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The best free PDF to Word converter 2021: convert PDFs for easier editing

The best free PDF to Word converter
(Image credit: M_Agency / Shutterstock)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

With the best free PDF to Word converter, you can turn those PDF documents into Microsoft Word files effortlessly, while keeping the original formatting.

PDFs, or portable document format files, were developed to make it easier to share documents between different computers and operating systems with minimal editing or modification. Unfortunately, while these documents are easier to share and print, they’re also hard to edit without a specialist software.

This limitation makes PDF to Word converters an extremely vital tool in any work setting. As the PDF format became mainstream, interoperability with Microsoft Word, the leading word processing application, grew tremendously. Luckily, a slew of reliable PDF to Word converters were developed, and we tested the top free ones to gather the best of the bunch in one place. 

Here are our top picks for the best free PDF to Word converters. Each of these has specific strengths and key selling propositions, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide which is the most ideal for your needs. And, if you need to keep your PDFs in their current format, also check out our guide to the best free PDF editors.

The best PDF to Word converter overall is: Adobe Acrobat DC
If you want to make the most of PDFs, Adobe Acrobat DC is unquestionably the best tool for the job. It allows you to create PDFs from scratch, edit them natively, convert them to just about any format. You can do this on any desktop or mobile device, and easily collaborate with others through the Adobe Document Cloud. It's not free like the options below, but it's more affordable than you might expect with various plans available.

The best free PDF to Word converter: WPS PDF to Word

WPS PDF to Word Converter (Image credit: WPS/Shutterstock)

1. WPS PDF to Word Converter

An accurate and impressive free PDF to Word converter

Specifications
Operating system: Windows, Android
Reasons to buy
+Splits and merges documents+Batch conversion+Maintains original layout
Reasons to avoid
-Five-page limit

WPS PDF to Word Converter is great for quickly converting from PDF to Word, even if you have batches of documents and want to retain your original formatting. It works on Windows, has an Android app, and has an online converter as well. In our test on Windows 10, images, tables, colors, and even non-standard fonts were preserved in documents created using this product, as was the layout and spacing.

One pain point that people often face is splitting and then merging different sections of a PDF document into one file. With the WPS PDF converter, you can choose the pages you want to convert, order them however you wish, and export a new document in a number of different formats, all with your original formatting and layout intact.

The best free PDF to Word converter: Wondershare PDFElement

Wondershare PDFElement (Image credit: Wondershare/Shutterstock)

2. Wondershare PDFElement

A full PDF conversion suite in one neatly designed package

Specifications
Operating system: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Reasons to buy
+Great for image-rich PDFs+Supports multiple file types+Document protection
Reasons to avoid
-Five-page limit

With this free PDF to Word converter, you can create, convert, edit, and even sign PDF documents. It works on Windows and Mac and has a full-feature word processor much like MS Word that gives you a great deal of control over the documents, text, and images you want to manipulate. You can insert comments anywhere in your file, have someone else review and sign the document once it is ready, and easily share it with collaborators.

There were a few interesting advanced features with this product as well. For example, you can protect specific sections of your document so that only recipients who have the required permissions can see that information, and you can even download an app for iOS and Android to work on your PDF conversions on the go.

The best free PDF to Word converter: Nitro PDF to Word Converter

Nitro PDF to Word Converter (Image credit: Nitro/Shutterstock)

3. Nitro PDF to Word Converter

Great for text, but not a good choice for image-heavy documents

Specifications
Operating system: Windows
Reasons to buy
+Easy to learn and use+Creates, edits and converts+Review and annotate documents
Reasons to avoid
-Only five conversions per month

With Nitro PDF converter, you can upload batches of files, but your converted files are emailed to you so you need to provide an email address to receive your documents. Also, it is only available as a 14-day trial, and you are restricted to five conversions per month. This is a pretty tight limit that seriously restricts the usefulness of the product, in addition to the fact that it only works on Windows.

This free PDF converter converts text accurately but images are sometimes distorted in the output file. Other potential problems include random spaces or unexpected line breaks appearing in your final document. However, these issues are pretty minor and can be corrected manually unless you have large batches of files to convert at a time.

The best free PDF to Word converter: UniPDF

UniPDF (Image credit: PDF to Word Converter/Shutterstock)

4. UniPDF

Works well with simple documents, but struggles with formatting

Specifications
Operating system: Windows
Reasons to buy
+Images preserved quite well+Small, lightweight app
Reasons to avoid
-Some text formatting lost-Three-page limit

This free PDF to Word converter was designed for Windows and saves you from issues related to long upload or download times that are commonly seen with various online tools. Since the application works right from your personal terminal, you do not have to trust your documents or information with a third party, which is important if you work with sensitive data.

UniPDF’s conversion accuracy leaves much to be desired, though. In some cases, the converted text can be dramatically different in size compared to the original, and columns sometimes run into each other. Accordingly, UniPDF is best for users who have only the simplest of documents to convert to Word.