How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting a scanned PDF to Word is a handy skill to have, especially when you need to edit the contents of a document. In a few simple steps, you can transform a static PDF into a dynamic Word file. After reading this brief overview, you’ll be able to convert scanned PDFs to Word with ease.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word

Before diving into the steps, it’s essential to understand that converting a scanned PDF to Word involves Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. OCR converts different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDFs, or images captured by a digital camera, into editable and searchable data.

Step 1: Choose an OCR Software or Online Service

Select an OCR software or online service that can convert scanned PDFs to Word.

There are several OCR tools available, both online and offline. Some popular ones include Adobe Acrobat, Nitro, and free online services like Smallpdf or ILovePDF.

Step 2: Upload the Scanned PDF

Upload the scanned PDF file to the chosen OCR software or online service.

Most OCR tools have a clear interface with an upload button. Click it, and a window will appear allowing you to select the PDF file from your computer.

Step 3: Select Output as Word

Choose the option to convert the PDF to a Word document.

Once the file is uploaded, you’ll typically find a dropdown menu or a list of output formats. Select ‘Word’ or ‘DOC/DOCX’ as the desired output format.

Step 4: Start the Conversion Process

Start the conversion process and wait for the software to recognize and convert the text.

This may take a few seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on the software’s speed and the length of your document.

Step 5: Download the Converted Word Document

Download the Word document once the conversion is complete.

After conversion, you’ll either be prompted to download the Word file directly or receive an email with a download link, depending on the service used.

After you’ve completed the conversion, you should have a Word document that closely resembles your original scanned PDF. You can now edit the text, change the formatting, and manipulate the document as needed.

Tips for Converting Scanned PDF to Word

  • Make sure the scanned PDF is clear and legible to ensure accurate conversion.
  • Check if the OCR software supports the language in your document, especially if it’s not in English.
  • Use high-quality scans to reduce errors during conversion.
  • Confirm that the software can handle the complexity of your PDF, such as multiple columns or non-standard fonts.
  • Review and proofread the converted document for any errors or misinterpretations by the OCR software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I convert a scanned PDF to Word for free?

Yes, there are free online OCR services like Smallpdf or ILovePDF that allow you to convert scanned PDFs to Word without any cost.

Do I need to install software to convert scanned PDFs to Word?

Not necessarily. You can use online OCR services that don’t require any installation. However, for offline conversions, software like Adobe Acrobat will need to be installed.

Will the converted Word document be exactly like the scanned PDF?

The converted document will be similar, but there might be some differences in formatting, especially if the original document is complex.

Can OCR software convert handwritten text in scanned PDFs to Word?

OCR technology is primarily designed for printed text, but some advanced software may be able to convert clear and legible handwriting.

Is it safe to use online OCR services?

Most online OCR services use secure connections (HTTPS) to protect your data, but it’s always best to use reliable and reputable services.


  1. Choose OCR software or service
  2. Upload scanned PDF
  3. Select output as Word
  4. Start the conversion process
  5. Download converted Word document


Converting scanned PDF documents to Word can be a breeze once you get the hang of it. Whether it’s for editing purposes or simply to have a document in a more versatile format, the steps outlined above should guide you through the process smoothly. Remember, the key is to use a reliable OCR service or software that can accurately interpret the text in your scanned PDF, and to make sure your document is as clear as possible to avoid any conversion errors.

Now you’re equipped with the knowledge to convert scanned PDF to word. Go ahead and give it a try – it’s a useful skill that can save you time and hassle, especially when dealing with lots of paperwork. Happy converting!

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