directly to your browser.

After clicking 'File' in Google Docs, you can select 'Download' and open your PDF as a Word doc
Google Docs is a pretty handy tool, thanks Google!

3. Convert your PDF File Using an Online Converter

Not interested in paying for Acrobat? Did Google Docs mess up the formatting of your new Word document? Try using our online PDF to Word converter tool.

Keep your formatting intact and don’t pay a penny to convert your PDF to Word. Here’s how:

Step 1

In our PDF to Word converter, click the “Choose File” button to upload the PDF file you want to convert. Or drag and drop it onto the tool.

Converting to Word from PDF without losing formatting is easier with a PDF to Word converter tool.
Our button is definitely more fun to click than the ‘Convert’ button in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2

Choose the PDF you want from your computer and click “Open”.

Open your PDF from your computer so you can begin the PDF to Word conversion process
Finding your PDF on your computer would be easier if you kept your files in better order.

Step 3

After a few seconds, you’ll see a “Download” button appear. Click “Download” and your new Word DOCX file will download straight to your browser. Or click the link icon next to the button to save it directly to your Google Drive.

Click "Download" or the link next to the download button to access your new Word doc immediately
Free PDF to Word conversions are cool, right?

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