The best free PDF to Word converters make it simple and easy to convert Adobe files for use in Microsoft applications.
You’re probably not new to PDFs, aka Portable Document Format files, as they are everywhere in the business world. This format was developed by Adobe for easier sharing between operating systems and computers with limited editing and modification. Of course, they may be simpler to share or print, but they’re much harder to edit without special software.
It’s because of this restriction that PDF to word converters have such a useful place in the workplace. While it’s easy to turn a word document into a PDF, it’s usually not possible to go the other way. While this has been a growing frustration as PDFs have become more mainstream over the years, a number of converters have cropped up to fill the void. To help you, we’ve tested and collected our top picks, all of which are free, in this guide.
We tested out the best PDF to Word converters across various aspects, including batch conversion, document protection, image quality, and conversion page limits.
We’ve highlighted the strengths and key features of each converter, but if you need to edit your PDFs while sticking to the file format, take a look through our best free PDF editors guide.
The best PDF to Word converter overall is: Adobe Acrobat DC (opens in new tab)
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 converters of 2022 in full
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.
Read our full WPS Office Free review.
PDF Candy has to be one of the simplest PDF to Word converters on the market. A clean, uncomplicated interface makes navigation fluid, and the service boasts of the ability to convert PDFs in just a single click.
To make things really easy, when you land on the PDF Candy homepage, you can start converting straight away. Scroll down, though, and you’ll see individual options to convert PDF to Word (and vice versa) or PDF to DOCX (and, again, vice versa).
Select the format you want. Add your file - uploaded from the desktop, or via your DropBox or Google Drive cloud storage. The file will automatically begin converting. You can then download it, or upload to your cloud storage. It’s impressively quick and easy.
But PDF Candy is more than just a PDF to Word converter. You’ll find 19 ‘convert to PDF’ tools, with support for images, Office software, and even eReader formats. Converting from PDF offers up 10 options, including PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, JPG, and OCR.
In total, the platform packs in 47 tools - from PDF compressors and mergers, to protecting and watermarking files. That comprehensive toolset alone earned it a place on our best free PDF editors guide.
When we tried out the service, we were impressed to find “simplifies and streamlines online PDF editing and converting, while packing in plenty of extra tools you didn't know you needed until now.”
But we noted the free version comes with a severe limitation: you can only perform one task per hour.
If you’re a casual user, that might not be an issue. Professional PDF power-users, however, will need to explore the platform’s premium monthly and annual subscriptions. A lifetime license is also available.
Read our full PDF Candy review
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.
This product had a few interesting advanced features that we didn’t see on the other best free PDF to Word converters. 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.
Read our full PDFelement review.
With Nitro PDF converter, you can upload batches of files, but your converted files are emailed to you so you will 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 OS.
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.
Read our full Nitro PDF review.
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. Unlike the other best free PDF to Word converters, the UniPDF app is lightweight and installs in the blink of an eye. But the free plan doesn't have useful features, like batch conversions and unlimited conversions.
UniPDF’s conversion accuracy leaves much to be desired, too. 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.
What is a PDF to Word converter?
PDF to Word converters transform PDF (Portable Document Format) files to docx files you can easily edit in Word. The nature of the PDF file is such that it cannot be edited unless it's converted into an editable file format. Alternatively, there also exist special software that can edit PDFs directly, without conversion.
How to choose the best free PDF to Word converter for you?
When considering the best free PDF to Word converter, you’ll want to take into account what your conversion needs are. If you’re converting multiple files, you’ll want to pick a converter that supports bulk conversions. Converting an image-heavy PDF? Choose an app that doesn’t compromise on image quality. And if you’re looking to convert sensitive documents, you'll want to pick a converter that can be installed on your computer and accessed locally.
Alternatively, if you only need to change a few parts of the PDF, it’ll be more efficient to use a PDF Editor than a converter.
The best free PDF to Word converter: How we test
To test the best free PDF to Word converters, we first examined what platforms they run on and whether they’re only available online or can be installed locally. If there was an option to install locally, we assessed the application’s download and install time. We tested how many PDF files the converter could handle per day, the quality of conversion with regards to texts and images, and whether the spacing and layout were converted accurately. We also checked if the converters offered advanced features, like document protection, annotation, and signing.
Also, we've tested and ranked the best free office software.