How to Decode PDF Files

By Garrett Unglaub

PDF files have allowed publications with complex layouts, such as instruction manuals, magazines, and newspapers, to be circulated via the internet with more functionality than just text or an image. Also, with the popularity of top feed scanners, 20 or more paper documents can be digitized into one easy to read PDF file. This ease of use does come at a price however, as Adobe Acrobat;s free version only serves as a reader. To decode the PDF, or make the text editable in programs such as Microsoft Word or Google Documents, an intermediate program such as Acrobat Pro, or the less expensive Foxit Reader, must be used.

Things You'll Need

  • Foxit Reader

Step 1

Download the free Foxit Reader trial.

Step 2

Open the PDF file using the "File," then "Open" command. The PDF should pop up on screen and be correctly displayed.

Step 3

Select "Save As" from the "File" menu and select a directory you'd like to save the file in. Make a note of the directory used so you can easily find the file.

Step 4

Select the text before hitting saving the file, or choose another format you'd like the PDF to be converted to. Word documents or rich text format are good choices.

Step 5

Open the now text file in a text editing program such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word. You can now edit the text as you see fit.

Tips & Warnings

  • If there are numerous images, Foxit will omit them from the finished text file.
  • Make sure not to delete the original PDF after saving. You should always keep an unedited copy of your work in case the editing doesn't work.