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How to Convert PDF to Text on Windows? (3 Ways)

PDF maintains data integrity by not allowing anyone to edit them unless people with PDF editors. However, sometimes you need to get the text from a PDF document and edit/use it elsewhere. In such scenarios, converting PDF to text on Windows becomes essential since copying the document. Here, we will show you 3 ways about how to convert PDF to text on Windows.

Part 1. Convert PDF to Text on Windows With UPDF

The best way to convert PDF documents into text on your Windows PC is by using UDPF. UPDF is a premium PDF editing and viewing tool with many features to meet your requirements. Even when it comes to converting text from PDF, UPDF allows 2 conversion modes: simple PDF and scanned PDF conversion.

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Convert PDF to Text on Windows With UPDF

The option to convert scanned PDF to text is lacking in most tools, and UPDF makes the conversion extremely easy. Some additional features that you can get from UPDF include:

  • UPDF AI for summarizing, translating, explaining, writing, and asking for anything.
  • UPDF Cloud for storing your PDF documents online
  • Annotations and comments
  • PDF organizing
  • Easy PDF sharing in multiple ways

With all these features, your experience of converting text from PDF documents with UPDF will be amazing and below are the details about both ways you can use UPDF for conversion.

1. Convert PDF to Text on Windows

The first way of converting PDF to text with UPDF is basic conversion, and it works on normal PDF file. Since it is the easier conversion, it only takes the following 3 steps:

1. Open PDF file in UPDF

Press the "Windows" key, type "UPDF," and hit enter to open it, or you can locate the desktop shortcut and double-click that to open UPDF on your PC. Now using the "Open File" option, you will get to the browse window where you need to locate the PDF file. Once you find it, click to select and hit the “Open” button below. It will then open that PDF document in UPDF.

Open PDF file in UPDF

2. Export as text

Go to the right panel on the UPDF interface and click the "Export PDF" button. It will show you multiple options for exporting, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML, etc. From this list, you need to select Text. Now another pop-up window will open.

3. Confirm output format

The new pop-up window contains output format settings. In this example, we will continue with the “Text”. So, click the "Export" button to get the browse window. Select the file saving location there and rename the file if you want. Finally, click "Save," and UPDF will save the text file converted from the PDF document on that location.

PDF to txt with UPDF

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2. Convert Scanned PDF to Text on Windows

The next method of using UPDF for PDF-to-text conversion is for scanned PDF documents. It also works on PDF documents that have images of text in them. The procedure and experience are straightforward, with only one additional step, as explained below:

1. Open PDF document in the UPDF app

 Once UPDF is open, choose the "Open File" option, leading you to a browse window. Here, you can navigate to the location of the PDF file you wish to open.

After finding the desired PDF, click on it to select it, and then press the "Open" button located below. UPDF will then proceed to open and display the selected PDF document.

2. Perform OCR

Click the "Recognize Text using OCR" button in the right-side menu. It will open options to set OCR settings. We will follow the default options in this example and click the "Perform OCR" button. Now in the browse window, select the destination folder for saving the OCR file and click Save. You can also rename that file before saving it so the OCR file will be saved with the new name.

Recognize Text using OCR in UPDF

3. Open OCR converted file and export it as text.

Now open a new tab in UPDF and choose "Open File", leading you to a browse window. Here, you can navigate to the location of the OCR PDF file. After finding the PDF, click on it to select it, and then press the "Open" button located below. UPDF will then proceed to open and display the selected PDF document.

From the right panel on the UPDF, click "Export PDF". Select Text from the available options and another pop-up window will open.  

Click on Export PDF to convert PDF to text on windows using UPDF

4. Confirm output formatting and save

Click the "Export" button to get the browse window, select the file saving location, and rename the file if needed. Click "Save," and UPDF will save the text file recently converted from the OCR PDF document. Now you have successfully extracted text from scanned PDF documents.

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Part 2. Change PDF to Text on Windows with Microsoft Word

Another method to convert PDF to Text is with the help of Microsoft Word. Although it is a tool that works with docx files, it packs capabilities to open a PDF document, and when you do that, the content in PDF gets converted into plain text. However, this method is only a good option if the PDF does not come with formatted content because MS Word cannot maintain the same formatting.

Regardless, the process of using this method is very simple, with the following steps on MS Word only:

1. Use Word to open PDF

Right-click the PDF file icon and click the "Open With" option. If the list shows Word, click it; otherwise, click "Choose another app”. Click Word if it is included in the list; otherwise, click the "More Apps" button at the bottom, and now this extended list will contain Word. Click to select Word and hit “OK." The word may warn you and ask you to confirm the conversion that you need to confirm by pressing "Yes/OK."

Use Word to open PDF

2. Save as Text

Now hit the "Ctrl, Shift, and S" buttons to get the "Save As" screen. Open the "Save as type" dropdown and select the ".txt" file extension. Click "Save," and the text converted from PDF will be saved in a TXT file.

save as text in word

Part 3. Convert PDF to Text Using Command Line on Windows

The last method that we will discuss here is using the Command Line. We use CMD here, but for this method to work, installing the command line tools on your PC is essential since these are not built-in. Luckily, Xpdf brings the "pdftotext” command line utility for free, and we will use it in this method with the following steps:

1. Download the Xpdf command line tool

Go to the XpdfReader website and download the command line tool for Windows PC.

download the xpdf command line tool to convert PDF to txt using UPDF

2. Create a folder to extract the tool.

Create a new folder by pressing the "Control, Shift, and N" keys together. Place the downloaded zip file in that folder and the PDF file you want to convert to text. Right-click and select "Extract Here" for the file to extract it.

create a folder to extract the tool to convert word to txt using UPDF

3. Go to advanced system settings.

Press the "Windows and X" keys and select "System”. Now go to the right pane and click "Advanced system settings." A pop-up window will appear where you need to click the "Environment Variables" button.

go to advanced system settings

4. Add a new environment variable.

Locate "Path" under "System Variables" and click to select it. It will become blue; now click "Edit. Click "New," "Browse," and locate the folder where you extracted the downloaded file. In that folder, there will be an "pdf-tools-win” folder. Click it and select “bin32” or “bin64”. Click “OK” on all the setting windows to close them.

Add a new environment variable

5. Use the command prompt to convert PDF to Text.

Hit the "Windows" key, type CMD, and hit enter to open it. Open the folder that contains the utility tool and PDF document and copy its path from the address bar. For example, in our case, the path is "C:\Users\ASUS\Desktop\pdf files." Type "cd C:\Users\ASUS\Desktop\pdf files" in the command prompt and replace our path with yours. Hit enter. Now type "pdftotext file1.pdf" and hit enter. Replace "file1" with the name of your file. Close the CMD window if it does not show any error message and a new command line starts.

Use the command prompt to convert PDF to Text

6. Open a new text file to check

Open the folder containing the PDF file, and you will see a TXT file with the same name. You can open both files and verify whether the method has succeeded.

Open a new text file to check

Sum Up

The first thought about converting PDF to text Windows is copying the document. It might be feasible for small documents, but it is inefficient for bigger ones. That’s where the methods we discussed above can be very helpful. Hence, using that text will become very easy for you no matter where you use it.

Most methods discussed above don’t convert text from scanned PDF documents apart from UPDF. So, if you want a tool that always meets your requirements and performs above expectations, then UPDF is the right pick. It comes with additional PDF editing and sharing capabilities to bring a complete package for you.

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