8 Ways to Convert PDF to Word on Mac (Catalina Included)

2019-11-22 03:15:48 / Posted by Connie Wisley to PDF Follow @ Connie

PDF files are beautiful and professional-looking, there are dozens of reason to use PDFs. However, if you don’t have a PDF editor, which is always highly priced, you won’t be able to edit or utilize the PDF source as needed. And this is just the reason why so many of us need to convert PDF to Word on Mac.

There are so many solutions or software offered to change PDF to Word Docx for free or with high quality. To help you find the most suitable solution, we here list 8 ways to convert PDF to Word on mac. No matter you have upgraded to macOS Catalina or are still using macOS Majave and earlier, you can find a feasible solution tailored for your personal needs.

Quick-Start PDF to Word Mac Solution

  1. Download the free trial of PDF Converter OCR, install and launch it.
  2. Drag and drop PDF files into the program.
  3. Specify the PDF pages you want to save as Word, and select output as Doc or Docx.
  4. Click "Convert“ to change PDF to Word on Mac.

Convert Now

Table of Contents

Part 1. The Best PDF to Word Converter for Mac (Catalina Compatible)

The key for PDF to Word conversion is always the formatting. It is true that there are so many choices on PDF to Word converters, but only a few of them can yield high-quality and well-formatted Word output. Then what is the best PDF to Word converter for mac to get high quality conversion result? 

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR (Best for 2019-2020)

According to users, Cisdem PDF Converter OCR is picked as the best PDF to Word converter for mac, because it meets all users’ needs to convert a PDF or other documents.

Why Cisdem PDF Converter OCR?

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR is the mac program designed to convert PDF files into various formats for easy editing, reading and management, no matter you are working on macOS Catalina, Mojave or earlier.

  • Excellent Input Support.
    There are basically 3 types of PDF that we need to deal with very often: native, scanned or protected PDF. Unlike most of its competitors, Cisdem PDF Converter OCR is one among few programs to support all types of PDF files. That’s to say, you can not only convert normal/native PDFs to editable Word on mac, but also can save scanned, image-based even locked PDFs into other formats with equally easy steps.
  • Extremely Useful Output Formats. 
    You may need to convert these PDF to more than just Word format. To make full use of the existing PDF resources, sometimes you still need to convert PDF to Excel, HTML, or Pages, etc. No worries, Cisdem PDF Converter OCR supports to export as total 16 formats, including virtually all formats you will need to deal with very often, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ePub, Pages, Keynote, HTML, Text, etc.
  • High-Quality Conversion.
    To convert PDF to Word on mac with high quality, the PDF converter should maintain the original formatting, layout and resolution as highly as possible. Cisdem PDF Converter OCR can yield first-class conversion quality by keeping the original layout, font effects, tables with cell spacing, frame footnotes, PDF active elements, image resolution and can recognizing special symbols. 
  • Accurate OCR.
    OCR can never be perfect, but Cisdem PDF Converter OCR does outstandingly. It is designed to accurately recognize texts and contents from image-based files, also, it builds in an OCR mark tool to improve the accuracy further. With this advanced tool, users can choose to OCR PDF/Image and export a specific area as Text, table or image.
  • Allowing Save Files as PDF.
    Not only exporting PDF as Word other formats, Cisdem PDF Converter OCR also allows users to save Word, PowerPoint, Image, ePub and so on as PDF format, with original file quality highly retained.
  • Batch and Fast Conversion.
    You can convert single or multiple PDFs at the same time to earn more time for your purpose. No matter how many files or how large the file is, Cisdem PDF Converter can upload and process fast to get you the output as expect.

The PDF to Word on Mac Tutorial

Since Cisdem PDF Converter OCR supports native, scanned and protected PDFs, the steps may be a little different and here we offer 3 tutorials as following to help you do the conversion fast and easily with Cisdem.

#1 How to Convert Native PDF to Word on Mac?

Step 1Download and Install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR on mac.

Convert Now

Step 2Import PDF for Conversion.

Drag and drop the PDF file to the interface of the "Converter" or you can add by clicking the "+" icon at the bottom of the program.

convert pdf to word on mac

Step 3Choose Page Range and Output as Word.

You can choose to convert all pages or convert specified pages by filling in the page range. Also, choose Word Doc or Docx as output from the output menu.


save pdf as word on mac

Step 4Click “Convert” to save PDF as Word on mac.

You will find the Word output looks exactly the same as original PDF file.

convert pdf to word on mac with cisdem 04


#2 How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word on Mac?

Step 1Download and Install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR on mac.

Convert Now

Step 2Upload PDF for Conversion.

Drag and drop the PDF file to "Converter" or click the "+" icon at the bottom of the program.

Step 3Choose Page Range and File language.

Cisdem supports to recognize 27~200 languages, you need to choose the file language first, then select pages for conversion.

Step 4(Optional) Use Advanced Settings to get more accurate OCR results.

Click the settings icon besides the langue button, then an interface with OCR applied zone appears. You will find all the contents are auto marked as texts, images or tables in different colors. For illustration, if you want to export a specific area as text, click on “Mark Texts” in the OCR applied zone, then drag a mark box to include the contents you want to mark as texts.

cisdem pdf converter ocr

Step 5Click “Convert” to export scanned PDF as Word on mac.


#3 How to Convert Protect PDF to Word on Mac?

Step 1Download and Install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR on mac.

Convert Now

Step 2Upload PDF for Conversion.

Drag and drop the PDF file or click the "+" icon at the bottom of the program to upload files.

Step 3Unlock PDF for PDF to Word conversion.

If your PDF file is protected with an owner/permission password only, Cisdem can remove the PDF protection directly and allows conversion, if there is a user/open password locking your PDF, there will be a lock icon as following, you need to click on the lock icon and enter the password, if you forgot, try the Cisdem solution.

protected pdf to word

Step 4Choose Page Range and Output as Word.

If you are working on scaned PDF, use the Advanced OCR tool if necessary.

Step 5Click “Convert” to convert protected PDF to Word on mac.


Part 2. How to Convert PDF to Word on Mac Using Preview (Free)?

Preview is the PDF viewer and annotator to manage PDF files on mac, it can view, annotate, combine, sign and convert PDFs. However, it can only export PDF to image formats. And the only way to convert PDF to Word with Preview will be copying and pasting.

Steps to Convert PDF to Word with Mac Preview

  1. Open PDF with Mac Preview;
  2. Select the PDF contents, right click to copy and paste the PDF contents into a Word file;pdf to word on mac preview
  3. Save the Word file;


  • Take time and efforts;
  • Original formatting cannot be retained;


Part 3. Change PDF to Word on Mac Using Automator (Free)

Automator allows users to create workflows for automating tasks, it can help save time and efforts on manually changing each file. With Automator, Mac users can extract PDF text, then open text file in Word, and finally save PDF as Word on mac.

Automator allows users to create workflows for automating tasks, it can help save time and efforts on manually changing each file. With Automator, Mac users can extract PDF text, then open text file in Word, and finally save PDF as Word on mac.

Steps to Convert PDF to Word with Mac Automator

  1. Open Automator in Application, select “Workflow”, then click “Choose”;
  2. In the left column, choose “Files &Folders”, then drag “Ask for Finder Items” to the right column;pdf to word automator
  3. Still in the left column, choose “PDFs”, then drag “Extract PDF Text” to the right column;change pdf to word with mac automator
  4. Press Command+S, and choose the file format as “Application”;turn pdf to word with mac automator
  5. Open the Automator file saved on your desktop, then click “Run” to select your PDF for conversion, a Text file will be generated from the PDF
  6. Open the text file with Word, and your PDF is converted to Word on mac now.


  • Can not save PDF to Word on mac directly;
  • Cannot maintain formatting;
  • Take too much time and effort;


Part 4. PDF to Word with Adobe for Mac (High Quality)

As a PDF user, Adobe should sound quite familiar to you. If you have installed and subscribed Adobe Acrobat, you can export PDF files to Word format on your mac with Adobe. Since there are several versions of Adobe Acrobat, the steps to export PDF as Word will be a little different when using different Adobe versions. No worries, we have the answers as following.

For Users using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro:

  • Step 1. Open PDF with Adobe Acrobat DC.
  • Step 2. Go to Tools>Export PDF.
  • Step 3. Choose Word as output, then click “Export”, the PDF will be converted as Word format on mac.

convert pdf to word on mac adobe 02

For Users using Adobe Acrobat XI Pro (The old version):

  • Step 1: Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat for conversion.
  • Step 2: Click the "File" option on the top navigation bar of Adobe Acrobat.
  • Step 3: Choose "Save As Other" from the menu.
  • Step 4: Select output as "Microsoft Word" to convert PDF to Word on mac.
  • Step 5: (Optional) Type a name for the document, then click the "Save" button.

convert pdf to word with adobe

If your PDF is scanned, try to perform Adobe OCR and save them into Word on mac.


  • The output format is limited;
  • It does not support batch conversion;
  • Sale a stiff price;

Extended: Can Acrobat Reader Convert PDF to Word on Mac?

No, but…

Acrobat Reader is totally free of charge for all Mac users. You can view, print, comment and share PDF file via it. But unfortunately, it only supports the basic reading features. You can’t create PDF, edit PDF, or even export PDF to Office format. 

However, same as Mac Preview---the free PDF reader to view PDF files on mac, Adobe Reader also allows users to copy and paste the PDF texts into Word or other text processors, only if the file is native, instead of image or scanned ones.


Part 5. Converting PDF to Word on Mac Online Free (3 Ways)

People always return to online free PDF to Word converters for convenience and free of charge. These tools are genuinely recommended if you are working on simple and native PDFs. After uploading and testing files on dozens of online conversion tools, here we list following 3 best free PDF to Word converters for your choice. 

Option 1: SmallPDF

It allows users to upload PDF files from mac, Dropbox or Google Drive for Word conversion. It supports native PDFs only and there is file size/quantity limit.

  1. Go to Smallpdf, and upload PDF files from your mac, Dropbox or Google Drive;open pdf in word free
  2. Click the download link to download converted file in Word format. 

Option 2: Google Docs

Google provides an online platform for users to manage their documents---Google Docs. In Google Docs, you can open PDFs and download the file in Word or other editable formats.

  1. Go to Google account>Google Drive;
  2. Click "New" to upload PDF file;
  3. Right click on the file,open with Google Docs;
  4. Go to File>Download as>Word. Your PDF will be converted into Word on mac.

export pdf to word on mac google

Option 3. Online2PDF

It allows users to convert both native and scanned PDFs to Word online without 3rd party software installed. Even, you can customize your Word output a little by using this free PDF to Word converter.

  1. Go to Online2pdf.
  2. Click “Select files” to upload single or multiple PDFs;
  3. Choose output as Word;
  4. Click “Convert” to turn PDF into Word online. Also, you can use the preference tools to customize your Word output before conversion.


Things You Need to Pay Attention to Free PDF to Word Converters

  1. Unstable conversion quality:  A bunch of PDF elements may not be converted just right with these free solutions ( Font effects, Special symbols, Tables, etc);
  2. Risk of information leakage: Be aware of the risk to get your PDF file information leaked as you need to upload PDF to the server for conversion;
  3. Limited feature: Free service is limited, in terms of page quantity, file size, conversion mode, etc;
  4. Require high on Internet connection: A stable and smooth Internet connection is needed for successful uploading and converting;


Part 6. Open/Edit PDF in Word on Mac MS Word

Another workaround to save PDF as Word format on Mac is directly open or edit the PDF file in Word, then perform “Save as”. But how? It is lucky that Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac is built in such a feature, if you have installed MS Word 2016 on your mac, open or edit PDF in Word now.

Steps to Open/Edit PDF in MS Word on Mac

  1. Run Microsoft Office 2016 on your mac;
  2. Go to File>Open, upload the PDF file and click “OK” on the prompted dialogue box;open pdf in word
  3. Then edit or save the PDF files as Word document on your mac;


Extended: PDF to DOC VS PDF to DOCX

extended knowledge on Word format

Word, the abbreviation of Microsoft Word or MS-WORD created by company Microsoft, is a graphical word processing program enables users to type with. It allows the users to type and save documents. The Word can be outputted in Doc or Docx format.

Doc is a binary file format system which can save the formatted text, images, graphs and page, it is the older format used in MS Word 2003 and earlier version.

While Docx is a XML format that can coordinate between different Office programs, it is the default format used in Word 2007 and later version.

The Difference Between Doc and Docx.

  • Doc can be read in all MS Word versions but Docx can be only read in Word 2007 and later version unless you have installed some adds-on or compatibility packs in MS Word 2003;
  • Docx file size is 75% less than the file size of doc;
  • Docx files can easily convert into doc, .html, .rtf and other file formats, but a doc has to be converted in the aid of professional software;
  • Docx is an opener file format that can be easily accessible;
  • Docx is more powerful and versatile on features.

It seems that Docx is a better output format. So, for your convenience, you are recommended to convert your PDFs into Docx.


Final Words

There must be more methods to convert PDF to Word on mac, direct or indirect, free or paid. Like any other users, you may hold more preferences to solutions that can bring high quality conversion results, also can greatly save our time and work. Why not have a try on PDF Converter OCR, the one kills all problems on PDF to Word conversion on mac.

Most Popular Downloads

PDF Converter OCR for Mac

Convert native or scanned PDF and images to Word, Text, Excel, PPT, Keynote, Pages, Rtfd, images, etc. on Mac.

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PDF Password Remover for Mac

Recover & remove both PDF owner and user passwords to enable open, print, copy and edit PDF files.

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22 Comments Leave a Reply

  • Lucas Balon

    So, the conclusion is, you should use a desktop to save the PDF as Word if you want to keep the formatting.

    7 months ago REPLY
  • CoCo

    Thanks for the informative sharing. I used to use Adobe on my old Mac, but now I am using Cisdem PDF Converter OCR on my new macbook air, it affordable to me and works well so far, almost all the conversion preserved the layout as original, except some complex text. Good work!

    1 years ago REPLY
  • Karen

    Like the PDF Converter OCR recommended in this article very much. It help me convert all my needed scanned pdf to the word i need. Save me much time! No need to retype the word anymore. Haha

    1 years ago REPLY
  • lily

    nice converter!!! the exported word is VERY NICE. I have compared with other converters. As this one is cheaper, i decide to make a free trial. It can fully meet my needs.I will pay for it for long time use. Thanks for your sharing!!!

    1 years ago REPLY
  • Haley

    Thanks for the guide, each solution to convert PDF to Word on a Mac covered in this guide is workable. Your recommendation is good, a tool that can work on any PDFs is really powerful.

    1 years ago REPLY
  • Hannah

    Super helpful. Finally someone with the answer! Thanks!

    2 years ago REPLY
  • Bekky

    I think more users will choose PDFConverterOCR because of the OCR feature, you know, if you are desk-bound, you will deal with scanned files.

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Carbin

    I have tried the PDF to Word Converter, and come here for a comment thanking you guys. It saved me the trouble about formatting, thanks.

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Smithc390

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    3 years ago REPLY
  • Johne863

    What's up it's me, I am also visiting this site daily, this website is actually pleasant and the visitors are really sharing fastidious thoughts. ekdcfbgcdggk

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Jason Mek

    Nice post. I got several scanned pdf to convert to Word, i tried the software and amazing, thanks.

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Darrance

    That's the pefrect insight in a thread like this.

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Eric

    You must pay for all the methods. You should point that out when posting

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Alexander

    I used Cisdem PDF to Word Converter with OCR to convert my scanned PDF files, it worked very well. There are many tables and images on my PDF file, this converter convert them perfectly. The only regret is that this application doesn't supports to batch convert, but so did others.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Laura

    When I click on the Convert button, a screen pops up asking for a "key code" before it will convert. What's the key code?

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Rosa

    Many developers provides a free trial for each users, but if you want to use those application to convert, you need to go to their website to get a key code.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Jay

    Useful article. Detailed steps. Using PDF to Word converter software may be a good choice. I will try Cisdem PDF to Word Converter.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Dyson

    When the file is uploaded, it will be immediately uploaded to your Google Drive and right away opened for preview. Convert a PDF to a Word Document Step 25.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Ronald852

    PDF to word converter with OCR is so great! I had a complex scanned PDF file and I wanted to convert it to Word. This application is powerful, it retains all formats. Thanks for it.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • will

    I just went to zamzar and it is NOT free and the latest reader, Adobe Feader DC does NOT save as a .docx. It saves as txt.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Helga746

    Three ways to convert PDF to Word, and every way all are equipped with detailed steps to operate. Writer is so great!!! I used solution 2 as my PDF was OCR file. Its transition effects were great. I like it!!!

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Nora Osborne

    Useful article, writer recommended various methods to convert PDF to Word and very detailed steps. It is great. I will try.

    4 years ago REPLY