If you work with PDFs a lot, you have probably had to convert one to another document format at some point. Depending on how the PDF was created, this could be tricky or it could be easy. There are many converters available with price tags ranging from free to quite expensive.
Wondershare PDF Converter can convert PDFs to most document formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, EPUB, images, HTML and text files. The software comes in two versions: regular at $59.95, and pro at $79.95.
Let’s see if this PDF converter is worth the price.
You can download a free of both the regular and pro versions at Wondershare’s website to test out the software. The trial version only allows you to convert the first five pages of a PDF, but it’s enough to see if you like the software.
Wondershare PDF Converter has a really nice, intuitive interface. Using the program for the first time is easy because the options speak for themselves. You can either click Add Files to select your PDFs for conversion, or you can simply drag and drop the files onto the program.
Choose your output type at the top: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, EPUB, images, HTML or text. Select options if you need to, but the default settings work most of the time. If you have the pro version, you can turn on OCR support. Then press Convert and it gets to work.
Evaluating Conversion Quality
I tried converting about twenty different PDFs, a few ebooks I had, and regular documents that were converted from Excel, Word and PowerPoint. I even converted a scanned fax from a few years ago.
I am evaluating Wondershare PDF Converter Pro. The only different between the regular and pro versions it OCR support.
PDF to Word
I started with a 20 paragraph Word document that was generated from Cupcake Ipsum. I saved this to a PDF via Word’s built-in function, and then I printed it to PDF with PrimoPDF. The original was typed in Segoe UI 10 point font, with 1 inch margins.
The conversion back to a PDF from the saved-to-PDF file wasn’t the highest quality in terms of format. The converted PDF is in Times New Roman and the words are not in straight lines, instead they look a little squiggly.
I thought that a Word document that had been saved to a PDF (instead of printed to PDF) would convert back smoothly, but it didn’t. It was almost the same as the other converted file, except the font was now 10.5 point instead of 8 point.
Neither looked like the original. But most importantly, all the words were correct.
Interesting enough, I turned off OCR support and the conversions went much more smoothly. The results for both were nearly identical to the original files, down to the margins and font.
PDF to Excel
I started with an Excel file that had a table and a line graph. One was saved to PDF with Excel, one was printed to PDF with PrimoPDF. The conversions for both files to Excel got all of the data correct – the numbers and positions. The graph did not make it over, but the text in it (labels, etc.) converted.
You can choose in the settings to convert with or without formatting. I tested both. The colors and fonts did not convert, but the data was all correct.
The conversion to Excel works well, as long as you are working with data only.
Interestingly enough, I converted the PDF with a chart to Word and the chart was turned into an image embedded in the Word document. The formatting of the table, including colors and fonts converted also. So if you need to keep formatting, I suggest converting to Word first, and then copying and pasting into Excel.
PDF to PowerPoint
Like the others, I started with a PowerPoint that I saved to PDF via PowerPoint, and printed to PDF via PrimoPDF. Both converted back into a PowerPoint well. The background and title became a background image, but the text was editable.
PDF to EPUB
The EPUB conversion works very well. I downloaded a few public domain ebooks and each one converted with ease. There were no real issues with the converted files.
PDF to Images
Converting a PDF to images works pretty well. You can choose from .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .png, and .tiff. You can also select converting the PDF into one image, or extracting all images in the PDF file.
The first option, converting one page to one image works flawlessly. Extracting all images from the PDF file works pretty well, as long as the colors and shapes make it obvious. There was some difficulty with a patterned background and text.
PDF to HTML
This creates a folder for each converted file. You get an index.html file, as well as images. When I converted a text PDF to HTML, it created a navigation bar and side menu similar to a PDF reader as part of the HTML file. You can see below how it turned out. The text is all one giant image. This also happens if I print a website to PDF and try to convert.
PDF to Text
This obviously works best if you want text pulled from your PDF. Images did not convert at all and formatting did not convert well, especially when the text wasn’t in paragraph form.
The two files that were originally Word documents converted perfectly. There was no distortion at all. The PDF with a table and a chart did not convert too well; all the text was there, but was poorly formatted and hard to read.
Overall, this is a very good PDF converter. Compared to free converters, Wondershare PDF Converter definitely comes out ahead, especially if you opt for the pro version and get OCR support. For the most part, this software does a great job of converting PDFs to other formats properly. And it does a much better job than other software I’ve used before, especially with poor quality PDFs that were scanned from faxes (as long as it was text).
The price tag is a little high ($59.95 for the regular version and $79.95 for pro) for an app that does only one thing. But it does that one thing very well.