Why PDF files are different and difficult to convert

A lot of people think PDF files are similar to a Word Excel, PowerPoint or InDesign file; and converting from a pdf to InDesign or even converting a pdf to Word, Excel or PowerPoint is relatively easy. But this is definitely not the case.

PDF files don’t contain high-level properties like you find in a Word, Excel or InDesign file. The concept of a word, line, paragraph, table, column, header, footer, spreadsheet like information simply don’t exist. As a matter of fact, the only thing that exists is an object (in this case an object can be a character, graphics, image), its location, size and any kind of scaling/rotation. In the case of fonts, the font names are stored in a format called Postscript which is very different than your normal font names you find in your system.

Another way to think of a PDF file is to think of it as a Printed-paper. When you print something on paper, you don’t know which software created it. Its just a print out. The original software may have been InDesign, Word, PowerPoint or something else. So, pretty much you can’t tell what it is. .

PDF Conversion is like taking Soup and recreating the ingredients from it (now if that were possible we’d be magicians!). So its really difficult.

So PDF conversion requires that words be formed, then lines be formed then paragraphs while ensuring that the layout be maintained (this is just some simple things). Now just think about this. I can look at printed paper and I wont be able to figure out whether every line is a paragraph or whether a group of lines forms a paragraph. I don’t even know whether (lets just think if I hid all borders of table) its a table or something separate.

Word files contain words, paragraphs, columns, sections, tables (this information exists). Excel files clearly contain information about cells and rows and columns. But PDFs? Nothing!

Our PDF conversion technology has been developed and honed over 12 years making it the top-tier pdf converter available across Mac, Windows and iOS. It pretty much does the magic of forming words, paragraphs, lines, columns, sections, drop caps, tables and much more so that you get a completely usable document with the layout re-created to the best fidelity. Especially the table formation technology built is extremely robust.

We pioneered PDF to Excel, Word, PowerPoint conversion on the Mac and iOS with our PDF2Office technology. We also invented the award winning PDF to InDesign solution PDF2ID which is the de-facto pdf converter for InDesign that has converted millions of PDFs to InDesign type. So, we are definitely experts at creating great PDF converters!