How to Copy and Paste from a PDF to Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Copying and pasting from a PDF to a Word document can seem like a daunting task, but it’s quite simple once you know how. Simply open the PDF, select the text you want to copy, and use the right-click menu or keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste it into your Word document. It’s a handy skill to have for anyone working with digital documents.

Step by Step Tutorial: Copying and Pasting from a PDF to Word

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to understand that PDFs are designed to maintain the format of a document, while Word documents are meant to be editable. The following steps will guide you in transferring content from the former to the latter while trying to keep the formatting intact.

Step 1: Open the PDF

Open the PDF document from which you want to copy text.

When you open your PDF, you’ll typically do this within a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat. Make sure the text is selectable. If it’s not, you might be dealing with a scanned image, and you’ll need an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tool to convert it to text first.

Step 2: Select the Text

Use your mouse to select the text you want to copy from the PDF.

Click at the beginning of the text, hold down your mouse button, and drag to the end of the text you want to copy. If you’re using a touchpad, you might use a tapping or swiping motion instead. Make sure you only select the text you need to avoid extra work later on.

Step 3: Copy the Text

Right-click on the selected text and choose "Copy," or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on a Mac) to copy the text to your clipboard.

Copying the text stores it temporarily, allowing you to paste it somewhere else, like a Word document. You won’t see any immediate changes after copying, but don’t worry, it’s saved!

Step 4: Open a Word Document

Open the Word document where you want to paste the copied text.

If you don’t have a document open already, you can start a new one by opening Word and selecting a blank document. Make sure you’re aware of where you want to place the text to maintain the flow of your document.

Step 5: Paste the Text

Right-click where you want to paste the text in your Word document and choose "Paste," or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on a Mac) to paste the text.

When you paste, you might notice that the formatting doesn’t always match your Word document. You can adjust the text formatting manually, or use the ‘Keep Text Only’ paste option to strip any formatting from the copied text.

After completing these steps, you’ll have successfully copied the text from your PDF into your Word document. The text should be editable just like any other text in Word, allowing you to make any necessary changes, format it to match the rest of your document, and save your updates.

Tips for Copying and Pasting from a PDF to Word

  • If the PDF is a scanned image, use an OCR tool to convert the text before trying to copy and paste.
  • To maintain the formatting of the text, try the different paste options in Word like ‘Merge Formatting’ or ‘Keep Source Formatting’.
  • If you encounter any issues with the PDF reader, ensure it’s updated to the latest version.
  • After pasting, always proofread to catch any quirks or errors in the text.
  • If the PDF has multiple columns of text, you might need to copy and paste each column separately to maintain the layout.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I copy images from a PDF to Word?

Yes, you can copy images by selecting them in the PDF and using the same copy and paste method. However, the formatting may change and might require adjustments in Word.

What if the text won’t copy from the PDF?

If the text won’t copy, the PDF may be protected. You’ll need permission from the owner to unlock it, or you can use a PDF converter tool to extract the text.

Can I copy and paste from a PDF in a browser?

Yes, most browsers like Chrome or Firefox have built-in PDF readers that allow you to copy text using the same method.

What do I do if the formatting changes after pasting?

You can use Word’s paste options to keep the text only or merge formatting. Alternatively, adjust the formatting manually after pasting.

Is there a keyboard shortcut for copying and pasting?

Yes, use Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste on Windows, or Cmd+C and Cmd+V on a Mac.


  1. Open the PDF.
  2. Select the text.
  3. Copy the text.
  4. Open a Word document.
  5. Paste the text.


In today’s digital age, it’s essential to have the know-how to move content between different formats seamlessly. Copying and pasting from a PDF to Word allows you to edit, format, and repurpose documents as needed. While there may be a few hiccups with formatting along the way, with a little practice and the tips provided, you’ll be transferring text like a pro in no time. Don’t forget to utilize the tools available, like OCR for scanned texts and the various paste options in Word to make your life easier. Whether you’re a student compiling research, a professional preparing a report, or just someone trying to organize digital content, mastering this simple task will undoubtedly save you time and frustration. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how simple transferring information can truly be!

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