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How to export PDF to Word or Excel using Acrobat X

Learn how to convert PDF to Word documents and convert PDF to Excel spreadsheets.

By October 10, 2010


Easily convert PDF to Word documents and convert PDF to Excel spreadsheets using Acrobat X. You'll learn how to quickly export PDF files to fully formatted Word files or export PDF to Excel.

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How to export PDF to Word or Excel using Acrobat X

Dave MerchantOctober 10, 2010

PDF can be the ideal format for sharing documents, due to the accurate representation of page content, however you may need to extract that content for use in a different application.The ability to save some or all of a PDF into other formats has been significantly improved in Acrobat X.In this file we have quite a complex mix of text, bitmap and vector graphics, and to save it into another format, we choose File - Save As, and pick one of the options.

We can save every page to a full-size image in JPEG, lossless JPEG2000, TIFF or PNG, convert the entire document to Word or Excel Spreadsheet, or export to a number of other file types including Rich Text, Postscript, HTML and text.Export to Word and Excel now supports the Office Open XML format, so files produced can be opened in a wide range of applications, as well as the legacy formats for Office 2003.

I'll choose the Word DOCX format, and click Settings, and I can specify how Acrobat will handle the conversion.

PDF files can have pages with very complex layouts, that may be impossible to reproduce accurately in Word.

If I choose Retain Flowing Text, Acrobat will export the page content into the body of the DOCX file so it's editable as a single story, but there may be some minor changes in the position of objects.

Choosing Retain Page Layout will export the page as a series of text boxes, so the page is accurately laid out, at the expense of being a little bit more difficult to edit.I can choose to export comments within the PDF, which will appear in the Word file as text boxes, highlights or strikeouts.

I can ignore images if I just want the text, and if the PDF contains a scanned image, I can automatically run OCR to convert any text in the image into editable characters.So let's save as flowing text, turn off OCR, and see what it looks like in Word...And it's looking good - an almost perfect representation of the page, including our two-column text and graphics, and even the text within the map, which was vector art in the PDF, has been retained in editable form.Exporting a table to spreadsheet format is equally robust - here we have a table with formatted text and colored cells, and we can save this to an Excel Workbook the same way, using File - Save as - Excel Workbook.

Again we can choose to run OCR if the PDF contains a scanned image, but in this case we don't need to.

Click Save -- and in Excel, we have the spreadsheet in exactly the same format as it was in the PDF.Of course you don't always want to export an entire file, and in previous versions of Acrobat we could use the Select tool to pick an image or some text, and copy it to the clipboard - but we couldn't copy both at the same time.

The new Select tool in Acrobat X can still do that, but now we can drag across an area of the page and select everything - text, bitmap and vector graphics, all in one go.Right-clicking on that selection allows us to copy it to the clipboard with the formatting preserved, or save the selection to a file.

I'll choose to save it to a DOCX file......

and as you can see, we just get our selection, accurately keeping the formatting and even cutting the logo in half, where our selection box ended.I can select an entire page, or a selection that spans across pages, accurately keeping the formatting of both sides.If I'm selecting an area of text, and I want to force the tool to use the new area selection, I just hold down the control or Command key, and that allows me to draw my box.I'll select this area of the page - including a paragraph and half a table - and copy it to the clipboard, then back in Word I can simply paste it into an existing document, preserving all of the formatting.And finally, if you have a PDF containing a large number of images and photos, you can export them all into individual files in a single operation.

From the new Tools Pane, if it's not already active open the menu and turn on Document Processing, then click Export All Images.

Choose a filename and file type, and on the Settings dialog you can specify the details of each file and exclude images below a certain size, for example to avoid exporting icons or graphical bullet points.

Click OK, and Save, and Acrobat will export all the images into a folder, so they're easy to use in another application such as Photoshop or InDesign.

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Acrobat X

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Export PDFs

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