How to convert PDFs to Word documents using Foxit Reader or UniPDF

Strip the text from PDFs and make it easy to edit

Converting Word documents to PDFs is easy - simply select the correct option from the Save menu - but converting PDFs to Word format is a little more complicated.

A very basic solution would be to simply copy the text of a PDF and paste it into Microsoft Word, but this is far from being an ideal solution. A far better option is to use Foxit Reader or UniPDF to save an existing PDF in a different format - particularly if you need to convert several files at once. Here's how to do it.

The Foxit Reader method

Foxit Reader is our favorite free PDF reader, and it's superb for converting files as well as viewing, annotating and editing them

1. Get Foxit Reader

We're going to cover more than one method of PDF conversion in this tutorial, but we'll start by taking a look at the conversion process with Foxit Reader. While it's primarily a tool for simply reading PDFs (in fact, it's our favorite free PDF reader), it can also be used for other PDF-related tasks. Download the software, run through the installation process as normal, and then launch the program and load up a PDF file you would like to convert into a different file format.

Download here: Foxit Reader

Once you've converted your PDF to text format, it's ready to open in Word, with no unwanted formatting

2. Convert to text

Converting from PDF to Word format with Foxit Reader is a two-step process, but it's incredibly simple. You'll first need to convert from PDF to text format,  then convert from text to Word. 

With your chosen PDF loaded in the program, click the File tab and select the Save As option. Choose where you would like to save the converted document and enter a suitable name. From the 'Save as type' drop down menu select TXT Files (*.txt) and then click Save. This will extract the text from the file and save it as a new document.

When your converted PDF is open in Word, you can save it in any format you want

3. Open in Word

With the conversion to text format complete, you then need to open up Word (although you could also use another word processor if you prefer). In Word, click the File menu or tab and select open before browsing through the contents of your hard drive to find the text file you've just created.

If you can’t see the file, select All Files from the drop-down menu to the right of the File Name field. The file will look rather different to the original, but all of the text will be present.

If some elements haven't converted quite as you'd expect (such as drop capitals or captions), you can rectify the problem quickly in Word

4. Polish your document

You may find that you need to tidy up the text that has been extracted from the PDF file, and you'll probably want to delete some of the extra bits and pieces that have been added, such as details about page numbering and so one. 

Once this has been done, you can tinker with other formatting options before you go ahead and save it in Word format. Click the File menu, select Save As and enter a name for the file before opting to save it in Word format (.doc or .docx). Click Save and you're done. 

The UniPDF method

Unlike the all-singing, all-dancing Foxit Reader, UniPDF is designed specifically for converting files

1. Get UniPDF

Foxit Reader is great if you just have one PDF to convert, but for multiple documents UniPDF's batch conversion is ideal. Again, you can down this program free of charge from TechRadar. Once you have it , run through the installation and launch it so you can prepare for file conversion.

Download here: UniPDF

Adjusting UniPDF's default settings now will save you time in the future

2. Configure settings

Before you start file conversion, spend a moment or two configuring UniPDF's settings. Move to the Settings tab and use the Save Path section to choose the default save location for converted files. 

Beneath this, you can use the Word Format section to choose the format in which files should be saved - either Rich Text Format (.rtf), or Word (.doc). Once you're done, click the Save button to the lower right of the window and you're ready to get started.

UniPDF's simple drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to add batches of files and convert them simultaneously

3. Select your files

Move from Settings to Home and you'll find two ways to add your files. The first option is to click the Add button to the lower left of the dialog, while the second is to simply drag and drop a file or multiple files onto the UniPDF window. 

In all likelihood you will want to convert documents in their entirety, but you do have the option of just converting a few specific pages. To do this, click in the Selected Pages column and type the page range you would like to convert (2-3, for example).

UniPDF gives you a choice of formats to choose from. Simply select Word and click Convert

4. Click and convert

UniPDF can convert to a number of different file formats: Word, image formats, text and HTML. It's up to you which format you choose, but we are interested in converting from PDF to Word. 

As such, such the Word option from the right hand side of the dialog (you should find that it is selected by default anyway) and then click the Convert button to the lower right. In the pop up that appears, you need to choose where the converted files should be saved.

Click OK, and the conversion process will begin. When it's complete you will be given the opportunity to open the files or the folder containing them.

The best free PDF reader 2016

Adobe Acrobat Reader is great, but there's a wealth of other free PDF software that can do so much more. If you want to merge documents, convert them to a different format or extract images, there's a free tool that will make it straightforward.

1. Foxit Reader

A free PDF reader with a clear, ribbon-based interface, tabbed browsing, security features and support for extensions.

2. Nitro PDF Reader

Much more than just viewing - NitroPDF is a polished piece of software that offers highlighting, annotation, and the ability to add sticky notes.

3. PDF-XChange Editor

Download PDF-XChange Editor and you'll be able to track comments, add and extract pages, and even convert scanned documents to PDF format.