How to Convert PDF to Word on Mac

Working with a PDF document on Mac isn’t that easy compared to handling other types of files such as Word or Pages. That’s why we often need to convert PDFs into Word docs and make them editable.

PDF to Word Mac

So, what is the best way to convert PDF to Word on macOS? Well, it depends. Whether it’s a scanned PDF, whether it contains sensitive data, whether you want to do this in batch, etc. all matter.

In this article, we are going to show you some different methods to get the job done. Each method has its own pros and cons, read on to find out which method fits you the best!

1. Mac Automator App


  • Free to use.
  • Quick and simple, no need to download any third-party apps.


  • Limited output options (text format only).
  • Don’t support batch conversion.
  • Can’t handle scanned PDF files.

Automator, one of Mac’s pre-installed apps, is originally developed to build custom workflows to perform various tasks.

Many of you may don’t know that the app can actually convert a PDF file into an editable document. More specifically, to convert your PDF file into a Plain Text or Rich Text format which can be opened in Office Word or Pages app.

All you need to do is open Automator (find it in Applications or Launchpad), select Workflow and load the PDF file you want to convert, specify the desired output format and the app will turn your PDF text into plain or rich text format.

This video shows how:

2. Google Docs (OCR Supported)



  • Don’t support batch conversion. Time-consuming to convert many files at once.
  • Formatting of output files is sometimes messy.
  • You’ll have to register a Google account (for those of you who don’t have one).

This is one of our favorite methods. Google Drive is very powerful to handle documents. One of its features is to convert PDF files to Word documents (.doc, .docx). Also, it supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a technology that enables you to extract texts from a scanned PDF or image.

To convert a normal PDF to Word, watch this YouTube tutorial:

If your document is a scanned PDF or image, be sure to check off an option in Settings before uploading your file for conversion. To do so, go to the Google Drive homepage, click the gear icon on the top right, and check the “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format” option. That’s it.

3. Online PDF to Word Conversion Tools


  • Quick, simple and time-saving.
  • Flexible output options.
  • Some services support OCR conversion.


  • Security concerns, because you’ll have to upload your files to their servers.
  • The conversion quality of some services is not good.
  • Limitations such as file size, sign-up needed, etc.

You should have tried or heard about online PDF to Word converters, we have to warn you though, some are pretty bad, especially those services that don’t have any privacy policies or disclaimers.

Watch out for these websites that you can’t find any information regarding how they are going to deal with users’ documents uploaded to their remote servers.

online pdf to word mac

We don’t recommend using this option if your PDF files contain business confidential or personal privates. That said, online conversion services are convenient to convert a few handy PDFs into Word docs so you can edit them right away.

The process generally involves three steps: upload, select, convert. Here are a few popular options:

4. Third-party PDF to Word Converter Software


  • Secure, stand-alone. You can use it offline without an Internet connection.
  • Conversion quality tends to be higher than other options.
  • Flexible, supports batch and partial PDF conversion.
  • OCR, customer help/support, etc. are available.


  • Software are usually not free.

For individuals and small business owners who need to handle documents on a regular basis, this is the option we recommend. Sure, desktop Mac PDF converter software is usually not free (though some provide free demos or trials), and you need to spend time downloading, installing, and learning how to use it.

The main benefit is very obvious, it’s safer. If your documents are complex (with lots of elements), the conversion quality from desktop software is much better than that from online tools.

5. Adobe Acrobat DC


  • Powerful and easy to use.
  • It includes a wide range of advanced features.


  • Very expensive due to the monthly subscription.

The reason why we list Acrobat DC as a separate option is that we feel Acrobat is not for most business professionals as it’s over-priced, and many of its advanced functionalities won’t be used at all for most of us, and if you do need them, there are cheaper alternatives.

However, if you are not price-sensitive, Adobe Acrobat is a very good tool for PDF conversion, editing, and creation. To convert PDF to Word on Mac with Acrobat, follow the guide from the Adobe official website here, or watch this video tutorial:


Converting PDF to Word on Mac isn’t that hard, especially with Apple Mac’s built-in Automator app. Google Docs and online PDF to Word conversion services are also handy.

If you deal with business documents regularly on your Mac, and you’re paranoid about the security of other options, using a Mac PDF converter software is a great option.

In addition, if you’re super savvy and have lots of advanced PDF editing/converting needs, Adobe Acrobat Pro can be your best choice.

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  • Landa c

    Great information. Thank you so much!

  • Michael Ross

    Hi Jessica,
    Thank you so much for your easy to understand conversion of .pdf to .doc

  • Margaret

    Thanks so much for the Automator tutorial! Has saved me money and time and I’m glad to use applications already native to my Mac!

  • Sharon Weathers

    My husband and I followed the instructions, but when we created the RTF document, no content was in it. We dropped it into Word, but the document was blank. We carefully went through all the steps, then after it did not work, we deleted what we had created and started over. The results were the same. Any suggestions as to a solution?

    Thank you.