The Best Mac PDF Converter of 2018
Business • June 8, 2017
Perhaps you have noticed by now that you can’t simply attempt to open a PDF file with Pages, Office, TextEdit, or XYZ app in Mac OS X, as it will simply be gibberish displayed.
Did you say “retyping PDF”?
It is too valuable to waste time re-entering PDF data into Microsoft word or spreadsheets on Mac — especially when it comes to maintaining the original formatting of the document.
So it’s necessary to have a powerful Mac PDF converter tool, stop re-typing another documents and get back to what’s really important—your work.
Desktop PDF converter first
While doing the research for this article, we realized there are usually two options to convert a “stubborn” PDF file to another type of document and then edit it as you want.
- Online conversion service: don’t require software installation, they’re mostly free, fast and convenient. But some important notes: first, it tends to be less secure if your PDFs contain sensitive or confidential information; second, the quality of output documents are less accurate; third, it does not support batch conversion. That means, be prepared to wait longer if you have dozens of PDFs to be converted.
- Desktop Mac PDF converter: can process files in batches, more noticeably faster than online tools, and many desktop Mac PDF converter programs feature optical character recognition (OCR) software that allows you to convert scanned PDF into other formats.
This is obviously the desktop software has generally been more powerful. Sure, you can get the most complete PDF solution Acrobat from Adobe, but they put up with expensive, feature-bloated software and less-than-stellar customer care.
Why deal with all that unnecessary stress when it can be avoided altogether with a simple change?
Choosing a good and affordable Mac desktop PDF converter
When it comes to picking the best tool for converting PDF on Mac, here is the criteria we considered:
- Ease of use: When we want to use my PDF converter, we want to simply drag-n-drop-n-go. we expect to need a Mac app that should be dead simple to use each time.
- Export options: With this category of apps, this is the single most important feature. A good PDF converter should convert a PDF into a different format such as images, text/RTF, Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. that are compatible with Apple iWork as well.
- Converting quality: While much emphasis is placed on the ability to convert PDF files, equally as important is the ability to keep the original formatting and produce high-quality results. Besides, the best programs quickly and batch processes the task to provide a pleasant conversion experience.
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) — The ability to apply Optical Character Recognition (or OCR) is extremely important as it takes an image that looks like text and converts it to actual, computer-readable text. A Mac PDF Converter that integrates OCR technology will save you tons of hours when it comes to dealing with scanned PDFs.
The winner: Wondershare PDF Converter Pro
Among all the apps that we tested, Wondershare PDF Converter Pro for Mac (US$79.95) was the clear winner.
The reason why it stands out of the competition is because of some of these features that it possesses, and the number of file types that it converts your PDF to is unparalleled.
Wondershare PDF Converter Pro for Mac version 5 helps you convert text-based and scanned PDF into following file formats:
- PDF to iWork Pages(.pages)
- PDF to Microsoft Word(.docx)
- PDF to PowerPoint(.pptx)
- PDF to Excel(.xlsx)
- PDF to RTF(.rtf)
- PDF to Text(.txt)
- PDF to ePub (.epub Book format.)
- PDF to HTML(.html)
- PDF to Images (JPG, BMP, TIFF, GIF)
Installation and interface
You can download a free trial version to test out the software. The trial version only allows you to convert the first five pages of a PDF, and OCR function isn’t available.
About the User Interface, it is sleek, not many options, which makes it easy to use. Just select the output format that you desire and click on Convert. Easy at it sounds.
The software also uses drag and drop functionality that all Mac users love, which makes it not only easy, but much gets the work done with much better pace.
After you purchase Wondershare PDF Converter Pro, you can turn on “OCR” support, and download and install the plugin first.
Drag-n-drop your scanned PDF files to it. You can also import the whole folder for conversion.
When a scanned PDF file is uploaded, the program will automatically detect it and promote you to perform OCR to make it editable.
The program will ask you to choose the right OCR language for the output documents.
Another worth-mentioning feature is the fact that optical recognition system has the ability to scan and recognize the text from your PDFs or images for 20+ languages, so chances that your text will be converted with strange characters or symbols are quite low.
PDF Converter Pro can queue as many as PDFs for conversion at one time, and you can easily select which individual pages should be picked up for conversion or define a range.
We liked PDF Converter Pro’s ability to specify different format for each PDF I uploaded and then convert them simultaneously.
PDF Converter Pro even supports password-protected PDF. If the document has security set up to prevent you from printing it, changing it, or copying its text, PDF Converter Pro ignores the restrictions.
We tested the application against PDF documents with all security measures enabled, save printing and PDF Converter Pro dealt with them with the same speed.
We tried converting about twenty different PDFs, a few ebooks I had, and regular documents that were converted from Word, Excel and PowerPoint. We even converted a scanned fax from a few months ago.
PDF to Word
The program works very well to extract all data from a simple PDF and turn it into rich DOCX file formats.
We also used the program to convert a PDF from Google drive with complex formatting, as you can see, the resulting Word file (right) looks a lot like the original PDF (left).
This is very common with this type(complex layouts) of file conversion.
PDF to Excel
We started with an Excel file that had a table and a line graph, and saved to PDF.Then the conversion for PDF to Excel got all of the data correct – the numbers and positions, the formatting of the table, including colors and fonts converted also.
PDF to PowerPoint
Like the others, we started with a PowerPoint that we saved to PDF via PowerPoint, it converted back into a PowerPoint well. The background and title became a background image, but the text was editable.
PDF to iWork Pages
We lost an original Pages document but we have a copy in PDF format, this output option helps us out. It kept the graphics which was the huge issue. It’s not 100% perfect, some text that was centered needed to be re-centered, and some of the text ends up in separate boxes, but some of that is because of the way the original was constructed.
PDF to EPUB
The EPUB conversion works very well. We downloaded a few public domain ebooks and each one converted with ease. There were no real issues with the converted files.
PDF to Images
Converting a PDF to images works pretty well. You can choose from .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .png, and .tiff. You can also select converting the PDF into one image, or extracting all images in the PDF file.
The first option, converting one page to one image works flawlessly. Extracting all images from the PDF file works pretty well, as long as the colors and shapes make it obvious. There was some difficulty with a patterned background and text.
PDF to Text/Rtf
This obviously works best if you want text pulled from your PDF. The two files that were originally Word documents converted perfectly.
But Images did not convert at all and formatting did not convert well, the PDF with a table and a chart did not convert too well.
PDF to HTML
This creates a folder for each converted file. You get an index .html file, as well as images. When we converted a PDF to HTML, it will automatically transfer all of the PDF file links to HTML file.
For the most part, this software does a great job of converting PDFs to other formats properly. And it does a much better job than other software I’ve used, especially with poor quality PDFs that were scanned from faxes.
You can download Wondershare PDF Converter Pro trial version now to give it a whirl, or get the lifetime version at the list price $79.95.
Nuance PDF Converter for Mac v6
Nuance PDF Converter for Mac v6(starts at US$99.99) enables you to gain control of their PDF documents and processes. Specifically, you can assemble PDF documents from a variety of sources, convert PDFs into editable formats for repurposing, create searchable files from scanned documents, and create and fill out PDF forms.
We’re pleased with PDF creation that supports any documents even a paper one,and built-in Cloud connectivity that saves PDFs directly to Evernote for accessing to your stored documents anytime,anywhere.
And like the best PDF conversion software, the app converts PDFs to Word or other Microsoft Office document types as well as to image and text files. It converts the files, and if you have forms that are filled out, it can extract the data and save it to a data file, which you can transfer and analyze in Excel or another program.
However, it does not save to ePub. This is becoming increasingly popular if you wish to make eBooks for reading on Kindle or other devices, but it’s not a necessary format for most businesses.
Another drawback of this PDF file converter is that you can only open one PDF at a time. If you open multiple PDFs at once, it opens the program for each instance.This made it a little inconvenient when working with multiple PDFs and could potentially slow your computer from having multiple versions of the full program running.
OCR Kit Pro (US$59.99) has a useful goal:converting scanned or printed documents into searchable PDF files (also RTF, HTML and text). You drag in graphics, it produces documents. It couldn’t be simpler to use.
It supports about 25 languages and offers different options for you to customize the conversion.
We did like the app’s PDF output. OCRKit combined the scanned image visuals with the interpreted text. It made it easy to search for text and find it within the context of the original document. The product’s output is something many users will find of value.
An app like this lives and dies by virtue of of its precision, however. Unfortunately, OCRKit did not shine in comparison tests. I created a number of samples and ran them through OCRKit as well as Wondershare PDF Converter Pro tool.
Lighten PDF Converter Master for Mac
Lighten PDF Converter(US49.99) is a lightweight and simple to use application that enables you to transform read-only documents, such as PDFs to editable files, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint files, as well as CSV or image formats.
The software supports batch conversion, as well as a full preview of each file, thanks to the integrated PDF reader.
The software enables you to draw table areas in the reader area, in order to highlight or preserve certain formatting particularities.
Several output formats require additional settings, such as JPG, TXT, CSV or XLSX. In case you convert the PDFs to images, you may select to extract only the images from the input files, then resize each picture in order to fit the page format.
Moreover, the Master version does not have OCR function, so scanned PDF will be converted as image instead of editable text in Word.
Overall, compared to other converters, Wondershare PDF Converter Pro for Mac definitely comes out ahead.
As far as the PDF OCR is concerned, just make sure you download the OCR plugin and install it first.
Wondershare PDF Converter Pro is continually being updated too, we can’t wait to see what else is done to improve this fantastic application!