As we contemplate converting documents, and file formats, it’s important to ask ourselves why we are doing it. In certain scenarios, it may be preferable to reconsider the steps in our process and to see if reorganizing those steps can help eliminate the need for conversions at all. While it’s always preferable to use original documents and file formats instead of relying on conversions, it’s important to note that converting documents has come a long way!
Use cases for converting documents such as PDFs to Microsoft Word documents may include:
- Not having ownership of the original document
- Receiving or using a document that was not initially created in a document editing tool like Microsoft Word
- Wanting to edit the document in a flowed format (adding content will allow the number of pages to grow)
- Wanting to convert the document to a Word template that can be used in document generation scenarios
Having considered those options, here’s what you need to know. A number of services are now available to convert PDF documents to Word documents. Our personal favorites are offered by Adobe (none other than the makers of the PDF format). Here are a few methods to convert those documents:
Convert PDF files to Word documents using Adobe Acrobat
1. Open a PDF file in Acrobat.
2. Click on the “Export PDF” tool in the right pane.
3. Choose Microsoft Word as your export format, and then choose “Word Document.”
4. Click “Export.” If your PDF contains scanned text, the Acrobat Word converter will run text recognition automatically.
5. Save your new Word file: Name your converted file, choose DOC or DOCX file format, and click the “Save” button. That’s it!
For more information, visit the Adobe website: https://www.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/pdf-to-word-doc-converter.html
Convert PDF files to Word documents programmatically (Adobe PDF Services API)
1. Start by ensuring that you have access to the Adobe PDF Services API by locating your credentials or requesting new ones from the Adobe Developer Console
2. Secondly, identify your development language of choice and validate wether or not an SDK is offered: PDF Services SDK
a. If if is not, you can still call these APIs restfully using any language.
3. Head over to the “Export PDF” documentation to find code samples in your language of choice to make the API call required: Export PDF
a. Alternatively, you may choose to invoke the API restfully. To help with that, a PostMan collection is provided! Have a look at it here.
b. Note that the SDK will obfusate certain calls from you. Consulting the API documentation may be helpful in understanding the calls required to both invoke certain operations and fetch results.
4. Copy the sample code to retrofit it into your solution
5. (Recommended) Write a new integration test along with a few unit tests that will exert the newly added code in order to test the invocation of the Adobe PDF Services API. To do so, you may choose to include sample test documents in a test module of your application that will be used during the invocation.
6. If the invocation succeeds, you should receive a converted document that can now be manipulated and processed in your code!
[BONUS] Convert PDF files to Word documents (Adobe PDF Services API) using Microsoft PowerAutomate
1. By navigating to Microsoft PowerApps, create or edit an existing Flow
2. Add a new step to your flow
3. Search through the many available operations for “Export PDF” and select the step provide by Adobe PDF Services
4. Select an existing connection or create a new one if required. Ensure that you have access to the Adobe PDF Services API by locating your credentials or requesting new ones from the Adobe Developer Console
5. Configure your flow to provide the required parameters such as the file name, output format, and file content
6. Invoke your flow and verify that the converted file is available to subsequent steps in your flow. That’s it!
With the various options described above, you should now be able to use your newly converted document to power the rest of your process or solution!