Free web-based converter PDF-to-Word turns static PDF files into edit-friendly Word documents with surprising, reliable accuracy. It’s in closed beta right now, but Lifehacker readers can get in early. Made by the same folks behind the previously mentioned PDF Download browser add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer, along with the well-received Nitro PDF Professional, PDF-to-Word converter is a bit more simple. You upload a PDF, choose Word or Rich Text Format, and fork over your email address. The RTF files are, well, as good as straight-up text can be. The Word results, though, are impressively faithful to your PDF originals, with lines, graphics, boxes, and other elements retained and arranged in fluid layouts.
That’s gonna give a lot of us pause for thought—many PDFs contain information we don’t exactly want floating around. Assuming the email you’re receiving your conversions at is secure, here’s what Nitro says about their PDF-to-Word tool:
- The PDF files you upload for conversion are deleted straight after being converted.
- The DOC/RTF files we generate are deleted immediately after we email you them.
- At no stage are your files looked at or touched by the administrator of our PDF-to-Word service.
Your email address
- The email address you use to receive your converted files will never be used to send you unsolicited emails or sold off.
If that’s cool with you, or if you only plan on turning over PDFs that don’t contain your essential details, here’s some detail on how it looks.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the standard IRS W9 form for independent contractor pay:
Even with more complex, designer-ific PDFs, like this art gallery opening invitation, PDF-to-Word pays off, making the text editable and matching it pretty closely to the original fonts. Here’s a partial screen capture of the PDF (opened in Foxit Reader):
And the result from a PDF-to-Word conversion:
I didn’t have any protected PDFs to try out with the service, but my guess is they’d work just fine, since the webapp seems to be simply plucking the elements out of the originals and calculating best-practice placement in a Word file.
PDF-to-Word is in closed beta right now, but use the beta invite code
lifehackers and a valid email to get in. Our readers get 2,000 invites, so act sooner rather than later if you’re intrigued.
PDF-to-Word is free to use (while in beta), requires a sign-up.