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2 Quick Ways to Convert Scanned PDF to Word

How do you convert a scanned PDF to Word format to make it editable in Microsoft software? Converting a scanned or non-editable PDF file requires a special process called OCR or optical character recognition. Once you've processed your document using OCR, you can proceed to convert the PDF into a Word file. There are a few different ways to do this, but in this article, we'll show you the most effective and convenient ways to convert scanned PDFs to Word on Windows and Mac.

What is a Scanned PDF?

A PDF document can be created by scanning a paper document into an electronic version. This is performed by selecting a scanner or a similar machine that captures an image of a paper document and saves it as an electronic PDF file. When a scanner makes this scanned image, it does not replicate each character of every word. It only takes a "snapshot" of the paper document. The software provided with the scanner then converts the photo into a PDF document. As a result, a "scanned" PDF document is produced.

A scanned PDF's content cannot be searched or modified. OCR software is necessary to electronically recognize each character on a page and then transform it into a usable format to search or edit a scanned PDF. Essentially, it recognizes and extracts text from images.

The Best Scanned PDF to Word Converter

With support for over 10 OCR languages, UPDF is definitely one of the most versatile and powerful scanned PDF to Word conversion tools you'll find for Windows and Mac. Remember: converting a scanned document with OCR requires a great deal of accuracy, and UPDF uses a powerful OCR engine for its conversions. The final output will be a Word document with the same layout and formatting as the original document. Some fonts might not translate accurately, especially if your scanned file has handwriting on it, but the content will be as close to the scanned copy as possible.

scanned pdf to word

Let's look at some of its key capabilities and how to use this comprehensive PDF conversion tool from Superace.

Key Features of UPDF

  • Dedicated PDF conversion tool that supports many common output formats such as Word, Excel, PPT, image formats, HTML, XML, Text, and RTF.
  • Accurate conversion of editable PDFs to other file formats.
  • OCR function to convert scanned PDF to editable Word format.
  • The format is kept consistent during conversions - minimal manual correction is required.
  • All-in-one solution. It also allows you to edit PDF documents, comment on PDF documents, protect PDF documents, etc.

Method 1: How to Convert Scanned PDF to Editable Word with OCR Feature?

Do you want to convert a scanned PDF document into text so that it can be used anywhere required? Rather than typing down the text, you can easily convert it to OCR with the help of the tool provided by UPDF. It allows you to convert scanned PDF to Word, which makes it an excellent option for obtaining the textual data of the document. To know how it is done, look into the steps featured below:

Step 1: Define OCR Document Type

Go to the "Recognize Text Using OCR" button on the right panel after opening the PDF. From the "Document Type" section, select "Searchable PDF" and continue with the process.

Step 2: Set the Layout Settings

To set the parameters of the OCR tool, define the "Layout" settings as "Text and pictures only" or "Text over the page image". You can also work on the advanced layout settings by clicking on the "Gear" icon next to the layout settings.

Step 3: Provide Language to Detect

Once you are done, proceed to the "Document Language" section, where you have to select the particular language that is to be detected. You can choose any appropriate language out of the 38 options available in the menu.

Step 4: Specify Image Resolution

Proceed to the "Image Resolution" section and set the right value by using the ones available in the menu. If not, you can click on the "Detect Optimal Resolution" button and proceed.

Step 5: Convert Scanned PDF to Editable Words

Next, provide the page range where you want to execute the function and click "Perform OCR". Set the right location for the converted document so that it can be converted to editable text.

convert scanned pdf to editable word

You can edit the PDF now. But if you want to convert it to Word format, you can use the UPDF export PDF feature to convert PDF to Word format.

Method 2: How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word Format

Step 1. Open the Scanned PDF Document

Use the "Open File" option to import your scanned PDF into the UPDF software.

Step 2. Select Output Format

Click the "Export PDF" icon on the right toolbar, and select "Word" as the output format if you want to convert a scanned PDF into a Word document.

pdf to word ocr

Step 3. Enable OCR and Specify Your Preferred OCR Settings

Toggle the "Text Recognition Settings" button at the top of the panel to enable OCR.

Choose the language contained in the document. If you want to apply the same OCR settings for all the files in the queue, click "Apply to All".

scanned pdf to editable word

If you want to convert part of the scanned PDF documents, you need to set the page range for conversion.

Step 4. Convert Scanned PDF to Word

Finally, click the "Export" button at the bottom to convert the file.

The DOCX file will be generated and saved to the folder you just selected, which will be displayed on your screen - you can now open it with MS Word for editing.

Note: The steps to convert scanned PDF to Word with UPDF on Windows and Mac are the same.

This is the best way to convert scanned PDF to Word, but UPDF free version only allows you to convert 5 files. If you want to convert more scanned PDFs, you can also upgrade to a paid plan to remove the trial version limitations. That's very reasonable considering how expensive OCR tools can be. Try UPDF from now on by clicking the following Download button.

Video Tutorial on How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word

What are Some Common Issues with Converting Scanned PDF Files to Word?

In general, the OCR engine can convert most scanned PDF files. However, not all scanned files are made equal. First and foremost, if you are working with scanned files, ensure that you have enabled the OCR option in the program.

Before opening and converting a scanned file, go to OCR settings and select Convert using OCR. If the file does not convert, this could be the cause: the gap between the characters in the document is too close, and the OCR cannot detect each character.

The poor image quality of the scanned document, a mix of fonts used in the scanned documents, and italicized and underlined typefaces, all of which can muddy the clarity and shape of the individual characters, are all issues that can impair the OCR result. As a result, confirming that the character "recognized" by the OCR software corresponds to the character on the scanned paper is much more challenging.

Most importantly, you should know that, with UPDF OCR, you don't need to worry about any of these issues as it will give you the perfect results and accuracy. Try it now.

FAQs about Scanned PDF

What is OCR (Optical Character Recognition)?

The process of converting a text image into a machine-readable text format is known as optical character recognition (OCR). For example, when you scan a form or a receipt, your computer saves the scan as an image file. Using a text editor, you cannot modify, search, or count the words in the image file. You can, however, utilize OCR to transform the image into a text document, with the contents saved as text data.

The majority of business workflows entail getting information from print media. Business processes include paper forms, invoices, scanned legal documents, and printed contracts. These vast amounts of paperwork require significant time and space to store and handle. While paperless document management is the way to go, scanning a document into an image presents difficulties. The procedure necessitates manual involvement and might be time-consuming and inefficient.

Furthermore, digitizing this document content generates image files containing the text inside them. Image text cannot be processed by word processing software in the same way that text documents can. The problem is solved by OCR technology, which converts text images into data that other business applications can evaluate. The data can then be used for analytics, streamline operations, automate procedures, and boost productivity.

What is a Native PDF File?

A native PDF is a PDF of a document that was "born digital," meaning it was made from an electronic version of the document rather than a print version. On the other hand, a scanned PDF of a print document, as when you scan pages from a print journal and save the file as a PDF.

What is the Difference Between a Scanned PDF and a Native PDF?

Want to know the differences between a scanned PDF and a native PDF? Scanned PDFs are PDFs made consisting of scanned images of a certain document. Because a scanned PDF is a collection of images, the user is often unable to search over the text. Native PDFs, on the other hand, are PDFs of documents that were "born" digital, meaning the PDF was formed from an original electronic version of the document, such as a Microsoft Word document. More and more content in ProQuest databases is "born" digital and thus available as a native PDF in PDF format (some complete text is only available in ASCII/HTML). The percentage of born-digital information contributed to ProQuest databases grows year after year.

What are the Types of Scanned PDFs?

Scanned PDFs are classified into three categories.

  • Image PDFs- The most frequent type of PDF is an image PDF. This is true when a hard copy document is scanned into a PDF file.
  • Scannable PDFs with searchable text - This scanned PDF document may contain hidden text behind the image.
  • Scanned PDFs with Mixed Content -This PDF may contain scanned photos and electronically generated PDF elements.


And that rounds up our article on the best tool to convert scanned PDF to Word for editing and other purposes. From the above introductions, we can know UPDF is affordable, accurate, dedicated, versatile, and available for both Windows and Mac systems. In addition, you can convert PDFs to various other formats so the files can be edited in their native applications. Give it a try and join tons of satisfied users who rely on UPDF to process their daily document workflows.