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Looking for an effective Word to PDF converter

I'm trying to archive my old work into PDF format, and is searching around for Word to PDF converter.

Most of the programs that I came across were pretty questionable (upcharge, email-based, bloatware). Has anyone any experience with converting Word Documents to PDF? Software recommendation?

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Install PDF output printer driver, print to PDF.

If you're on a Mac, PDF printing is built in to the OS. I don't know if recent versions of Windows do the same.

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But... Word itself can output to PDF! Couldn't tell you what version you'd need at minimum to do that though.

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Doom Marine said:

It worked, cool stuff.


Horray! :D

I used a driver for pdf output on my CAD software (Microstation) when I was at my drafting job, worked a charm. :)

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If you install Adobe Reader, you probably have Adobe PDF as a printer option in the Print dialog box. Or are you among those who hate Adobe Reader? Or does it only work under Windows 8?

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I have Adobe Reader, but last time I checked, there was no Adobe PDF option in the print dialog box.

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fraggle said:

Install PDF output printer driver, print to PDF.


That. Any other external solution nowadays tends to be a scam of sorts, and I wonder why anyone would choose it other than sheer ignorance.

As for built-in PDF printing....in MS Word 2003 and even 2007 you needed to install a post-installation plugin, if you wanted PDF export capabilities. Either that, or go the PDF printer way. I don't know if the MS-specific plugin has any advantages though.

Good thing you weren't looking for PDF to Word converters, BTW....talk about fitting a square peg in a round hole.

ducon said:

LibreOffice (or unoconv)?


Good luck with compatibility and preserving .DOC/.DOCX formatting, with anything that isn't made by M$. Maybe with very simple documents, but experience has taught me not to trust any tool other than Word itself NOT to break arbitrary .doc/.docx files horribly.

printz said:

If you install Adobe Reader, you probably have Adobe PDF as a printer option in the Print dialog box.


I think this capability only came/comes with the full Adobe Acrobat suite, not just the reader.

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Why would you want to back up your old documents in an uneditable format?

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Bucket said:

Why would you want to back up your old documents in an uneditable format?

Why would he want to edit his old documents? PDF is a sensible backup format, as it's portable.

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Bucket said:

Why would you want to back up your old documents in an uneditable format?


I was told that it increases the legitimacy of the documents from that alone.

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Bucket said:

Why would you want to back up your old documents in an uneditable format?

PDFs are uneditable?

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GreyGhost said:

PDFs are uneditable?


In the sense of being as easy to edit as an ordinary word processor document, yes, they are practically uneditable from the POV of the average user of word processor suites.

You might annotate them etc. with some tools, but I'm not aware of any word processor (or even a "page processor", if you're into DTP) that uses PDF as a native load/save format for everyday work. Even professional word processors like Quark CopyDesk, Adobe InDesign etc. don't use PDF as an everyday editing format, but only as the final exportable, while they use their own container formats for work-in-progress.

Otherwise there wouldn't be so many PDF-to-word converters and the such, indicating that importing PDF back into an editable format is far from being a 1:1 reversible process.

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$ pdftotext file.pdf
$ ed file.txt
"file.txt", 1333 lines, 3153 chars
:

I canz edit pdf to! ;-/)

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GreyGhost said:

PDFs are uneditable?

For the most part, yes. I mean, technically it is possible to edit them, but it's not what they're designed for.

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Maes said:

You might annotate them etc. with some tools, but I'm not aware of any word processor (or even a "page processor", if you're into DTP) that uses PDF as a native load/save format for everyday work. Even professional word processors like Quark CopyDesk, Adobe InDesign etc. don't use PDF as an everyday editing format, but only as the final exportable, while they use their own container formats for work-in-progress.

What about Adobe Acrobat Professional, isn't it the original product to work on PDFs?

Otherwise there wouldn't be so many PDF-to-word converters and the such, indicating that importing PDF back into an editable format is far from being a 1:1 reversible process.

What about OCR? Though I find it more useful not to convert to DOCX, but to just convert a pure image PDF to a searchable one. All of them seem to be expensive…

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printz said:

What about Adobe Acrobat Professional, isn't it the original product to work on PDFs?


They too have an assortment of tools that uses PDF mainly as an export format, and have limited editing ability of particular types PDF files e.g. forms that were created by themselves. But there's no Wunderwaffe-like do-it-all PDF editor that take any arbitrary PDF file and make it fully editable in every last bit of detail. Not that it stops people from trying, but by-and-large, PDF is an export-only format. If you manage to squeeze out any sort of repeatable editability out of a PDF file, consider yourself lucky.

printz said:

What about OCR? Though I find it more useful not to convert to DOCX, but to just convert a pure image PDF to a searchable one. All of them seem to be expensive…


OCR does exactly what you said, pretty well in some cases, but I don't see what it has to do with making a PDF file fully editable, including pixel- (or dot-) precise tables, forms, images and absolute page positioning. Again, tools that try to do that have always existed, but the "reverse" process is never perfect, far from it. And yeah, most tools that can do any of that to a meaningful degree are usually expensive, commercial packages.

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Just had another breakthrough: You can actually insert vector graphics into Word via Windows Metafile (*.WMF), and from Word, you can convert to PDF with the vector graphics assets intact (and not be rasterized).

Using Adobe Illustrator, vector graphics can be exported explicitly as Windows Metafile (*.WMF), which can in turn be inserted into a Word Document as a vector-based asset.

Printing Word to PDF using the Bullzip Free PDF Printer will preserve the vector graphics.

One of the files I'm trying to convert:

Click on image for High-Resolution

All assets were created from scratch in Adobe Illustrator. Now I just gotta replace all the bitmap images with its vectorized counterparts.

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Doom Marine said:

Just had another breakthrough: You can actually insert vector graphics into Word via Windows Metafile (*.WMF)


Die-know-might! Your cooking with gas!

J/K, I knew for a long time that WMF existed and was a windows-specific vector graphics format, but only recently I found a practical use for it: including MATLAB figures into word documents without the pains of *.eps files and without the loss of rasterization.

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