4 Ways to Copy from PDF to Word without Losing Formatting 2022

Connie Wisley
time March 03, 2022 Preview 12.6K
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To copy text or table from PDF to Word, we can use a built-in or free PDF viewer to copy from the PDF, and then paste to a Word document. But this may lead to formatting loss, like line breaks, strange characters, messy tables, which are very annoying but can hardly avoid. 

As we know, PDF and Word are 2 different formats, there is no way to perfectly copy the formatting from PDF to Word, unless you find a professional tool to perform a perfect PDF to Word conversion. Here in this article, we will show you 4 ways to copy and paste from PDF to Word and keep formatting, on Mac or Windows. 

Reasons of Why Can’t Copy from PDF to Word?

Regardless the formatting issue, you can easily copy and paste from PDF to Word, if you cannot do so, there may be 2 reasons for this:

1) The PDF is a scanned file or created from an image

If a PDF is created from paper scans or images, the texts won’t be readable by your Mac or Windows PC, you have to use OCR technology to make the texts readable first, then copy and paste to a Word document.

2) The PDF is protected with a owner/permission password

If there is an owner/permission password added to your PDF, you won’t be allowed to copy from the PDF file, unless you remove the PDF password protection first, you can unlock this kind of PDF in Adobe, Preview or other PDF editor tools.

How to Copy and Paste from PDF to Word without Losing Formatting?

To copy text or table from PDF to Word without line breaks or strange characters and keep the same format as much as possible, using a dedicated PDF tool with PDF to Word conversion feature will make the whole process far simpler. 

Even better, these tools comes with rich features, including PDF unlock, OCR, Edit, etc. Here we cover 4 best tools to copy and paste from PDF to Word without losing formatting.

#1 Cisdem PDF Converter OCR (Windows, Mac)

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR is a powerful PDF converter, which allows you to convert both native and scanned PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Keynote, Pages, ePub and others in original formatting. With its PDF creator, you can also save Word or other document back to PDF. 

Why Use Cisdem to Copy from PDF to Word?

  • It is Easy to Use

As a PDF converter, Cisdem doesn’t require users to manually set up or tweak a long list of preferences, with several clicks to import, select format and convert, you will get a Word document from the PDF file effortlessly.

  • Copy from Native and Scanned PDF

Cisdem builds in the OCR feature too. With OCR, Cisdem allows users to copy texts from both scanned PDF and image, the texts or tables in your image-based files will change to be searchable and editable.

  • Keep Formatting

Cisdem will make the created Word document look the same as your original PDF files, there will be no garbled texts, strange characters, line breaks, extra paragraph gaps, image misplacement, etc. The font, style, image resolution, all the details will be kept the same as original.

  • Batch Process PDFs

To process multiple PDFs, you just need to batch import and enable the conversion, the conversion will auto start after the last one finishes.

  • Copy from PDF to Excel, PowerPoint, etc. as well

Not only save PDF as Word format, Cisdem PDF Converter OCR can also help copy texts or tables from PDF to Excel, PowerPoint, Keynote, Pages, ePub, HTML, Text and RTFD, so you can turn your PDF files into any recyclable resource. 

Steps to Copy Text or Table from PDF to Word without Losing Format on Windows and Mac

  1. Download and install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR.
    Free Download   Free Download
  2. Import PDF files to the program.
    Drag and drop PDF files to the program or click “+” button to add files, you can add multiple PDFs at one time;copy from pdf to word cisdem 01
  3. Set output format as Word Docx.
    You can choose file page range for partial conversion, then select output format as Word Docx or Doc. It can also auto convert scanned PDF to Word format.copy from pdf to word cisdem 02
  4. Click on the settings icon and adjust the Word output settings, then click Convert to export PDF file as Word format on Windows or Mac.copy from pdf to word cisdem 03
  5. Open the Word document, the PDF contents are all transferred to a Wor document now.

#2 Adobe Acrobat DC (Mac & Windows)

Adobe should sound familiar to all of us, it brought us so many great solutions to process graphics, documents, etc. and it is also the creator of PDF format. If you want to copy PDF from Word without losing formatting, Adobe should be considered, even though its price is too high for many of us.

Why Use Adobe to Copy from PDF to Word?

  • You can directly copy from or edit PDF in the program

It is, after all, a professional PDF editor, it can open, view, edit and export your PDF files. By rendering PDF in Adobe, you will be able to directly copy and paste from PDF to a Word document, but this may lead to format loss a little. You are recommended to use its conversion feature to save as Word and do the copy & paste later.

  • It is an almighty PDF tool

No one will doubt Adobe Acrobat’s power. In the field of PDF solutions, Adobe is the authority, it offers all features users may need to deal with their PDF files, edit, sign, protect, annotate, convert, compare, compress, etc.

Steps to Copy from PDF to Word and Save Format in Adobe

  1. Download and install Adobe Acrobat DC to your Mac or Windows PC.
  2. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat, if you want to edit the PDF first, use the editing tools from the panel.
  3. Go to Tools>Export PDF, save PDF as Word document, then do the copying & pasting.copy from pdf to word adobe02
  4. (Optional) For scanned PDF, go to Tools>Enhance Scans>Recognize Text>In this File and start the OCR process. copy from pdf to word adobe01

#3 ABBYY FineReader (Mac & Windows)

ABBYY FineReader is deemed as the best alternative to Adobe Acrobat, but more powerful on PDF OCR, it recognizes more languages and gets highly accurate OCR result. It integrates features like edit, organize, collaborate, protect, sign, create, convert, compare, search or fill PDFs, etc.

Why Use ABBYY FineReader to Copy from PDF to Word?

  • It Hands All Types of PDFs

It is capable of opening, editing and converting all kinds of PDF, native, scanned, printed, handwritten or protected PDFs, and there are tools offered to enhance the PDF files in case of conversion or OCR.

  • Direct Turn Papers to Well-formatted PDF, Word, or others

ABBYY FineReader can directly turn papers from a connected scanner to digital copy, in PDF or other supported format, it helps build a paperless office with ease and efficiency.

Steps to Copy and Paste Text from PDF to Word without Losing Format in ABBYY

  1. Download and install ABBYY FineReader to your Mac or Windows PC.
  2. Go to Open and import the PDF file.copy from pdf to word abbyy finereader
  3. Then choose Word document as output, for scanned PDF, go to Recognize for OCR first.
  4. Then copy text or table from PDF to Word document without losing format in ABBYY FineReader.copy from pdf to word abbyy finereader02

#4. Convertio (Online Free)

Convertio is a web service to convert various types of files, including videos, audios, images, documents, archives, etc., it supports files from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox or from an URL. 

Why Use Convertio to Copy from PDF to Word?

  • It Supports 11 Output Format

After file conversion in Convertio, you will be able to copy from PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint or other document types.

  • It Keeps Formatting, Though Not as Good as Other 3 Tools

There is no way Convertio’s conversion performance can match with those professional offline ones, but comparing with other online free tools, Convertios beat them all in many ways. It can keep the formatting, but you will still need to manually adjust.

Steps to Copy and Paste from PDF to Word without Losing Format Online

  1. Go to Convertio.
  2. Add PDF files to Convertio.
  3. Choose output as Word Doc.
  4. Click Convert, then download the Word documents.
  5. Copy the texts to a Word document.convertio copy from pdf to word

Copy Text from PDF to Word for Free

You can use built-in tools on your computer, like Preview on Mac, or free PDF viewers, like Adobe Acrobat Reader, even Google Chrome web browser to copy text or table from a native PDF to Word, for free of charges.

  1. Open PDF with Preview, or Adobe Reader, or in Google Chrome.
  2. Select the texts and right click on them to Copy.copy from pdf to word free
  3. Open a Word document, paste the PDF texts to it for free.


As we can conclude, to copy text or table from PDF to Word without losing formatting, we’d better convert PDF to Word document for formatting retention instead of direct copying and pasting. Also, we’d really advise not to upload a highly private PDF file to any online PDF to Word tool, which tends to store your file for some time and doesn’t fully maintain the same formatting as in original file. 

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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