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How To Convert A PDF To Word While Retaining Its Formatting

You may have noticed that it is not always possible to convert a PDF to Word without modifying it. Due to the programs or tools you may have used up to now, you may have found that, although you didn’t want the file to be modified, the formatting of the text was different from your original document.

Texto pierde formato al pasar de PDF a Word

A more common problem than you might think, when converting a PDF to Word, is that the formatting is lost and the appearance is different from what you had at the beginning. Originally, PDF was created to share documents, so it wouldn’t change its appearance when shared. So what happens, why does the formatting get lost, and how to go from PDF to Word without losing formatting?

Surely this is not the first time that you have a PDF document, you want to convert it to Word, and the resulting appearance is very different from what you expected. This is mainly due to the fact that converters specialize in reproducing the PDF as closely as possible to the original, leaving aside other aspects such as harmony or usability.

Thus, converting from PDF to Word without losing formatting is very complicated, although, if you take into account a series of precautions, you can avoid this problem to some extent. This is the purpose of this article: so you can learn how to copy PDF to Word without losing its formatting. Let’s go!

How To Convert A PDF To Word While Retaining Its Formatting

Time is often short, so actions such as learning how to convert PDF to Word without losing formatting, copying tables from PDF to Word without losing formatting, or simply copying text from PDF to Word without losing formatting, become actions of real interest to you.

In the following sections, we are going to show you some of the main problems that occur with this transformation and what you can do so that they do not happen. Even so, we already anticipate that it is very complicated that the resulting document is an exact copy of the PDF, but, we try to make it so that there are as few changes as possible.

We invite you to enter our PDF to Word converter and try to transform your file without losing the formatting. You will see for yourself the result of our powerful converter.

Why The Formatting Is Lost When Converting From PDF To Word

Converting from PDF to Word without losing formatting can be a real headache. Here are some of the common reasons why text loses its formatting when converting from PDF to Word:

Page Breaks, A Headache


One of the main problems to be taken into account when converting a PDF to Word without losing formatting is page, column or even section breaks. One of the 'manias' that converters have is to add breaks that, in the beginning, were not there. The intention of these tools is not bad, since what they want is to make a copy as accurate as possible, but sometimes it is a complete nuisance.

The problem with eliminating these jumps later is that the text can be completely unpaginated and that would be a problem. The solution is to check that the paragraph and page formatting is the same before and after the break, so that Word avoids having to adjust them.

The trick, to see if these breaks really exist, is to press the "¶" button, which will show us all the hidden information.

When Copying Tables Or Texts In A PDF And Then Pasting Them Into Word, All The Formatting Is Lost

We continue with the roadmap to learn how to copy and paste text from PDF to Word without losing formatting. And not only text, but also copying tables from PDF. If there is something that happens all the time, it’s that you copy with the right mouse button a text in a PDF table, paste it directly to Word and it appears all out of place and makes no sense. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

This problem has a solution, although the result will never be 100% the same, but it will be close. The failure occurs when performing a direct copy/paste, which doesn’t give good results. The solution is to:

  1. Click on "File"/"Open" in Microsoft Excel.
  2. Search for and mark the PDF document we’re interested in.
  3. Excel will warn us that a conversion is going to be performed. Accept this.
  4. That’s it! We would now have the table and the text with its original format.

Once all this is done, if we only want a paragraph, either we delete the rest, or we do a cut/paste with the mouse (or with the keyboard shortcuts). Don't forget that, once all the changes have been made, it is also possible to convert back from Word to PDF.

Problems With Margins And Page Sizes


Checking margins and page sizes is essential before starting to work, especially if we don’t want to destroy all the text. This prior revision is important to go from PDF to Word without losing formatting. This work a priori will be appreciated later, since we won’t waste time retouching everything.

Thus, make sure that they are standard sizes and that the margins are not too small or too large, which can cause problems for the converter.

Line Breaks Are Also A Problem

We have already mentioned the problem with page breaks, but line breaks must also be taken into account when converting PDF to Word without losing formatting. The problem occurs with the converter program, which sometimes interprets as line breaks something that is not.

As with page breaks, the "¶" button will allow us to see them, but this time they will appear with this sign: "↵". If we want to create a line break, instead of a paragraph break, it is important to press the “Shift + Enter” buttons together.

Font Formatting Also Has An Impact

When converting a PDF to Word, we encounter another common problem that also causes many headaches. It is the font format, or, what is the same, the font size, bolding, underlining, italics etc. There are some options, which are part of the format of a font, that are hardly used, but even so, text converters change them and there arises a problem, since these modifications worsen the document.

To avoid this, we recommend pressing Ctrl + M to enter the font options. The best way to avoid problems is to go to the "Advanced" tab and leave all the options set to normal and 100%.

Problems With Headers And Footers

Here the problem occurs when transferring a PDF document to Word, and the converters recognize the text in the headers and footers as the main text. Thus, the margins are usually very small. To avoid this, it is recommended to insert the headers and footers with the corresponding function and remove them from the main text.

Footnotes can also cause problems, as the converter considers them the main text. In this case, the procedure to use is the one mentioned above.


Confusing Characters

The situation we are going to tell you about now usually occurs when dealing with a scanned document. In this case, the converters may confuse letters due to scanning smudges, or it may be an old document. The only solution is to refer to the original and thus avoid translation errors.

César has worked in different communication media sites in Spain, both digital and on paper (Marca, Veo TV, elBoletín, AmecicaEconómica, CubaEconómica...), in which he has been the editor for different topics related to technology, sports, politics, economics and more.
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