Can you send me the PDF and Word document?


As a designer, I’m asked more than I’d like to admit if I can please send the PDF and the Word document for review. Ugh. I often catch myself rolling my eyes. My design is not a Word document. In this scenario, my designs typically come from Illustrator, InDesign, and sometimes are coded websites.

But…did you know I always quickly (and easily) give my clients exactly what they asked for — a PDF and a Word document.

Here’s how…

I use Adobe Acrobat Pro, which has an incredible secret power: converting PDFs to Word documents!

In Adobe Acrobat DC, open the PDF file you’ve exported from your design program.

Then go to File > Export To > Microsoft Word. Next, select if you want the .doc (> Word 1997-2003 document) or .docx (> Word document).

How to convert PDFs into Word docs from Adobe Acrobat DC.

It’s that easy. Voila. You’ll have a Word doc that your client can use Track Changes on or copy/paste as they’re accustomed to.

Notes: I also make sure to let clients know that the Word document will not be perfect as the file doesn’t genuinely exist in Word. I also ask for tracked changes so I can easily see what I need to update in InDesign or Illustrator.

Follow along with this Video

This video shows how to turn a PDF from InDesign or Illustrator into a PDF for clients. It also shows how to use a Google Chrome extension called FullPage to export a webpage as a PDF that can be converted to Word via Adobe Acrobat.

I’m often asked, “Can you send me the PDF and 
a Word document?” This is normally followed  

by a little bit of eye-rolling or sighing if 
I’m by myself, but of course, I always say,  

“Yes,” and I’m able to do it really quickly 
and easily. So, I’m going to show you how. So  

of course, if I’m designing a print piece, 
it’s probably in Illustrator or InDesign,  

so I’m just going to flip to a PDF that’s in Adobe 
Pro DC. If you go to File > Properties, you can  

see some details about it, and you can see it was 
made in InDesign. So, when it’s coming from these  

design programs, the text is really text, images are 
images. All of those details are saved in the PDF.

So, you can use this quick Export to >Microsoft 
Word option right from Adobe Acrobat Pro.  

To get a Word document, I’m going 
to save it right to my desktop.

It takes just a few seconds, and it opens it in 
Word. So, it’s not 100% perfect, but  

what this allows is your client to be able to 
copy and paste, to use tracking and make edits  

in a way that they’re used to maybe with their 
team. I just always ask, first I say, “Hey  

this was not designed in Word, so it might not 
look perfect. The fonts might not be perfect  

but this will give you a start 
and it’s what I can give you.”  

So, it meets what their ask is, and it’s a 
great, a great way to get a PDF made quickly.  

All right, so another option is what if 
you’re on a website. I’ll have clients say,  

“Okay, that’s great. You know I’d like to edit 
some things. Can you give that to me in Word?”

All right, again, you’re thinking this 
is code. No, I can’t give it to you  

in Word. You can copy and paste it, right?” But,  
I say, “Yes, of course, I can. So, I use one of my  

favorite tools. It’s up here. It’s a Google 
Chrome Extension. It’s called Go Full Page.

So you click it, and it will take a picture of 
the full length of your website. So all the way  

scrolling down. So that’s why I love this one is it
doesn’t just cut off what I can see in my viewport.

All right, so then I select “Download 
as PDF.” So this is a free extension.

All right, so I’m going to double-click open that 
PDF. All right, so right now the PDF has been turned  

into an image. All right, so an image does not have 
text anymore. It’s all pixels. Right, soo, if I just  

did File > Export to Microsoft Word it is going 
to export it for me, but what it’s going to do

is just simply move the picture. One image that I 
can move around into Word. Okay, so that probably  

doesn’t meet what your client is asking for, but 
there’s still a quick workaround here in Adobe.

So, I’m going to go to Edit PDF. When I do 
that it’s actually going to convert my scan  

page to editable text. So now my words have 
become a font, right. It didn’t load the exact  

font that I had on my website, but 
it’s close enough. It’s actual letters, right. Okay, so now I can close my Edit view. You can see it’s still text that I can select now.

This time when say I say, File > Export to Microsoft Word, it will keep the text that it’s now created.

And now, back in Word, I have text that 
I could decide to put on Tracking for  

and catch myself SMILING.

Right, okay, so hopefully, this trick will help 
you next time a client or someone asks you,  

“Can you send me the PDF and a Word document?”
when you turn over your beautiful design.  

Good luck and happy designing!

I hope you found this helpful.

Search InDesign and Search via Adobe Acrobat

Sometimes you need to change a word or phrase in a sizeable InDesign document that includes placed PDFs. The default search feature in InDesign only queries InDesign text, so this search excludes the embedded charts and PDFs that may be part of your document. A workaround is to search/query in Adobe Acrobat instead. To do this, export your InDesign file as a PDF and then search for your keyword in Adobe Acrobat, which turns PDFs and many charts/diagrams into editable and searchable text.

Happy Designing!

About the author

Kelly Barkhurst

Designer to Fullstack is my place to geek out and share tech solutions from my day-to-day as a graphic designer, programmer, and business owner (portfolio). I also write on Arts and Bricks, a parenting blog and decal shop that embraces my family’s love of Art and LEGO bricks!

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By Kelly Barkhurst

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