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So-called ‘Edit PDF’ feature is coming to Word for Mac

Word 365 for Mac is getting what’s called the ‘Edit PDF’ feature, already available in Word for Windows.  Don’t get too excited, Word can’t really edit a PDF file and the results might not be what you want.

The ‘editing PDF’ feature is now available to Office for Mac insiders (v 16.29 build 190830 and later).

As we noted back in 2012, when PDF conversion came to Word 2013:

“Behind the scenes, Word 2013 is actually extracting and converting the PDF content into an editable form. That means the original formatting of the document may not always be retained in the Word 2013 version. As usual, the more complex the PDF file, the more likely there’ll be formatting variations.”

Nothing has changed since then.  Word 365/2019 still convert the PDF into a Word document with mixed success.  That’s not a complaint, it’s a fact of life that Microsoft glosses over. Any document conversion will have problems and especially from PDF which was never designed as an editable format.

Word’s conversion from PDF can work well, especially if the PDF was made with Word in the first place.  However other PDF’s with scanned pages won’t convert in the way people expect.

Office for Mac delay

When hearing Microsoft’s boasts about this addition to Word for Mac, keep in mind that it comes about six years AFTER the same feature in Word for Windows.

‘Editing’ a PDF in Word for Mac

Just go to File | Open and select a PDF file.

The PDF goes to Microsoft for conversion, so beware if your PDF is confidential or private.

The converted PDF opens in Word to edit just like any other document.

Save a PDF

Save back to PDF format in one of the two ways available in Word for Mac.

  • File | Save a Copy … then choose the Export | PDF format.

  • File | Print then choose ‘Save As PDF’ from the menu at bottom left.

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