How To Open and Edit a PDF File (Portable Document Format) in MS Word

This morning one of my clients, Donna Zoglmann-Bittner, asked for my help in remembering how to OPEN and EDIT a PDF file in MS Word.  I told her I could not remember how to do that since I didn’t think it could be done.  Well, I was wrong.  it can be done.

This process is only available in MS Word 2013 and forward. The following steps in this example are performed using MS Word 2016.

Step #1 – Open MS

IMG_20161231_105248_560.jpg Word as though you will be starting a new document.  In the screen shot below you will notice a list of “Recent” documents.  Take note that there are some PDF’s listed.  You will not see any PDF’s in your list if you have not OPENED a PDF in Word before.  Look toward the bottom of the “Recent” documents list.

Step #2 – When you look toward the bottom of the Recent Documents List, choose “Open Other Documents.”  The screen below should be the next thing you see.  Under the word “Open,” you see a list of choices of places to look for the PDF. You should choose “Browse.”


Step #3 – After clicking on “Browse” you should see the following screen, but please keep in mind I am using a dual screen setup so you will only see the screen on the left of this photo if you use an “old fashioned single-screen setup.”


Now look to the bottom right-hand section of the pop-up window and you will see that it lists “All Word Documents” as the type of file to open.  There is a small drop-down button there.  Please click on it and look for the choice of PDF Files and click on it.  You can then browse your PDF’s to open and then edit in MS Word.

You next screen will simply tell you that it will be converted to MS Word and you must click on OK to complete the task.

The document will now open in Word and you are ready to edit.

Keep in mind that the conversion may lose some formatting during the conversion if the document contains a lot of stuff besides just plain text. (I tried a 192-page document with graphics and ended up with some editable text but also a lot of garbage on the screen.)

An alternative way to do this is to use Explorer, navigate to the PDF and right-click on the PDF and then choose “Open With” command and tell the system you wish to use MS Word to open it.

Happy typing!

Dennis TCG Wilson