Microsoft talks about converting PDF files to Word files in Word 2013

In June, rumors claimed that the next version of Microsoft Word, Word 2013, would allow users to edit PDF files. Microsoft confirmed these rumors when it launched the preview version of Office 2013, which included Word 2013.

This week, Microsoft talked more about how Word 2013 can convert PDF files into editable Word documents while still trying to retain the original layout of the PDF file. In a post on the official Microsoft Word blog, Microsoft says Word 2013 accomplishes this task with a new feature called PDF Reflow.

The blog states that the PDF Reflow feature is not intended to be a replacement for the PDF reader that's built into Windows 8. It adds:

It works with any PDF, but because we re-layout the contents, the results are best with documents that are mostly textual, such as legal and business documents. If a PDF contains mostly images and diagrams, as in a presentation or a brochure, converting it has a much higher likelihood of issues ...

The PDF Reflow feature works on a specific set of rules to convert the PDF layout to something that corresponds to what a Word document will look like, such as the table example above.

Source: Microsoft Word blog | Image via Microsoft

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24 Comments

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I wonder if they could add the same thing to Powerpoint 2015.

MS reps who work for my company always get PDF files of powerpoint presentations from their product teams.

So annoying.......

I'd take the option of editing a PDF with some easily-correctable errors in Word over having to download a 3-rd party program to do it for me with the same errors any day

This is fantastic. Most of my customers deliver their files as a PDF document, so it will be much easier to work with now. I always have to convert the PDF to Word, so much nicer if it can be done natively. So what if there are issues, still saves me time and work, similar issues as with other programs doing the PDF to Word conversion. Well done and thanks MS on this one.

Princess Chica Ami said,
PDF files are much better than word files since no one can copy your work. =D

Well noobs cant, but a quick google/bing search will help anyone who wants to.

Enron said,
Can't PDFs be protected from edits?

Yeah, they can be. And the protection can be removed with the ease of a click since it's just a flag. Useful feature huh? Like password "protection" in Office 2003 which can simply be ignored by the opener, so you can easily open it in LibreOffice haha.

spy beef said,
I smell lawsuit from Adobe

Office uses a custom version of Adobe Distiller so no, Microsoft is not against Adobe but MS is working with Adobe.

MeltedMacaroni said,
Bad bad idea. PDFs are not editable for a reason.

if it works, I'm not minding. there have been several instances where i've wanted to do this easily for class.

MeltedMacaroni said,
Bad bad idea. PDFs are not editable for a reason.

There's several free software products out there that allows you to edit a PDF, LibreOffice Draw being just one of them. Gimp lets you import single pages and edit them like images. This is not super secret squirrel technology that is going to invalidate PDF documents, it's just Microsoft's take on expanding the capabilities of their own office software to include this functionality.

He's right, it doesn't work very well even with mostly textual documents. The re-layout they do, it totally jumbles up all the alignment and wrapping and most of the time, the fonts don't match. Lots of issues.

MeltedMacaroni said,
Bad bad idea. PDFs are not editable for a reason.

Most PDF's have always been editable, as long as you paid enough for the software. You can explicitly "lock" a PDF to make read-only, and Word will respect that, so if there's a particular reason why people don't want them edited, they can use that.

MeltedMacaroni said,
Bad bad idea. PDFs are not editable for a reason.

Any file-to-file printer like bullzip can print PDFs into jpegs and the like anyways.