There are multiple ways to convert PDFs to Microsoft Word files in Adobe Acrobat. In this tutorial, we are going to look at the method I believe is the most user-friendly. Then, we’ll look at two alternative methods you may want to use instead.
Do you need to convert a Word file to a PDF? Please see my other tutorial “How to Convert Microsoft Word Files to PDFs.”
This tutorial is also available as a YouTube video showing all the steps in real time.
Watch more than fifty other videos about Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat on my YouTube channel.
The images below are from Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. These steps will also work for Adobe Acrobat 2020 and Adobe Acrobat 2017. Adobe’s free PDF display software, Acrobat Reader, doesn’t offer a way to convert PDFs to other file types.
A note on terminology: In this tutorial, the terms convert and export are used interchangeably to mean “turn a PDF into a Word file.”
How to Convert a PDF to a Microsoft Word File
- Open the PDF you want to convert to a Word file.
- Select the Tools tab.
- Select the Export PDF button in the Tools Center.
- Select Word Document in the Export your PDF to any format screen.
Optional Steps: Select Additional Options
- Select the settings (gear) icon.
- Select additional options from the Save As DOCX Settings dialog box.
- The Layout Settings section lets you retain flowing text or retain the current page layout. (Retain the current layout if you want the Word file to look like the PDF.)
- The Comment Settings section lets you include or exclude comments. Note that when you choose to include comments, you will also include mark-ups such as insertions and deletions. These mark-ups are not functional in Microsoft Word.
- The Image Settings section lets you include or exclude images.
- The Text Recognition Settings section lets you choose to recognize the language (e.g., English, Spanish, French) in the text. Strongly consider leaving this option selected.
- Select the OK button to close the Save As DOCX Settings dialog box.
- Select the Export button.
- (Optional Step) Deselect Open file after export in the Save As dialog box if you do not want the file to open in Microsoft Word after the export process is finished.
- Select the location where you want to save the Word file. (The Save As dialog box will close automatically.)
- Select the Save button in the second Save As dialog box.
Your PDF will be exported as a Word file. The export process may take several minutes if the PDF is long or has a lot of images.
Two Alternative Ways to Convert a PDF to a Microsoft Word File
Here are two alternative ways to convert PDFs to Microsoft Word files in Adobe Acrobat.
Alternative Method 1
- Select the File tab.
- Select Export To from the File menu.
- Select Microsoft Word from the Export To menu.
- Select Word Document from the second drop-down menu.
- Select the location where you want to save your Word file in the Save As PDF dialog box. (Although this dialog box is titled Save As PDF, your file should be saved as a Word file.)
- (Optional Step) Select the Settings button to open the Save As DOCX Settings dialog box, which is explained in step 6 in the section above.
Pro Tip: Uncheck View Result if you do not want Microsoft Word to open after the conversion process is complete.
- Select the Save button.
Alternative Method 2
- Select the File tab (see figure 10).
- Select Save As from the File menu.
- Select the location where you want to save your Word file in the Save As PDF dialog box. (The dialog box will close automatically.)
The Save As PDF dialog box looks almost identical to the Save As dialog box shown in figure 8. However, the Save As PDF dialog box does not offer an Open file after export option.
- Select Word Document (*.docx) in the Save as type menu in the second Save As PDF dialog box.
- Select the Save button.