PDF files are pretty much just pictures of documents. In point of fact, many of them are just that – scanned paper documents that are put into the PDF format, as it’s a fairly common one with free tools on all platforms. But what if you want to edit those PDF files? Or save them in a format that makes them easier to manage, like .doc or .docx files? There are many expensive options, like the fantastic Abbyy Fine Reader Express, available in the Mac App Store, but there are also two free, relatively painless ways to do this as well. Here’s how.
The first way is an online option. Head on over to ZamZar.com with your PDF in hand, well, on your computer. Step one, choose the PDF file from your computer. Step two, choose the document format you want to convert to. Notice there are many options to convert to, including epub and html. Choose doc or docx for this example. Step three is to enter your email address, and Step four involves clicking on the Convert button. You’ll get a nice email with a link to download your file in the format you specified in step two above.
The second way to convert your PDF file to something more editable is with Google Docs. Login to your Google Docs account (yours may now be called Drive), and click on the upload icon next to the orange Create button. Choose Files from the resulting pop up menu, and then select the PDF you want to convert. You may need to click on the Settings for uploads in the window that appears. Be sure to check both Convert uploaded files and Convert text boxes for best results.
The file will now show up in your list of Google documents. Click on the name of the document and let it open. Once open in the Google Docs editing windwo, click the File menu, then Download as. Choose the format you like best, including .doc, .docx, .rtf, or even just .txt.
As with any scanning option, the layout of the resulting file will be closer to the original the less complex the original document is, so be sure to try it out on something before you’re rushing off to that important meeting with a converted PDF file that has tons of funky fonts and pictures.
- Via OS X Daily