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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 Dave Merchant – 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 Merchant – October 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.

Products covered:

Acrobat X

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Export PDFs

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

3, 2015-10-09 09, 2015

Hi Jean,

You can find the export command for Excel under File > Save As.
If you need more detail look the Help here on page 130:



1, 2015-10-05 05, 2015

Hi, Need help to convert pdf file( multiple pages) to xls (multiple worksheets) using Adobe Acrobat X Pro. Export option and Tables in Excel Spreadsheet are not present in this software. Thanks.

Lori Kassuba

7, 2015-06-05 05, 2015

Hi ingo mayer,

Are you looking for tips on how to edit a PDF file? If so, what version of Acrobat are you using?


ingo mayer

5, 2015-06-02 02, 2015

Nice, but sadly completely useless for my problem. I would have liked to find a few hints on how to modify an existing document.

Lori Kassuba

3, 2015-04-02 02, 2015

Hi mohammad ilias,

If you want to copy text from an image you’ll need to run the Text Recognition command in Acrobat first so that the text is converted to actual words on the page.


mohammad ilias

3, 2015-03-28 28, 2015

how to copy numbers from image(.jpg, or pdf). I want to crop the copy the data from .jpg files and pdf files.

could u please held me in this regard.


Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-12-02 02, 2014

Hi shiva,

You’ll need Acrobat to do this. If you only have the free Reader, you can subscribe to ExportPDF to do this. The following tutorial explains how:



6, 2014-11-26 26, 2014

I am saw that video pdf converted to excel ,but my system there no save as format like that vido

Lori Kassuba

6, 2014-11-07 07, 2014


Do you need to edit the charts? It may not be possible except with a program like Paint if the charts are images. To find our, select the Edit Text & Images command and then select the chart. Right-click and see what it says under the Edit Using command. If it lists Microsoft Paint then the chart is an image and can only be changed in the Paint program.



6, 2014-11-06 06, 2014

i need to convert a pdf document with charts inside, to a editable microsoft program such as word. i have tried recognizing ocr text, and tried to edit it as it is, and screen shoting, it doesnt work.

please i need to find out how to convert pdf docs WHOM HAVE CHARTS into word.

Thanks, i have adobe acrobat pro, and microsoft 2010.

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-09-05 05, 2014

Hi Nimera,

No, this feature was introduced in Acrobat XI Pro.



4, 2014-08-29 29, 2014

Does Acrobat Pro x give you the ability to covert a PDF file to Power Point format

Gail Sawrie

5, 2014-01-30 30, 2014

This was tremendous! I just wish I had had the info earlier in the week. It would have saved me a lot of time!


7, 2013-10-25 25, 2013

it is helpful to me.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-07-25 25, 2013

Hi Azam,

You would need to do a search and replace on a program like Word (after you export) in order to convert numbers into text.



10, 2013-07-21 21, 2013

how to convert word into text itself in excel for example 9 into nine

Tshering Dorji

10, 2012-08-16 16, 2012

Through this lector i could not catch most of the important steps which i really need it. Therefore, i request sir to provide me with the written guidelines.

Thanking you for your support

Tshering Dorji

Hi Tshering,

If you click the link “View video transcript” that appears directly underneath the video itself, you can see the written directions.

Hope this helps.


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