We use PDFs for a variety of reasons. We may use them for school assignments, to print out a recipe, or to read an article offline. We often are trying to figure out how to save a Word document as PDF on Mac. But what if we need to make changes to the PDF?
Making changes to a PDF usually can’t be done on the PDF itself. So, it means we have to do a bit of extra work to convert it to a Word document. Don’t worry, learning how to convert PDF to Word on a Mac won’t make you pull your hair out.
There are many ways to do this, so we will look at a few of them step-by-step. In this article, we will learn how to change PDF to Word on Mac using Preview, the built-in PDF converter in Microsoft Word, an online PDF converter, and a third-party app.
Related reading: How to Convert PDF to Google Sheets
The quickest way to convert a PDF to Word on a Mac is by using Preview. This is the default PDF viewer on macOS and comes with some basic conversion capabilities.
To convert a PDF to Word using Preview:
Navigate to the Preview icon in the bottom navigation bar or go to the Preview menu on the Mac. The icon looks like this:
Note: If you’re having trouble finding it, you can simply click the magnifying glass in the top navigation bar and search “Preview.”
1. Open the PDF in Preview.
2. Click File > Export.
3. Select Microsoft Word from the Format drop-down menu.
4. Click Export.
5. In the Save As dialog box, select a location for the Word file and click Save.
Using the Built-In PDF Converter in Microsoft Word
If you have Microsoft Word installed on your Mac, you can also use it to convert PDFs to Word files. The built-in PDF converter is not as robust as some of the third-party apps we will discuss, but it can be useful if you only need to convert a few PDFs.
To convert a PDF to Word using the built-in PDF converter in Microsoft Word:
1. Open Microsoft Word.
2. Click File > Open.
3. Select the PDF you want to convert.
4. Click Open.
5. The PDF will be opened in Microsoft Word as a read-only document.
6. Click File > Save As.
7. Select a location for the Word file and click Save.
In some cases you may get this message:
The message states that Microsoft will open the PDF as an editable Word document. In this case, make any necessary edits and hit Save.
Convert PDF Files Using Google Docs
If you don’t have Microsoft Word installed on your Mac, or if you need to convert a PDF that is too large for the built-in PDF converter in Microsoft Word, you can use Google Docs to convert the PDF to a Word file.
Google Docs is free and easy to use. Advantages of using Google Docs for this is the cross-platform support. Google Docs can be used on a Mac, PC, or Chromebook.
To convert a PDF to Word using Google Docs:
1. Open a web browser and go to https://docs.google.com/.
2. Sign in with your Google account.
3. Click New > File Upload.
4. Select the PDF you want to convert.
5. Click Open.
6. The PDF will be uploaded to Google Docs.
7. Click the three-dotted menu in the upper right corner of the PDF.
8. Select Download as > Microsoft Word.
9. The PDF will be converted to a Word file and downloaded to your computer.
Using an Online PDF Converter
If you don’t have Microsoft Word installed on your Mac, or if you need to convert a PDF that is too large to open in Microsoft Word, you can use an online PDF converter. There are many online PDF converters available, and most of them are free.
One of the advantages of using an online PDF converter is that you can convert PDFs to Word files in batches. This can be helpful if you have a lot of PDFs to convert.
We will use Zamzar to demonstrate this technique because it is one of the most popular online PDF converters. It is also free.
To use an online PDF converter:
1. Go to the website of the online PDF converter you want to use. For Zamzar, you can click here.
2. Click the ‘Add Files” button and select the PDF you want to convert.
3. Click “Convert to” and choose “doc” or “docx” (Both are Word document files).
4. The PDF will be converted to a Word file and will be downloaded to your computer.
Using a Third-Party App
If you need more features than the built-in PDF converter in Microsoft Word or online PDF converters offer, you can use a third-party app to convert PDFs to Word files. There are many apps available, though most of them require payment.
One of the advantages of using a third-party app is that you can often convert PDFs to Word files faster than by using other methods.
One of the best ones to use is Adobe Acrobat.
To use a third-party app to convert PDFs to Word files:
1. Download and install the app.
2. Open the app.
3. Click the Import PDF Files button or the + button to open the file browser.
4. Select the PDF you want to convert and click Import.
5. The PDF will be converted to a Word file and will be opened in the app.
6. Edit the Word file as needed.
7. Click the Export button and select Microsoft Word from the Format drop-down menu.
8. Click Export.
9. In the Save As dialog box, select a location for the Word file and click Save.
10. The Word file will be saved to the location you selected.
Copy Text Directly From PDF
If you don’t want to use conversion methods between programs, there is another solution. You can copy text directly from a PDF and paste it into a Word document.
This is a good solution if you only need to extract a few words or sentences from a PDF.
To copy text directly from a PDF:
1. Open the PDF you want to extract text from.
2. Select the text you want to extract.
3. Copy the text.
4. Paste the text into a Word document.
5. Edit the text as needed.
6. Save the Word document.
7. The text is now in a Word document and can be edited as needed.
You can speed up this process by using keyboard shortcuts such as Command+C (Mac) or Ctrl+C (Windows) to copy text and Command+V (Mac) or Ctrl+V (Windows) to paste text.
The Bottom Line
In this article, we discussed four methods for converting PDFs to Word files on a Mac: using Preview, using the built-in PDF converter in Microsoft Word, using an online PDF converter, and using a third-party app.
We looked at the pros and cons of each method and discussed when each one is best used.
Converting files from one form to another may seem complicated at first. But once you follow a few steps, you will realize it is a simple process.
We hope this guide helped you better understand how to do conversions between PDFs and Docs!
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