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Best Word to PDF converter of 2021: Free and paid DOC conversion for Windows, Mac, Android and online

Fingers typing on a computer keyboard.
(Image credit: Pixabay)

The best Word to PDF converters make it simple and easy to save and manage Word files as PDF files.

The PDF file format has certain advantages over Word’s .doc format, especially when you need to share documents with other people for desktop and laptop devices. PDFs have been an open standard since 2008, and all modern operating systems and web browsers are perfectly capable of displaying PDFs. 

You can rely on a PDF to present your content exactly how you want it, no matter on what device or browser it's being viewed. PDFs look professional, and you can even include any preferred fonts without worrying about whether the recipient has them installed.

Microsoft Word 2013 and newer versions support exporting to PDF directly from within the software, but if you want to perform batch conversions or edit the PDF afterward, you’ll need a dedicated PDF editor with Word to PDF conversion functionality.

In this article, we feature the best Word to PDF converter software currently available.

We've also featured the best free PDF to Word converters.


The best PDF software is Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

The best PDF software is Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 

Whatever you need to convert to PDF format, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is the tool for you. It gives you total freedom to create PDFs from scratch and edit existing documents without fuss, on desktop or mobile. Of course, it also has a comprehensive range of convertors, and is the best PDF software you can buy overall.

(Image credit: Soda PDF)

1. Soda PDF

Powerful Word to PDF converter

Reasons to buy
+Online version is fully featured+Easy to edit PDFs after conversion+14-day trial without watermarks+Intuitive user interface
Reasons to avoid
-Business plan doesn’t include web app

If you want PDF software that can do more than just convert from Word to PDF, consider Soda PDF. This software rivals Adobe Acrobat Pro in its features, allowing you to convert between an extensive list of file formats and edit your created PDFs. A Soda PDF license gets you access to both the powerful online editor and offline desktop app.

You can create a PDF from any Word document, and merge multiple Word documents into a single PDF. You can even batch convert Word documents into individual PDFs.

There are a few ways to pay for Soda PDF, including a one-off payment depending on features, a monthly plan, or a yearly plan. Business plans are also available.

Soda PDF is intuitive to use and has advanced features such as PDF forms, secure signing, and OCR, so if you work with PDFs daily, it’s an excellent choice.


(Image credit: Foxit)

2. Foxit PDF Editor

All-in-one Word to PDF converter and editor

Reasons to buy
+All-in-one PDF converter and editor+Useful video tutorials+Set details like margin size on import+Available online version
Reasons to avoid
-Each device requires a separate license

Foxit is a company that’s almost as synonymous with PDF as Adobe, having offered PDF editing tools for decades. Its most recent software, Foxit PDF Editor, is a clear choice for converting Word documents to PDF, having additional settings upon conversion that other software don’t.

For example, you can set file options for optimizing the PDF for online viewing, add a watermark, ensure that the file conforms to specific PDFA standards (PDF/A-1b to PDF/A-3u), add headers and footers, and specify passwords and permissions. While these features are often available in other PDF editors, being able to save them as a template and use them repeatedly for batch processing is an excellent time-saving feature.

However, while a software like Soda PDF has an online version nearly identical to its desktop version in functionality, the online version of Foxit PDF Editor is quite basic and feels like a different product entirely.

Foxit PDF Editor has a free 14-day evaluation and comes in Standard and Business versions. The Standard version has almost all the features that most businesses will need for a monthly fee. A perpetual license is available but doesn’t include future updates to the software. Overall, Foxit PDF Editor is an excellent candidate for the best Word to PDF converter available today.


Website screenshot for PDFelement

(Image credit: PDFelement)

3. PDFElement

Top-rated PDF conversion and editing tool

Reasons to buy
+Editing PDFs is a breeze+Easily export to other file formats+Online sharing via Dropbox and Google Drive+Fast conversion speed
Reasons to avoid
-Can’t change image compression-No export to XML option

Wondershare PDFElement is a top-rated PDF conversion and editing tool. It supports all Microsoft Office formats but can convert from a wide range of image file types.

The main toolbar in Wondershare PDFElement includes options for batch converting from Word documents and combining Word documents into a single PDF. The tools work well at creating an accurate representation of the Word document in PDF format, but we found that batch converting many large Word documents at a time could cause the program to stop responding.

The PDFElement conversion tool also doesn’t have the immediate flexibility of Foxit PhantomPDF in terms of specifying margins, file permissions, and watermarks upon import. However, the robust set of batch processing tools does allow you to make batch changes to your PDFs after you’ve imported them.

Wondershare PDFElement is available for a yearly subscription, with different pricing options according to the number of features you want. The Pro version, for example, includes batch processing. Overall, it’s well worth considering, as its PDF editing tools are some of the most intuitive to use.

Read our full PDFelement Pro review.


(Image credit: Nitro)

4. Nitro Pro

Windows app for converting .doc to .pdf

Reasons to buy
+Fast file conversions+Batch processing of Word document conversions+14-day trial+Transparent pricing
Reasons to avoid
-No online tools-Lacks Mac OS app

Nitro Pro is a Windows-only desktop app for converting and editing PDFs. Its fast PDF creation can convert all Microsoft Office file types, WordPerfect, images, and HTML.

In our testing, we found Nitro Pro to be one of the best choices for batch Word to PDF conversions. You can set generated PDFs to be PDF/A-1b compliant, and the software has no problems converting multiple large Word documents accurately.

Although it has reasonably good PDF editing tools, Nitro Pro feels less intuitive to use than Wondershare PDFElement and Soda PDF. Sometimes, though, it’s just a case of needing an extra mouse-click here and there to get things done.

Nitro Pro has a refreshingly simple pricing plan that charges per user. You can contact the company for special pricing should you need more than 20 licenses, and a 14-day fully functional trial is available to download.

Read our full Nitro PDF Reader review.


(Image credit: SmallPDF)

5. Smallpdf

For small volume Word to PDF conversions

Reasons to buy
+Basic conversion service is free+Accurate PDFs created from DOC/DOCX+Simple to use+Drag-and-drop interface
Reasons to avoid
-Basic PDF editor-Free version has many ads       

Smallpdf is an online PDF editor with a desktop version available if you buy the Pro package. This converter is a suitable choice if you only need to perform a few conversions between Word and PDF. Its basic features are free, but you’re limited to one conversion at a time.

Besides converting between Word and PDF, you can merge, split, and perform simple PDF editing. The editing features are quite basic, only allowing you to add text, images, and shapes, so if you need to edit PDFs often, you should probably explore other converter options.

The paid version removes ads and file conversion limitations, and can be paid for monthly or yearly. You can try before you buy, as a 14-day free trial is available.

Read our full SmallPDF review.

We've also featured the best PowerPoint to PDF and JPG to PDF converters,

Richard Sutherland

Richard brings over 20 years of website development, SEO, and marketing to the table. A graduate in Computer Science, Richard has lectured in Java programming and has built software for companies including Samsung and ASDA. Now, he writes for TechRadar, Tom's Guide, PC Gamer, and Creative Bloq.