One of the major questions we get asked at our company is how to convert PDF to Word format. It's a good question and one that, to the majority that have never had to sounds like a simple one. There surely must be just a button to do it. Not so.
Believe it or not, converting PDF to Word format is one of the trickiest conversions out there due to a number of factors and it's particularly interesting as so many companies want to do it on a regular basis. However it's not just a matter of converting a flat PDF to an image, but also converting the wording and colours of the fonts accurately into a Microsoft Word format for accurate reproduction, and that's where the tricky part lies.
So why is it so difficult to convert PDF to Word? Once a dynamic document has been converted to a PDF, whether it's a flat one or a text-searchable PDF, the whole structure of the document changes and that's what makes it so difficult for converting.
At their core, Word documents are a lot more complex than that of a PDF document. Once a file has been made into a PDF document as we know them, they lose pretty much everything that they once had and just become an optimised image along with a layer on top that can read the text if it's been exported as a text-searchable file.
Whether text-searchable or not, it's still very difficult to convert a standard PDF document into a precise Word file, extracting images, placing them correctly, as well as the all important text. Simple OCR (Optical Character Recognition) programs are often used to attempt this, but at their best they can extract the text, usually at about a 75-80% accuracy, however that doesn't include the formatting of the Word document as well as the colour of the fonts and placement. This is why being able to convert PDF to Word is such a complex field.
There are a number of pieces of software out there that offer to do it for you, some costing upwards of $1000, but they usually can only convert files which, upon export, have been made searchable by their text. This means that the text is far easier to extract, however a greater number of PDF documents are usually converted the standard way and flattened upon export usually to shrink the file size of the document. PDF's are usually very lightweight files and the extra layer of text hidden on top is sometimes known to double the size of the file, so people often leave it out.
However this does of course leave this problem when the file needs to be edited again, leaving no option but to attempt to extract the file to a Word document so it can be edited and exported once more. Fundamentally, Microsoft Word is not an image editing software nor a layout software like Adobe InDesign or Quark XPress are, so are not meant to deal with complex layouts, but it is possible to export successfully.
Here at Pearl, after a great deal of time researching, we've come up with a near perfect system which means we can convert PDF to Word easily and quickly, and more importantly, accurately. On top of this, it doesn't cost a great deal like so many pieces of software offering the service do. If you want to find out more, please visit the link above,
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