How to Convert PDF Files to Word Doc Files for Free

Your best free option is to use an online conversion service. With these services, you upload your PDF file, then download the converted file.

I tried a number of these services, including one offered by Adobe, but in the end I could only recommend this one.

ZamZar. is an excellent general file conversion site, and PDF to DOC is one of the many conversion options available.

Usage couldn't be simpler: just surf to the site, select your conversion output type, point to the file you want uploaded for conversion and type in your email address. Some time later you will get an email with a download link for the converted file.

For my 107KB test PDF file, the download email link came back to me within one minute, which was pretty impressive, though I have heard that sometimes you may have to wait for quite a while.

My test file is in multi-column format with breakout boxes in various font styles and has embedded images. Converting this is quite a challenge.

ZamZar did well, though. The two column layout was preserved, the images were reproduced in their correct locations and the varying fonts rendered well, given that Word had no exact matching fonts. Importantly, all the text could be edited from within Word

On the downside the image quality was reduced and the article's large opening drop capital was displaced. Not bad though.




Note: Standalone PDF conversion freeware is reviewed here


Share this
Average: 3.8 (24 votes)
Your rating: None


by Ashraf on 19. May 2009 - 5:04  (21838)

Hey Gizmo,
I suggest you give a try. You may be surprised at the quality :)

by Anonymous on 19. May 2009 - 7:19  (21848)

Here's an even better thought Gizmo. If you already have Word, I'm assuming you have 2007. Download Office 2007 service pack 2 that was just recently released and you will have complete access to 'free' PDF and ODF format support.
What's New In Office 2007 Service Pack 2?
Support for Open Document Format (ODF), XML Paper Specification (XPS) and Portable Document Format (PDF).
Improved Outlook Calendaring reliability.
Improved Outlook performance.
Enabling Object Model support for Charts in Microsoft Ofice PowerPoint 2007 and Microsoft Office Word 2007.
Improved cryptographic functionality b supporting all cryptographic algorithms offered by the operating system.
Improved functionality in Microsoft Office Excel 2007 charting mechanism.
Ability to ungroup SmartArt graphics (and as a result, the ability to add animations to them in PowerPoint 2007).
Ability for Visio 2007 to export UML models to an XML file compliant with the XMI standard.
Tool that enables the uninstallation of Office client Service Packs.

by Bruce_Fraser on 20. May 2009 - 18:59  (21984)

I tested all three conversion sites mentioned here (two by Gizmo, one by Ashraf). I used a 1.5 MB PDF file of a 4-page magazine article: 4 columns of text, with headlines that span several columns; lots of graphics and tables in sidebars; and occasional dropped capitals. Results:

- was the worst of the bunch. Every line of text is a separate paragraph, which makes text editing a royal pain. It had trouble spacing with some fonts, the result being a jumbled mass of letters.

- and were very good: Both had text in paragraphs, and they matched the layout of the original almost exactly. PDFtoWord loses points because (a) The main text was in a serif font, while the original was sans serif; (b) The resulting file was much larger (7.1 MB) than Koolwire (1.1 MB). This caused MS Word to pause much longer in loading and editing. This was even though Koolwire used the RTF format, which usually is awful with graphics.

Finally, the default Koolwire website that I found was in clearly written English. There is the flag of Italy one can click on to go to the Italian version. If by default you go there, click on the flag of Great Britain to go to the English version.

OVERALL: best of the bunch.

by Bruce_Fraser on 21. May 2009 - 3:56  (22015)

I think you're missing the point.
This article is about starting with a PDF file, and converting it into a Word file. You're talking about the opposite: changing a Word file into PDF.

Here's a quote from the MS Office website: "When using SP2, customers will be able to open, edit and save documents using ODF, and save documents into the XPS and PDF fixed formats." [My italics].

by ianjrichards (not verified) on 21. May 2009 - 4:39  (22017)

Thanks Bruce. Your test confirms what I said: the results will depend on the document being converted so try both ZamZar and Koolwire. - Gizmo

by Anonymous on 7. August 2009 - 18:11  (26590)

The same can be achieved in OpenOffice 3 - there is an extension that you can download
which allows you to open pdfs directly and edit them, and with OO you can save the file to any format (odf, doc, pdf, wpd, etc)

by Anonymous on 6. January 2010 - 23:43  (40433)

Hey guys, doesn't work for files > 6mb, bugger... :P

by njaga (not verified) on 24. March 2011 - 7:59  (68482)

Koolwire no longer offer this service (See their FAQ). They are concentrating on their messaging service.

by CJ (not verified) on 15. September 2011 - 19:30  (79688)

Time to deep six mention of koolwire, Gizmo. It's like that parrot in the Monthy Python sketch. Expired. Dead. No more. . . .

by KT52773KT (not verified) on 27. June 2012 - 1:38  (95421)

Zamzar does not allow more than 5 conversions before signing up for a paid version is required. To say it is a free service is misleading. Any more than 5 at once, will result in a blue screen upon your next visit.

by Sujel (not verified) on 7. November 2012 - 10:48  (101989)

I tried installing this extension for OpenOffice 3.4 and it failed to enable. After a quick web search I found by changing the .zip extension to .oxt and it installed and enabled without error. Rename the zip file without unzipping it.

by JamesCA on 22. July 2013 - 18:04  (109494)

Zamzar support is very good and also received links to OCR
Thank you Gizmo and Zamzar

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting!

Gizmos Needs YouShare your knowledge of free software with millions of Gizmo's readers by joining our editing team.  Details here.