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How to export PDF files to Word or Excel using Reader

Learn how to convert PDF to Word or convert PDF to Excel using the free Reader.

By Donna Baker – May 10, 2013


In this tutorial, learn how to convert PDF to Word or convert PDF to Excel using Reader. This feature requires a subscription to either the Adobe PDF Pack or Adobe Export PDF online service.

You can also Convert PDF to JPG online for free.

Products covered:

Acrobat Reader

Related topics:

Export PDFs

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

5, 2015-07-17 17, 2015

Hi Ken Caine,

Point your browser to and log in using your Adobe ID. Or in Reader DC, you can get to the service from the Export PDF tool automatically.


Ken Caine

9, 2015-07-13 13, 2015

I have an online subscription convert PDF to Word, but cannot find the adobe site where to log-in to the subscription service

Lori Kassuba

7, 2015-01-30 30, 2015

Hi Harvey White,

Can you explain what you can’t edit in Word?


Harvey White

3, 2015-01-29 29, 2015

I subscribed to the Adobe Reader program to convert PDF files to Word. Problem is the formatting that is now in the Word doc. keeps me from being able to edit. Help please

Lori Kassuba

6, 2014-11-03 03, 2014

You can use the PDF Pack subscription service to do this either from within Reader or using your browser at:


Mandakini Nanda

7, 2014-11-01 01, 2014

Want to know,,,hou we can convert a pdf file to word document & hoe to download in my computer

Lori Kassuba

3, 2014-10-30 30, 2014

Hi Don,

Can you tell me what application created the PDF? This is listed under Edit > Properties. If it’s some sort of 3rd party tool, you’ll need to contact that company per this policy:



8, 2014-10-28 28, 2014

I have Adobe Reader X and was lead to believe via Adobe that I could purchase the converter software (which I did) to convert pdf to Excel or Word.  The conversion to excel does save any formats and is a complete display of confusion.

Lori Kassuba

5, 2014-08-22 22, 2014

Hi Roger Berg,

I would suggest working a PDF forms consultant on your project. You can find may experts in this area on the site at:


Roger Berg

10, 2014-08-21 21, 2014

I have a ordersheet for my customers that specify the components in my product and i would like help from someone that can make PDF order sheet that i can send to my customers and buyers were they can fill in what they want without the lines is jumping around at the page.
if you know how to do this please come back to me.
mail me back if you know about this.

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-07-23 23, 2014

Hi Greg Pierce,

You can feel free to send me the PDF you’re attempting to convert and I’ll take a look. My email is [email protected]


Greg Pierce

4, 2014-07-22 22, 2014

I bought a full version of Adobe XI. When I tried to use it to convert a .pdf file to WORD.DOC, it told me to enroll for $1.99 per month. I paid a $28. +/- fee for the minimum enrollment period of 12 months. I ran the program. It made the conversion, except it was such a mess, all garbled and confused (nothing like the normal WORD document). It’s totally unusable. Before asking for the return of my fee, I’d like to know if Adobe is proud enough of their software that they have an expert on staff to analyze situations like mine and explain to me what went wrong, or else candidly admit the Adobe converter is no where near what it is cracked up to be. Thanks.

Lori Kassuba

4, 2014-07-03 03, 2014

Hi Moejaahied Bardien,

You can try downloading the 30-day free trail of Acrobat Pro. to test this at:

You might also try some of the tips mentioned in this discussion:


Moejaahied Bardien

12, 2014-07-03 03, 2014


I have an Quantity Surveyors Bill of Quantities in PDF format and would like to convert it into excel. I have tried a lot of on-line PDF to Excel convertors and they fail horribly at performing the conversion. Would like to try the Adobe XI before buying, is there an online facility to test this specific functionality.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2014-06-06 06, 2014

Hi richelle,

If you have purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat XI, downloaded and installed it. Then all you need to do is open the PDF file and select File > Save As Other > Microsoft Word.
On the other hand, if you purchased a subscription to ExportPDF, then you can access the service through Adobe Reader but to use the proper Adobe ID, check your preferences under Edit > Preferences > Adobe Online Services.



12, 2014-06-04 04, 2014

Bought XI Pro after using trial version that worked easily.  The PURCHASED version is a nightmare!  Set it as default….doesn’t open ANY PDF files.  When opened with reader….I am logged into a different adobe account.  Can’t change account without going through Explorer….which doesn’t work on my computer (I am in Costa Rica).  Have to figure out how to export into adobe to convert PDF to word.  What a hassle….will be cancelling this….easier to pay 1.99 per document, I think,

Lori Kassuba

1, 2014-03-18 18, 2014

Hi Martin Burton,

The trial version is a fully functioning version of Acrobat XI, so all the export capability should be there unless the PDF is secured, contains a digital signature, or is reader-enabled. If you see the Save a Copy command in the File menu, try doing saving a copy first prior to exporting. Also, here is a link to some tips on how to improve the export process for tables:


Martin Burton

12, 2014-03-14 14, 2014

Lori, under the trial version of XI Pro the menu item to Save as Excel was greyed out!
Anyway I had someone else use their XI Pro Save as Excel and the result was a mess. The conversion loses integrity and randomly puts stuff in cells across the page, produces header colour wierdly, and basically is a waste of time for an 11-page document. Go back to beta test Adobe…

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-03-12 12, 2014

Hi Chris Crane,

Sorry to hear your having problems. For file conversion issues, please feel free to send a sample of your file here for review:


Chris Crane

11, 2014-03-09 09, 2014

I have purchased the program exportpdf through the adobe website. I have attempted to convert a pdf file with no success. It will download and then attempt to convert. After around 5 minutes it comes back saying that there was an error in the converting. I have tried this on several different computers, internet services and as a last resort downloaded Adobe 11. I have also tried several different pdf files. Any support would be helpful or I would like my money refunded for exportpdf.
Thank you,
Chris Crane

Lori Kassuba

7, 2014-02-12 12, 2014

Hi Martin Burton,

If you have either Acrobat XI Std. or Pro., you do not need a subscription to the ExportPDF service to convert PDF files to Excel. You only need this service if you only have the free Adobe Reader (not Acrobat).
In your free trial of Acrobat XI Pro., just look under the File > Save As Other > Spreadsheet command to convert your PDF file to Excel.


Martin Burton

9, 2014-02-10 10, 2014

This Adobe page
says ‘Quickly convert PDF files to Excel spreadsheets.
Take your data analysis further, faster with Adobe® Acrobat® XI. Save PDF tables as Microsoft Excel files, and get right to work.
Turn your PDF document into an editable Excel file
Take the tedium out of data analysis tasks. Save your entire PDF as an Excel file you can use right away. No need to reformat fonts or table layouts.’
This claim is false.
I know because I downloaded the 30 day trial version of XI last night and it doesn’t let you convert a pdf to Excel.  You have to buy a subscription to ExportPDF to do it.
So I went looking after last night’s download and found this page by Donna Baker (, which says ‘In this tutorial, learn how to convert PDF to Word or PDF to Excel using Adobe Reader XI. This feature requires a subscription to either the Adobe PDF Pack or ExportPDF online service.
Hey Adobe, be truthful!
Change your pages on the internet about converting to Excel,  and add the truth upfront - ‘This feature requires a subscription to either the Adobe PDF Pack or ExportPDF online service.’


8, 2013-11-15 15, 2013

Thank you for an opportunity to learn about Acrobat and all the functions on the computer that it makes possible for people like me to have an an opportunity to learn and become a member of a highly respected web service.  Thank You.

donna baker

4, 2013-08-16 16, 2013

Hi Bonita -

I’ve answered two of your posts, and the third has been directed to a member of the Adobe team.

The find the preferences, choose Edit > Preferences on Windows, or Adobe Reader > Preferences on Mac.

To log into your Adobe account, open the Preferences, choose Adobe Online Services and provide the information as required in that pane.


Ali Hanyaloglu

2, 2013-08-16 16, 2013

Hi Bonita,

Thanks for your comments. No one at Adobe has any intention of being deceitful with any of our customers, and I personally apologize if you feel that way.

Firstly, Adobe Reader is and continues to be free. That includes adding a signature to your PDF document via the Sign pane on the right hand side of the screen, and much more.

A login and matching subscription is only required if you want to send and track more than 5 documents per month for signing electronically online using Adobe EchoSign, or if you want to convert a document to PDF (Adobe CreatePDF) or convert a PDF to another format like Word (Adobe ExportPDF). EchoSign options are listed here (including what you can do with a free account); for CreatePDF here (this includes the ability to convert a PDF to Word and other formats); and for just the ExportPDF option here:

(Adobe Reader also provides the ability to send and track files via the Adobe SendNow service, and store files on - these also have free and paid subscription offerings with a login. But they are optional - you don’t have to use them to use Adobe Reader.)

You can open Reader preferences by choosing Edit > Preferences on your Windows PC.

I hope that clears things up for you. Feel free to post your comments here or on the forums. Thanks for using Adobe Reader and for visiting the community site.

Best wishes to you,

Ali Hanyaloglu
Sr. Product Marketing Manager
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Bonita Eaton

11, 2013-08-15 15, 2013

Donna, this has become a serious problem and I have had the same problems as Julie Fish and also have to agree with Pieter. I do not plan to “buy” a subscription. Do you have any solutions with signing in and converting adobe format to a readable Word format? The same “garbled” format occurs in Adobe Reader XI when “saving to file” and sending by email or fax. The “legal signature” which comes with this also does not always work and when it does, it tends to delete all other typed in information.
FYI: I have never found any problems with my Dell 946 3 in 1 copy,print, fax before and do not believe there is a problem suddenly with this Adobe program.

Has anyone found any resolutions yet without buying a program? Does it help even when program IS bought?
What ever happened to the “free” Adobe Reader? How can we delete Adobe Reader XI and go back to a free older version?

If this cannot be deleted, it appears that Adobe is now attempting to deceive a captive unassuming and trusting computer audience into downloading a harmful and useless program. Trust and Reputation is important and makes sales. Lies and Deception can lose friends and clients forever.
I DO want to thank everyone who have tried honestly to help others and may God Bless you.

Bonita Eaton

9, 2013-08-14 14, 2013

Where do you find “Reader Preferences” Donna?

Bonita Eaton

9, 2013-08-14 14, 2013

Could you please explain how to log in to Adobe Reader XI on my computer? Is the user name the email address, and the password the same as it is on your website?

donna baker

6, 2013-07-15 15, 2013

Hi Julie -

What you’re describing is common with scanned documents where the scan utility isn’t used to its best advantage (such as making a color scan for a black and white page) or when the fonts used aren’t perfectly legible. I’m afraid there isn’t anything you can do about it, except perhaps try the scan again.


julie fish

1, 2013-07-01 01, 2013

After converting a pdf document to word the formatting is all over the place and random letters and numbers appear, changing words and sentences! I was hoping to avoid retyping documents, hence buying AdobeexportPDF.  Any ideas anyone?

donna baker

4, 2013-06-04 04, 2013

Hi Pieter -

You need to check your account at either CreatePDF or ExportPDF. Log into your service and leave the window open. Then try from Reader again, which may allow the process to work correctly as you’re bypassing the login process from Reader.

Check the Reader preferences to see if your login information is correct.


Pieter Van der Merwe

11, 2013-05-22 22, 2013

I have been followong these steps and did as instructed. Yet, I continue to get the message “an error occurred while trying to log in”. As a result, I cannot use your conversion service. This is increasingly frustrating, for I need to make use of conversions quite oftern, but the service seems to be defect!

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.