How to Convert PDF to Word on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Converting a PDF to Word on a Mac is a straightforward process that can save you a lot of time and effort. You can use several methods, but the simplest involves using Preview and Apple’s built-in capabilities. Follow these steps, and you’ll have your PDF converted to an editable Word document in no time.

How to Convert PDF to Word on Mac

Converting a PDF to a Word document on a Mac will allow you to edit the content easily. Here are the steps to achieve this.

Step 1: Open the PDF Document

First, open the PDF file using the Preview app on your Mac.

Preview is a built-in application on your Mac that allows you to view and manage PDF files. To open a PDF file, simply double-click on it, and it should open in Preview by default.

Step 2: Select the Text

Select the text you want to convert by clicking and dragging your cursor over the desired content.

If the PDF is not a scanned image and contains selectable text, you can easily highlight the text you need. Ensure you have selected all the necessary text you wish to convert.

Step 3: Copy the Text

Press Command + C to copy the selected text.

Once you’ve selected the text, use the Command + C keyboard shortcut to copy it. This will place the text on your clipboard, ready for pasting.

Step 4: Open Microsoft Word

Open Microsoft Word on your Mac.

If you don’t have Microsoft Word, you can use other word processors like Pages or Google Docs. For this tutorial, we will use Microsoft Word, which is a standard in document editing.

Step 5: Paste the Text

Press Command + V to paste the copied text into the Word document.

Open a new blank document in Word, then use the Command + V keyboard shortcut to paste the copied text into the document.

Step 6: Save the Document

Save the document by clicking File > Save or using the Command + S shortcut.

Name your document and choose the desired location on your Mac for saving. Make sure to select the Word Document format (.docx) to maintain compatibility.

After completing these steps, you will have your PDF content available in a Word document, ready for editing and formatting as needed.

Tips for Converting PDF to Word on Mac

  • Use OCR Software: If your PDF is a scanned image, consider using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to convert the image to text.
  • Try Online Tools: Websites like Smallpdf or Adobe Acrobat online services can also convert PDFs to Word documents.
  • Check Formatting: After conversion, review your Word document for any formatting issues that may need correction.
  • Use Automator: For frequent conversions, Mac’s Automator app can create a custom workflow to automate the process.
  • Keep a Backup: Always keep a copy of your original PDF file in case you need to refer back to it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I edit PDF text in Preview?

No, Preview allows you to view and annotate PDFs, but not edit the text directly. You need to convert it to a Word document for text editing.

What if my PDF is a scanned image?

If your PDF is a scanned image, you’ll need OCR software to convert the image into editable text. Adobe Acrobat Pro has a built-in OCR feature.

Are there any free tools for PDF to Word conversion?

Yes, there are free online tools like Smallpdf, PDF to DOC, and Adobe’s online converter that can help you convert PDFs to Word documents.

Do I need Microsoft Word to convert PDFs?

No, other word processors like Apple Pages or Google Docs can also handle pasted text from PDFs.

Can I convert a PDF to Word without losing formatting?

While most converters strive to maintain formatting, some elements might not convert perfectly. Always double-check your document afterward.


  1. Open the PDF document.
  2. Select the text.
  3. Copy the text.
  4. Open Microsoft Word.
  5. Paste the text.
  6. Save the document.


Converting a PDF to Word on a Mac is a simple process that can be immensely useful, especially when you need to edit the contents of a PDF. While Preview and Microsoft Word provide a quick and easy solution, there are numerous tools and techniques available to ensure you get the best results. Whether you use built-in features, online tools, or specialized software, the methods outlined in this guide will help you accomplish your goal efficiently.

Remember, the conversion process might not be perfect every time, especially with complex formatting or scanned images. However, with a little patience and the right tools, you can achieve a high-quality conversion. For more detailed editing, consider using professional software or online services that offer advanced features.

Happy converting! If you found this guide helpful, feel free to explore more tech tips and tutorials to make the most of your Mac.