How to Open a PDF in Microsoft Word on Windows and Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Opening a PDF in Microsoft Word is actually simpler than you might think. All you need to do is open Word, select ‘Open’ from the ‘File’ menu, navigate to your PDF file, select it, and click ‘Open.’ Word will then convert your PDF into an editable Word document. It’s that easy!

After completing this action, the PDF content will be editable in Microsoft Word. You can make changes, add or remove text, and save the document in Word format or as a new PDF.


In today’s digital world, PDFs and Word documents are the bread and butter of information sharing. Whether you’re a student, a business professional, or just someone who loves to organize, you’ve probably encountered a situation where you need to edit a PDF file. Unfortunately, PDFs are not designed to be edited, which is where Microsoft Word comes into play. Did you know that Word can convert a PDF into an editable document? This can be incredibly handy for updating documents or extracting information without having to retype everything.

Understanding how to open a PDF in Microsoft Word is a valuable skill and can save you a lot of time and frustration. It’s relevant to anyone who works with documents on a regular basis, especially those dealing with contracts, reports, or academic papers. This article will guide you through the steps to open a PDF in Microsoft Word on both Windows and Mac computers. Let’s dive in and make dealing with PDFs a breeze!

Step by Step Tutorial: Opening a PDF in Microsoft Word

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what these steps will accomplish. This tutorial will guide you through converting a PDF file into an editable Word document. You’ll be able to make changes just like you would in any other Word document.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Open the Microsoft Word application on your Windows or Mac computer.

In this step, you start by opening the Microsoft Word program. Make sure to update Word to the latest version for the best results.

Step 2: Click on ‘File’

Once Microsoft Word is open, click on ‘File’ located in the top menu bar.

This will bring up a menu with various options. You’ll find the ‘Open’ command here, which you need for the next step.

Step 3: Select ‘Open’

From the ‘File’ menu, select the ‘Open’ option.

This will prompt you to open a document. You’ll notice that it doesn’t specifically mention PDF files, but don’t worry—Word has got you covered.

Step 4: Navigate to Your PDF File

Navigate through your files and locate the PDF you wish to open.

You can find your PDF file either by browsing through your folders or by using the search bar.

Step 5: Select the PDF File

Click on the PDF file to select it.

Remember that you should click on the file only once to select it. Double-clicking will attempt to open the PDF in your default PDF reader.

Step 6: Click ‘Open’

With the PDF file selected, click the ‘Open’ button.

Microsoft Word will then start converting the PDF into an editable Word document. Depending on the size of the PDF, this may take a few moments.


Easy EditingOnce the PDF is converted into a Word document, you can easily edit the content as needed.
No Additional Software NeededMicrosoft Word has built-in PDF conversion, so there’s no need to download additional software or tools.
Preserves LayoutWord attempts to preserve the original layout of the PDF, including images and formatting.

The ease of editing is a major advantage. Unlike a PDF, a Word document allows you to add, delete, and change text freely. This is especially helpful if you need to update a document or fix errors.

Not having to download additional software is both convenient and cost-effective. Why clutter your computer with more programs when Word can handle the task?

While the conversion isn’t always perfect, Word does a decent job of preserving the layout and formatting of the original PDF. This means less time spent reformatting and more time getting work done.


May Have Formatting IssuesSometimes, the conversion process can cause formatting issues, particularly with complex PDFs.
Not All Elements May ConvertCertain elements, like forms or multimedia, may not convert properly or at all.
May Take Time for Large PDFsConverting very large PDF files can be time-consuming.

Formatting issues can be a hassle, especially if you’re working with PDFs that have complex designs or layouts. You may need to do some manual adjustments after the conversion.

Not all elements in a PDF are guaranteed to convert. Interactive forms, for example, often don’t translate well into Word documents and may need to be recreated.

For large PDFs, the conversion process can take a significant amount of time, which can be an inconvenience if you’re in a hurry.

Additional Information

Sometimes you might run into a PDF that is protected by a password, preventing you from opening it in Word. In such cases, you’ll need the password to unlock the PDF before you can convert it. Moreover, while Word is a powerful tool for converting PDFs, it’s not always perfect. You might find that some of the more intricate formatting or graphics don’t look exactly the same as they did in the PDF. Don’t despair, though. A little tweaking can usually get things looking right.

Another handy tip is to use the ‘Save As’ function in Word after you’ve finished editing. This allows you to save the document as a new PDF, retaining any changes you’ve made. Remember, when saving your newly edited document, choose the PDF option in the ‘Save as type’ dropdown menu.

Finally, if you’re a regular user of PDFs and need to convert them frequently, you might want to explore dedicated PDF conversion tools. These can offer more advanced features and may handle complex PDFs better than Word.


  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Click on ‘File’
  3. Select ‘Open’
  4. Navigate to your PDF file
  5. Select the PDF file
  6. Click ‘Open’

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I convert a PDF to Word on both Windows and Mac?

Yes, you can convert a PDF to a Word document on both Windows and Mac using Microsoft Word.

Will the converted Word document look exactly like the original PDF?

While Microsoft Word attempts to preserve the original layout and formatting, some elements may not convert perfectly.

Can I convert a scanned PDF document into Word?

Yes, but the accuracy of the conversion depends on the quality of the scanned PDF. Sometimes, you may need to use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software.

What if the PDF is password-protected?

You’ll need the password to unlock the PDF before you can open it in Microsoft Word.

Can I save the edited document back as a PDF?

Yes, after editing, you can use the ‘Save As’ feature in Word to save the document as a new PDF.


Opening a PDF in Microsoft Word is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance your productivity. Whether you’re using Windows or Mac, the steps are essentially the same and require no additional software. While there are some limitations, such as formatting issues and the inability to convert some elements, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. With this knowledge, you can take control of your documents and edit them with ease.

Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you work with converting PDFs to Word documents, the more adept you’ll become. So, go ahead and give it a try—your future self will thank you for mastering this essential skill.