How to Convert PDF to Word Document on a Mac

By Nick Peers

If you have a large PDF and want to edit it in Microsoft Word on your Mac, you must first convert it to DOC or DOCX. You can install a trial version of Adobe Acrobat and use it to convert your PDF files to Word documents. Acrobat is fully functional during the 30-day trial. Alternatively, you can use a free online service or a free app. However, most free services and apps limit the number of pages you can convert. Furthermore, many free apps and websites can't convert every element in the PDF.

Adobe Acrobat XI

Step 1

Open the PDF you want to convert in Adobe Acrobat. Click "File," select "Save As Other," select "Microsoft Word" and click "Word Document" to convert the PDF to a DOCX file. If you choose "Word 97-2003 Document," the PDF is converted to a DOC file.

Step 2

Select the destination folder and change the file name if necessary. Click the "Settings" button to change the conversion settings. From the Settings window, you can change the layout settings and control the content that is converted. For example, if you don't want to include comments and images in the Word file, uncheck the "Include Comments" and "Include Images" boxes. Furthermore, Adobe Acrobat uses optical character recognition if the "Run OCR if needed" option is enabled. OCR is useful when the PDF contains scanned images.

Step 3

Click "OK" to close the Settings window and then click "Save" to convert the PDF to DOC or DOCX. The process may take a few minutes, depending on the length and complexity of the PDF file.

Free Online Service

Step 1

Open the "PDF to Word Converter Online" page (link in Resources) in your Web browser. This free online service doesn't limit the number of pages or the file size of the PDF. Furthermore, it doesn't ask for your email address and doesn't require you to create an account.

Step 2

Click the "Browse" button and use the file browser to select the PDF you want to convert. Click "Open" to select it. Note that the PDF is not uploaded to the server yet.

Step 3

Click the "Convert and Download" button to send the PDF to the server and convert it. After a few seconds, a Download button displays.

Step 4

Click the "Download" button and save the Word document on your hard drive. Note that the service changes the name of the file, so you need to rename it after you save it.

Mac Store App

Step 1

Download and install the "PDF to Word by Feiphone" app (link in Resources) from the Mac App Store. The app is free, but you can use it only in OS X 10.7 or later.

Step 2

Launch the app and click the "Add Files" button. Use the file browser to select the PDF you want to convert to add it to the queue.

Step 3

Select "Microsoft Word (.docx)" from the Output Format box and make sure the "All Pages" option is enabled. Click "Browse" in the Output Directory section and select the destination folder.

Step 4

Add more PDF files to the queue if you need to convert a batch of documents. Click the "Convert" button to convert the PDF files to Word documents. The process may take a few minutes, depending on the number of PDFs and their complexity.

Tips & Warnings

  • Open the converted document in Microsoft Word to verify the conversion. Some elements may not convert properly if you are using a free online service or app. You may need to edit the Word document manually to fix the errors.
  • Small PDF files can be converted using most of the free online services. To convert large documents, most services charge a monthly membership fee.
  • Some online conversion services ask for your email address. Note that some may use your email address to deliver spam emails or even sell email address lists to third-parties.
  • Microsoft Word for Mac 2011 can open DOC files and save them as DOCX files.
  • Don't use an online conversion service to convert sensitive documents. The data in the PDF is processed on the server and a copy of the PDF may be stored there. Use Adobe Acrobat to convert sensitive documents safely.