How to convert any PDF to MS Word RTF file format

Converting PDF documents to other formats and especially to RTF is one of the most common tasks every user apparently faces with. Who needs to convert PDF to RTF? To answer this question let's first take a brief look into each of the formats.

PDF - Portable Document Format

The PDF format was developed by Adobe as a universal, platform-independent document format. The idea of the format was to create a way to open textual and graphic documents on any device, regardless of the operating system installed. The PDF format introduced a PostScript language developed by Adobe that allowed any hardware to read and interpret the contents of a document the same way. That was the basis of the WYSIWYG principle widely used nowadays.

The format can hold texts, raster and vector graphics, different fonts, color, styles, interactive elements and many more. However, PDF format is hard to edit due to the way the information is stored in the file. 

RTF - Rich Text Format

RTF is a proprietary format developed by Microsoft. An RTF documents can hold texts, graphics and other meta-data. The format is cross-platform, and is supported by the most text processors. Unlike PDF, the RTF format specifications are closed, though there are still many tools and applications all over the Web that provide editing of RTF documents. RTF doesn't support WYSIWYG, but it was initially intended for easy editing. 

Even from the above comparison one can see a significant difference in these two formats and understand why PDF to RTF conversion is a very common task. Indeed, PDF is hard to edit, but is a de-facto standard in typographical industry and is best for printing. On the other hand, RTF is much simpler, but is way easier to modify.

That's why the most obvious reason for the conversion - is the ability to edit a document and then optionally convert it back to PDF.

To our luck, converting a PDF document to an RTF version is quite easy. There are numerous tools performing that operation, both online and desktop, under any operating system, including Windows, Linux or Mac OS. Just to name a few:

Online tools:

Here are several online conversions services.

  • Nice 100% free online conversion tool. The interface is clear and simple; the process runs flawlessly; the conversion result correctly reflects the original document.
  • One more online PDF/RTF conversion service. Limited with 2MB in a free version, which is a major drawback if your PDFs are filled with graphics.
  • A multi-format online conversion tool. Manages PDF to RTF conversion as well with no problems at all.

Desktop tools:

Online services are OK if you need to convert one or two PDF documents to RTF. However, if you need to do this constantly, or if you have a bulk load of PDFs waiting for you to convert them to RTF - you're in trouble. Manually loading each one and converting them is a pain. That's what bulk converters are for. Here are several products: 


PDF into RTF conversion is a common task if you often need to edit PDF files. You cannot modify them directly, because PDF is a final presentation format and doesn't allow editing. That's why a conversion to other format, such as RTF is needed. The conversion can be perform with the number of free online services, as well as various desktop solutions for different operating systems.

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