How To Create an Editable PDF From a Word Document (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) helps ensure that the content and format of a document remains unchanged as it's shared from one person to another. There are tools and techniques you can use to create and convert PDF documents and forms into editable documents. One of these tools is Microsoft Word, which features a format for converting documents to PDFs and vice versa. In this article, we explain how to create an editable PDF from a Word document and also how to convert a PDF into a Word document.

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Can you create an editable PDF from a Word document?

It's possible to create editable PDF documents from a Word file using Adobe Acrobat's form tools. It's also possible to convert an existing PDF file into an editable document using Word. Simple PDF files that consist of text are more accessible to convert than PDFs with complex formats and features.

How to create an editable PDF from a Word document

Here are six steps to help you make an editable PDF from a word document:

1. Open Word and locate the document

Open Microsoft Word and find the document you want to make into an editable PDF. To find an existing document, go to "File" and click "Recent." You can also check the "This Week" section to see if you have recently opened the file. If you don't have an existing document, click "File" and then "New" to create a new document.

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2. Prepare the document in Word

When Acrobat tries to add editable fields to a document, it looks for areas that have blank lines or spaces in a document. In Word, you can prepare the document by adding a horizontal line to any area you would like to be fillable in the PDF. You can do this by typing underscores using your keyboard, or by inserting them using Word. You can insert lines by clicking on "Insert" at the top of the page and then "Shapes." This presents you with a selection of shapes you can add to your document.

3. Select Adobe PDF

Once your document is ready to be converted, click "File and select "Print." Select Adobe PDF as your printer and click the "Print "button. This prompts Word to ask you to choose where you want to save the PDF file you're creating. Choose the location where you'd like to save the new PDF and click "OK." Your computer can then create a basic PDF file that automatically opens in the Adobe Acrobat PDF editing program.

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4. Create the form

Click the "Tools" button located above the document and then "Prepare Form." This causes Acrobat to ask you if you want to create a form from a new file or from the existing one you just created. The existing one should already be preselected, so you can click "Start" to begin making the form editable.

5. Make your form editable

After clicking "Start," Adobe Acrobat attempts to recognize all editable fields in your form and make them editable. Depending on the complexity of the form, it might not recognize all of them, so it helps to double check the document to make sure everything is correct. If you need to make changes to any of the fields or add a new one, you can access the toolbar at the top of the page. With this toolbar, you can add things like text fields, check boxes, dropdown lists and more.

6. Edit and save your PDF form

Once you're done editing, click "preview" to see how it would appear to users filling it out. To make more edits, return to "edit" and make any additional changes. Once you're finished, click "File" and then "Save as" and save your finished form. Then enter a name for your document and a file location.

How to edit a PDF in Word

Here are three steps you can use to create a Word document from a PDF:

1. Open the document in Microsoft Word

Open Word and click "Open." From the file browser, select the PDF you want to convert to a Word document. After you've selected your PDF, Word asks if you want to convert the PDF into a Word document. It also lets you know that the detachable document may not appear exactly as the original PDF, especially if the original file has a lot of graphics. If you'd like to proceed, click "OK."

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3. Edit your document

By continuing, Word converts your document into a format editable with Word. After it has finished converting, you can go through the document and check if everything in the document has retained its original formatting. This process doesn't alter the original PDF.

3. Save your document

After you've finished editing, it's important to save the document on your computer. Click "File" and then "Save as" to cause a dialog box to appear. Type the name of your new document and click "Save."

Related: How To Convert a PDF to a Google Doc (With Steps and Tips)

Tips for converting PDF into Editable document

Here are a few tips to help you convert your PDF files using Word:

Convert PDFs with one column

Choose PDF files that include a single column rather than multiple columns to ensure a smooth conversion when using Microsoft Word. Word often uses one column as the basic format. PDF documents with similar formats are more likely to convert accurately if they resemble a Word document.

Keep the original document

Even after you have successfully converted your PDF to an editable document, keep the original document in case you might need to compare the two documents. Word is likely to convert most text, but in rare cases it might mix fonts, disjoin letters and numbers or misspell or combine certain words. You can use the original PDF to verify the information.

Consider creating original documents in Word

While it might not always be possible to create an original document in Word, if you have the option, doing so can simplify the conversion process. In comparison, a PDF may contain complex graphics, fonts and images, which may be more challenging to convert to a Word doc. If you use PDFs often for business or personal use, consider creating your original document in Word.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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