Data Centers

Convert PDF files to other editable formats with this tool

If you've ever been frustrated by PDF files that you needed to edit, this tool offers a solution. Able2Extract allows you to convert PDFs to other editable file types.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) has become the standard for distributing documents within an organization or making them available to customers. Many files and even books are saved as PDF to allow the file size to be compressed and the document to remain protected.

I discovered an application recently that will allow PDF documents to be converted to other editable formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, as well as Open Office, RTF, TXT, and HTML. The application is called Able2Extract, and in the few days I have used it, the possibilities with this application seem numerous.

Able2Extract has a 7-day free trial. Following the trial, the Professional version is $129.99 and the standard version is 99.99 from the manufacturer's Web site. For those who need to rework PDF documents on a regular basis, this may be a feasible investment.

Suppose someone sends me a PDF quote for a new Server appliance and I need to sign the quote and send it on to purchasing. With Able2Extract I can convert the PDF file to a Word document and add a signature. Then push it back out to PDF and send it on its way, signature included.

The interface is pretty simple as well -- another good feature.

To use Able2Extract, complete the following steps:

1.       Open a PDF file within Able2Extract.

2.       Select the data within the PDF that you want to convert. Note: Using Select All from the Edit menu for large PDF documents may cause a delay.

3.       Select the output format from the toolbar at the top of the application.

4.       Select the type of conversion within your chosen application that you wish to perform, as in Figure A.

Figure A

What type of conversion should be performed?
5.       Then, choose the file type to create -- in this case, a .doc or .rtf (Figure B).

Figure B

Select the type of file to create.

6.       Click the Convert button to begin the process of creating your new document.

The Able2Extract application also supports batch mode, which allows multiple files to be converted to a specified type, using that output type's default settings (for Word, the documents created will use the .doc file type). However, as of this writing, there is no support for batch conversion to other formats, like RTF. This is a feature that might prove very useful and could make it into future releases.

Able2Extract is a very useful tool in the event that documentation is inherited from other employees. Many times these documents are not kept in their original format. With Able2Extract, that's not a problem.

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About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

33 comments
Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

1. Why should I pay money just to be able to convert a document out of PDF that shouldn't be in PDF to begin with? If I'm meant to sign it and return it electronically, they wouldn't send it as PDF, unless they're thicker than two fence posts. And an email asking for a non PDF copy will usually get you one. 2. The main reason people put things in a PDF is because they do NOT want people playing around with it at all. So you now want to make changes. Have you checked and got copyright approval to do so? If you contact the author and they approve you playing with their document they'll send you a non PDF version. 3. Also, this is only useful to people with MS Windows since Win2K - I checked the system requirements. So all you Mac and Linux users are left out.

d1javielito
d1javielito

I would also recommend using Nitro PDF which is also very easy to use and has many other features not to mention it also cost less and has a 14 day trial period. I was able to convert almost a whole book 789 pgs, (with the trial version)

norm
norm

Is there any free ware that does this?

alli_yas
alli_yas

Paying for something like this is weird to me....and that at 100 dollars is ridiculous!

The Groffer
The Groffer

This program looks like any number of other free or small fee PDF converters I've used in the past. All of them work for standard basic documents well. None of them work well if there are extensive layers or the text is actually a graphic. If it's the former why not just use OpenOffice3 with the PDF import function. It works as well and better then any of the other free converts I've tried and it's FREE. I'm reserving total judgment on this product as I haven't tried it yet. But even if it works well for $99 there other other options like Foxit PDF editor. Beyond that if you are doing any extensive PDF work there is no comparison for a full version of Acrobat. But from what I've read and personally tested. This product seems like a waste of money compared to whats already freely available.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

I am pleased and somewhat surprised that this tool supports OpenOffice format. It may actually be worth checking out!

lserchia
lserchia

I purchased this and its a great tool!

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

We use Omnipage to convert PDF to Word/Excel, etc. Omnipage is the leader in this field and have the best OCR tools outhere.

rfolden
rfolden

"So all you Mac and Linux users are left out." Yep... all 3 of you.

bithaul
bithaul

In a previous response, The OpenOffice 3.0 PDFImport extension was mentioned. I have used it and it works quite well. Even opened Autocad PDF files and were able to make some changes and send the modified PDF back. I just noticed that OpenOffice just released the 1.0 version. I have not tried this version, but the previous version worked great. It did open the PDF into Open Office Draw.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

easiest to get hold of and allows you to do a lot more with it.

rfolden
rfolden

"None of them work well if there are extensive layers or the text is actually a graphic." This one works fine, because as best I can tell (I've actually USED the product...) it treats the screen area in question as input and performs OCR on that. Are there other options? Sure. This one fills a niche and it does, indeed, "work as advertised".

option12
option12

I use pdftohtml to convert books for reading on my G1.

it
it

Get the trial version. It just limits you to only 3 files at a time. But it's simple.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

now pack up and go home. oops, i am at home, oh well, I'll just stay here for now. I see you totally agree with the other two point, which is good.

twtrout
twtrout

I work for an engineering firm where we often have to deal with vendor drawings being produced on AutoCAD exported as PDF files and issued for our review. If an engineer wants to suggest a revision to the design, being able to convert back to AutoCAD so that a CAD technician can work on a copy of the parent drawing is a great time saver. If we have to get the vendor to resubmit in DWG or DXF we sometimes lose a couple of days. At our inside billing rate one hour saved would pay for the cost of A2E. Any software that can do this will find its way into every engineering office that works with DWG or DXF files.

michael.moore
michael.moore

I have tested and found that OO is the best free PDF Converter that I have tested. it is the best one regarding keeping formatting and converting most if not all objects on the document. The only hard part to get over is the fact that you need to open Draw instead of Writer to import/convert a pdf document.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Correct me if I'm wrong, but to the best of my knowledge OO can save something as a PDF but can't open one and save it as a .doc format. That is what the article was about.

Dedlbug
Dedlbug

I was just telling a partner the other day that I need a good PDF-Word converter. This saved me the "googling" and it seems to work great so far. Thanks for the post. =]

Vigorkkitty
Vigorkkitty

I guess you are recommending a standalone pdf to word converter here, in my opinion, it's really more safer and convenient compared to a online one. Especially the file has personal or private information involved. Even some can convert PDF to editable word from encrypted pdfs and whilst preserve the formatting and content well.

jmcguire
jmcguire

'Free and Simple' Is this the name of the program or are you referring to the fre trial of 'Able2Extract'?

AlpineHaddock
AlpineHaddock

Terry Pratchett's trolls count in a similar way: one, two, three, many many-one, many-two, many-three, many-many many-many-one, many-many-two, many-many-three, many-many-many many-many-many-one, many-many-many-two, many-many-many-three, lots

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

He counts like Fuzzies: one, two, three, many, many-many.

terry
terry

I have used this several times with very limited success.