Is free pdf to word conversion possible?
October 13, 2005 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Where/how can I convert pdf files to Word.doc/rtf format - for FREE?

I have an enormous number of pdf files collected over the years on a number of subjects. I would like to convert these into Word.doc or rtf format and also retain graphics, tables, formatting, page layouts, etc to allow me to add my thoughts and comments. However, most of the software available to allow me to do this costs about $50.00. Downloading a free trial is usless as they typically only convert the forst 10% of the document or the first few pages.

Really what I want is an application or a website which is free and will convert multiple pages in multiple pdf files. Does such a free application/web-site exist?

The only alternative I can think of is printing a hard copy of the files, scanning and OCR - very, very time consuming and somthing I would rather avoid if possible.

posted by porktrap to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Best answer: PDF ripper lets you extract vector images, text, etc., and convert it into .doc, .rtf or .txt format.
you can download free trial version and keep being on free trial for as long as you want.
posted by grafholic at 9:15 AM on October 13, 2005

Dang it! It would help if I would read the flippin' question. Sorry about that. Might help folks going the other way, though.
posted by willmize at 10:53 AM on October 13, 2005

For best results, I recommend ABBYY FineReader, there's a 15-day free trial available.
posted by Sharcho at 12:17 PM on October 13, 2005

OpenOffice does this nicely.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2005

Sorry willmize.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:37 PM on October 13, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for responses so far. Just to clarify this. I have pdf files and would like to convert them to .doc or.rtf files.
posted by porktrap at 6:10 AM on October 14, 2005

Response by poster: I've tried the PDF ripper as suggested by grafholic. Although it advertises that it retains layout, pictures, etc the results come across in a pretty strange way. For example, graphics dissapear, text loses its formatting, tables vanish, etc. Just when I thought I had a solution! Any other suggestions?
posted by porktrap at 6:14 AM on October 14, 2005

Any decent modern OCR software can read directly PDF files. Only OCR software are able to reliably convert PDF files to Word files and PDF rippers won't work. Unforunately, there's no worthwhile free OCR software. As a cheaper alternative you can get ABBYY PDF Transformer
posted by Sharcho at 3:24 PM on October 17, 2005

On second thought, you probably don't want to convert the PDF files, which will always result in less than perfect conversion. Just get a PDF reader/editor that supports PDF annotation, e.g. Foxit PDF Editor (free, but leaves a watermark). You might want to reask the question as "Free PDF readers/editors that support annotation".
posted by Sharcho at 3:37 PM on October 17, 2005

You can also send the PDF to Adobe, who will convert it to TXT and send it back to you...for free.
posted by DeeJayK at 1:01 PM on October 25, 2005

If you have gmail you can send a pdf to yourself and when it arrives in your inbox view it as html; cut and paste into word and save as rtf or doc. You will lose all of the formatting but it is fast and free. This may work with yahoo or hotmail as well.
posted by DRE at 5:14 PM on September 17, 2006

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