How To Convert PDFs To Word Documents On The Mac

There are many programs which can take a PDF document and convert it to any format you wish, so you can make changes to it without having to start from scratch or scribble over the top of the original PDF. However, here’s one way to convert these documents for free, using software which comes pre-packaged with your Mac.

You’ll need to open Automator, an application that rarely sees much use, but which is easy to find, in your Applications folder (or via Launchpad).

Once it’s open, select ‘Workflow’ from the options available.

This selection will take you to a screen full of options. From the column on the far left, select ‘Files and Folders’, then, from the column to the right of it, drag ‘Ask for Finder items’ into the blank space on the far right. It should pop up as a box.

Go back to the leftmost column, this time selecting ‘PDFs’. From the column next to it, drag ‘Extract PDF text’ into the large blank space, so you now have two boxes. In the options for the ‘Extract PDF text’ box, select ‘Rich Text’ option instead of the default ‘Plain Text’. This ensures the format of the PDF will be saved to an extent.

It’s time to save the workflow – just hit Cmd+S, and call the saved program something like ‘PDF to RTF’. You’ll need to change the file format from ‘Workflow’ to ‘Application’. That’s it – your work in Automator is done.

Bringing up a Finder window, launch the application you just created; it’ll prompt you to select a PDF file. When you select the one of your choice, you’ll see a file appear on the desktop, with the same name as the PDF, but ending ‘.rtf’. There you go – your PDF has been converted to Rich Text. To open in Word or Pages, simply right-click on the file you’ve made and, selecting ‘open with’, choose the application you prefer.

Powerful solution for PDF file: convert PDF to Word, Excel, EPUB, HTML Text and Image on Mac

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded blurtit.com which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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