Acrobat Tricks

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Question: How can I convert PDF files to Word documents so I can edit them?

The IT Guy says:
PDF is the extension that indicates that a file is an Adobe Acrobat file. Adobe Acrobat files have two advantages. First, with the free Acrobat Reader installed, they can be read on any type of computer without having to worry if you have the right application on your computer. Second, if you are the creator of the document, it makes it harder for somebody else to make changes to your file, since the Reader is a read-only application.

However, there are times when you as the end-user will want to be able to make edits or changes to a PDF file. You can purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat, which lets you create your own Acrobat files or open and edit PDFs, if they haven't been locked by the original author, but that's a relatively expensive and complicated solution.

The simpler solution I've been using lately is Zamzar. If you've read these columns before, that may sound familiar. It's a service I've mentioned for helping users download videos such as those on YouTube. However, it was subsequently pointed out to me that this violates the YouTube user agreement, so I no longer recommend it for that purpose. But Zamzar now does more than videos—it will now do a variety of file conversions, including converting PDFs into Word documents.

When you go to the site, you can upload files of up to 100 megabytes in size, choose what format you want it converted into, and provide your email address. Sometime within 24 hours, but usually just a few minutes for a small file, you will receive an email with a link to the converted file.

I've found that it does a pretty good job, although if there are images they may look a little worse for wear. But for pretty standard documents, I've been quite impressed!

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