Converting PDFs to Word: Important Tips

The fact that automated ebook conversions are terrible is one of the reasons why business is blooming for us and has been for years. Okay, so calling it “big time” might be pushing it a little too far, but automation still saves countless hours of labor. A person will need to review the full document and make corrections where a computer cannot, which is a problem until PDF to Word converters adopt a respectable artificial intelligence method. I’ll go over the additional information you’ll need to know in this article when converting your PDF file to a Word document (.doc or.docx) file.

An Easy-to-Use PDF to Word Conversion… or a Nightmare?

You might occasionally convert PDF files to Word documents without much difficulty. If this is the case, I can almost assure you that the PDF files you are working with are not PDF files generated from scanned photos but rather PDF files made from editable document files (such as Word) with very few sophisticated layout capabilities (i.e., callouts, wrapped images, etc.).

There is much less information lost when you save a Word document as a PDF file, so doing the reverse conversion from the PDF back to the Word document will still have some issues, but they will be much easier to fix, making the process relatively painless. But scanning a book and turning it into a PDF is similar to taking a picture of each page.

Instead of being text, the website is interpreted by the software as an image. It takes OCR (optical character recognition) software to interpret the image as text in order to understand it as text. Even the best OCR software, which boasts a 99.9% accuracy rate, will misspell one word out of every thousand, assuming the pages were scanned correctly. This implies that there will be 100 errors in a book of 100,000 words. An absolute nightmare and not at all professional.

Using Excel to PDF converter, you can combine multiple PDFs into one PDF.

Humans Are Needed Because Machines Fail

The OCR software used to transform scans into text currently lacks sufficient AI (artificial intelligence) to recognise words well in context. Therefore, even though the context may be “We will succeed and we will prosper,” the software will read the image as a “iv” if it appears like one to it. Even for an 8-year-old, this is hardly a true brain-buster for people. Machines, meanwhile, struggle and frequently fail. Fortunately, since “ivill” is not a recognised word, any reasonable spell checker would catch this mistake. However, a lot of mistakes are in names or are recognised terms that the spell checker ignores. 

Getting Your PDF to Word Conversion Right

Here is what you need to do after creating your Word document from a PDF in addition to the regular formatting that you would do for a Word document before turning it into an ebook. I want to emphasize how important it is for you to read the entire document to make sure everything is accurate. This level of proofreading would obviously be excessive if you were scanning hundreds of books for free public access, but if you are selling this book online (i.e., people are paying for it), you owe it to your readers to make sure they are purchasing an error-free (or nearly error-free) book.

  • Look for typos in your writing. Two letters near to each other that resemble another letter are frequently misinterpreted by OCR and even the conventional word to pdf conversion algorithms. Li, for instance, might be interpreted as U. Once you identify one of these mistakes, performing a global search and replace operation might be worthwhile. Given that “Ught” is a non-word, you might want to replace all instances of it with “Light.”
  • Correct line breaks. Line breaks frequently appear in the wrong locations when converted from PDF to Word, which is a common problem with the software. Using the “show invisibles” option or adjusting the font size is one of the best ways to find these line breaks.
  • Delete hyphens from words. The pdf to Word software typically does not know whether or not to maintain the hyphen when a word is hyphenated because it is divided across two lines. This could result in a word like “insti-tution” appearing on just one line, which is not what you want.
  • Correct many spaces. Throughout the entire document, words are separated by numerous spaces. Find and replace can be used to get rid of these. Start by looking for 20 empty spaces and replacing them with one, then move on to 19, 18, and so forth.
  • Missing formatting. OCR often misses bold and italic formatting, as well as mixed upper and lower case.

Nuclear power

We frequently use the “nuclear” option to eliminate all the formatting when the document is really a mess. We give it this name since it’s like destroying a city and starting afresh. All of the words will be present in a plain text document without any formatting (you still need to fix the errors with the incorrect words). Here is how it works:

  1. Using the “Edit” menu, select “select all” in your Word document.
  2. Notepad, TextEdit, or another plain text editor can be used to open a plain text file.
  3. All of the text should be pasted into a plain text editor.
  4. Do a global search and replace for all line breaks, replacing them with spaces if there are obviously many line breaks where there shouldn’t be any. The best way to achieve this will vary depending on your OS and text editor (google it!).
  5. The physical book or the PDF scanned source can be used as a visual guide to reconstruct your document.

Even from a scanned source, PDF to Word conversions don’t have to be a pain. But it does take time. If you are willing to put the time into it, you can have a fantastically designed and functional document that is ready to be turned into an ebook. We’re in business because you can hire us to handle this if you don’t want to spend the time or deal with the numerous problems that can occur during a PDF to Word conversion.


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