Project Description

How to Convert PDF to Word on Mac (inc M1 Macs)

Tips • Oct.18, 2021

Confused about how to convert PDF to Word on Mac? Using the wrong tool can leave you with a lot of work formatting and fixing every part of the PDF. Hence, we are here with 6 quick and easy methods to get your PDF converted to Mac with no issues.

Converting PDF to Word is not at all difficult. It might be a little challenging if you’re a beginner, but other than that process is basic and works in a pinch. All you need to do is take care of the formatting, as sometimes the conversion process can have some errors. So, let us dive straight in and look at the methods that can help you convert PDFs to Word files.

Read: The Best Mac PDF Converters Worth Checking Out

1. Convert PDF to Word using Preview

The first method is relatively straightforward and doesn’t require any special tool or app to work. It is perfect for PDFs with a lot of words and sentence and little to no images. It uses the “Preview” app built into every Mac and then the copy-paste functionality to copy the “information” to a Word file. Here’s how you can use Preview:

  • Firstly, select the PDF and open it on Preview
  • Next, hit the “Command” + “A”keys, and all the texts should be highlighted
  • Now, hit the “Command” + “C”keys on the keyboard, and this will copy all the texts
  • Now, run Word and create a new document and paste all the copied data there
  • Finally, fix the formatting errors and save the Word file as a .docx, and you’re done

Note: This method is best if you don’t want to use some other app and have many texts to work with on the PDF. Hence, fixing formatting errors and including images later in the Word file will make the process smoother.

2. Convert PDF to Word using Automator

Automator is a powerful tool built into macOS to help with simple repetitive tasks. It enables you to go through a lot of files and quickly do standard tasks such as renaming a file or resizing images.

However, just like Preview, Automator can’t convert PDFs to Word, but it can extract all the text out of a PDF file. This can be helpful when you have a whole lot of PDFs that you need to convert to Word files. So, here’s how you can use Automator:

  • Firstly, run Automator and choose the “Workflow” type for your document
  • Now, look for PDFs on the left “Action” tab, select it and drag and drop the PDF file
  • Next, select the “Extract PDF Text” option, and you should see something similar to the screenshot above
  • Choose the output as “Rich Text” to maintain the formatting and select the Output folder
  • Finally, hit on the “Run” button to start the process, and it will convert your PDF to a text document

3. Convert PDF to Word using Google Docs

Google Docs is a great way to convert your PDF files. However, it would require you to be connected to the internet and have a google account. If you do, you’re set as the process is relatively simple and easy to get used to.

With that said, you would need to enable a few options and then convert a PDF file to Word format. You can also use Google Docs to edit PDFs, add in other crucial data, and save it as a Word file. However, if you just want to convert your PDFs, then here’s how you can use Google Docs:

  • Firstly, head onto your Google Drive and log in to your account
  • Next, look for the “Settings” tab and click on it, and you will see a window pop up similar to the screenshot above
  • Now, enable the “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format” option
  • Next, go back to google drive and click on the PDF you want to convert, and open it with Google Docs
  • Finally, once the file opens, click on the “File” tab on the menu bar above and save it as a Microsoft Word file

Note: Google Docs might remove some images from the PDF, so make sure to double-check everything.

4. Convert PDF to Word using 3rd-party apps

If nothing above worked for you and you are still looking for the perfect app to help convert PDF files to Word, then we recommend using a third-party PDF to Word Conversion tool for the job. There are a lot of great PDF conversion apps, but we use Adobe Acrobat Pro DC as it is easy to work with.

The Acrobat app is simple, easy to use, has a great UI, and can convert multiple PDFs simultaneously, making the task easier and faster. You can also use the app to combine multiple PDFs, convert them to an image, or many more. However, here’s how you can convert PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC:

  • Firstly, download and run the app from the official website
  • Next, select the “Export PDF” tool, and you should see a window similar to the screenshot above
  • Now, drag and drop your PDF files and select Microsoft Word as the desired output
  • Finally, click on the “Export” button and let the app convert the PDFs and save them in the specified folder

Note: This method is best for users with a lot of images embedded in the PDF files and don’t want to lose the formatting. You can also use some other third-party tools, and another great tool is Wondershare PDF Converter Pro.

5. Convert PDF to Word using Online tools

Another method to convert PDF files to Word is through using an online converter tool. We found Smallpdf perfect for the job, but you can also use tools such as Adobe Online PDF converter or SodaPDF.

To get started using the online tools or Sodapdf, follow the steps below:

  • Head on to the website for the SodaPDF online tool
  • Next, you will see a screen similar to the screenshot above
  • Drag and drop your PDF files in the big blue box
  • Next, select the output format to Word or Editable Word (OCR)
  • Now the SodaPDF tool will convert the PDF file and process it
  • Finally, you should be greeted with a “Download” button, click on it, and save your converted PDF file

Note: Using any online tools needs an active internet connection, and we recommend sticking to the tools above as they are verified, secured, and don’t leak or store your files anywhere.

6. Convert Scanned PDF to Word using OCR feature

You can also convert scanned PDF files to Word using the OCR feature. OCR is Optical Character Recognition and works by scanning through the whole document and then converting them to texts and images. We will be using Wondershare PDFElement for the job, and you can download it to do the same.

  • Firstly, download the app from the link above and run it
  • Next, select the OCR tab from the left menu bar
  • Now, choose all the PDF files that you want to convert
  • Finally, select the output folder and click on the blue “Apply” button to start the conversion process

Note: OCR is a great tool to get the correct format and all the texts and images from a PDF file. However, it is a pro feature and would require you to subscribe to the app.

How can I convert PDF files on my M1 Macbook?

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Wondershare PDF Converter Pro are actively being worked on to run natively on Apple devices with the M1 silicon chip. Many of these existing apps can run on M1 devices using Apple’ Rosetta 2 technology, but native support will come with later updates. Hence, you can use the mentioned methods above on your M1 Macbook to get started with converting PDFs without any hassle.

Note: You can also use the default Preview tool to edit the PDFs directly, which can be great if you want to highlight some points or make some markups quickly.


How do I make a PDF editable?

You can make a PDF editable by converting it to a Word file using the methods above or using PDF editing tools. These tools help you edit PDF without converting them and come with many great features. Hence, we recommend using the PDF Expert or PDFpen tools for the job.

How do I edit a Word document on a Mac?

You can use the inbuilt Word viewer to open and edit .docx files, or you can download the official Microsoft Word app from the App Store and use it to edit Word files. This will give you the best experience, and you will have all the functionality that Microsoft Word provides.

How do I convert PDF to Word on Mac for free?

While the process of converting PDF to Word is easy, some pro apps can charge you a subscription fee. However, all the methods above, such as using the inbuilt Automator app or Google Docs, are entirely free to use and allow you to convert PDF to Word on Mac for free.

Final words

Now that you know the steps and process of how to export PDF to Word. Extracting text from PDFs or even editing the PDF file directly shouldn’t pose any issue. Hence, you should be able to take control of your important files and make any edits as required.

Best of all, the apps or tools above are all free to use and also work with the latest M1 Macbooks and Macs. So, you can rest assured that all your PDF files will be converted easily without hassle. With that said, we have reached the end and hope you have a great time converting all your PDF files to Word format.