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Converting .docx to PDF changes formatting

Community Beginner ,
Sep 18, 2013

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I'm a technical writer and Word is my only tool available for publishing documents.  Most of the documents I publish are anywhere between 10-150 pages, and they are all created in Word and published in PDF format (converting with Acrobat).

It is rare to convert a document to PDF that doesn't contain any formatting errors that weren't there prior to conversion.  More specifically, these things occur when converting to PDF:

-Page breaks are inserted after some Figure cross-references

-Heading styles change completely

-Some black text becomes blue

-Images are pushed on to the next page, even if it fit well in the Word doc

Considering that I do not have access to Framemaker or anything comparable, is there ANY way to prevent these changes when converting from Word to PDF?  It's especially aggravating in longer documents, because I have to re-format them several times before most (but almost never all) of the issues are resolved.

Correct answer by Damian2 | Community Beginner

Hi hlmzzzz

Have you tried saving as a .doc instead of .docx? This simple workaround fixes a number of issues for me. Let me know, good luck!

Damian

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Create PDFs, Windows

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Converting .docx to PDF changes formatting

Community Beginner ,
Sep 18, 2013

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I'm a technical writer and Word is my only tool available for publishing documents.  Most of the documents I publish are anywhere between 10-150 pages, and they are all created in Word and published in PDF format (converting with Acrobat).

It is rare to convert a document to PDF that doesn't contain any formatting errors that weren't there prior to conversion.  More specifically, these things occur when converting to PDF:

-Page breaks are inserted after some Figure cross-references

-Heading styles change completely

-Some black text becomes blue

-Images are pushed on to the next page, even if it fit well in the Word doc

Considering that I do not have access to Framemaker or anything comparable, is there ANY way to prevent these changes when converting from Word to PDF?  It's especially aggravating in longer documents, because I have to re-format them several times before most (but almost never all) of the issues are resolved.

Correct answer by Damian2 | Community Beginner

Hi hlmzzzz

Have you tried saving as a .doc instead of .docx? This simple workaround fixes a number of issues for me. Let me know, good luck!

Damian

Topics

Create PDFs, Windows

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162.7K

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 19, 2013

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What version of Word are you using? If you're running Word 2010 have you tried setting the Adobe PDF printer as the default and then setting "Use printer metrics to lay out document" under Options > Advanced > Layout options dialog in Word?

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 20, 2013

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Thanks for the response.  I tested four documents this morning with this method and so far, they have all converted with the correct formatting.  Fingers crossed they all act the same way going forward!

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2013

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It is likely related to a common property of word processor as Lori has mentioned. Most word processors reflow the document depending on the printer. When you print to the Adobe PDF printer or use PDF Maker, the document will reflow to best match the printer, unless that Adobe PDF printer was selected in the print menu while you were editing. The printer metrics option is available in WORD to try to avoid this issue, but I am not sure how well it works. I have had similar problems with forms and such that folks prepared in word and could not print correctly to my paper printer because of the same issue. Changing the printer and going through the document to check the layout is the most reliable way to deal with the issue and it appears it is working for you.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 24, 2013

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Well, I wish I could report back with good news, but I am still having the same problems.  Really wish I could just ditch Word altogether.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 24, 2013

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You could try LibreOffice or OpenOffice for free equivalents. I would just suggest you might change your default printer to the Adobe PDF printer and then when you want to print to something else, change the printer then or create a PDF and print from the PDF.

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New Here ,
Jun 07, 2015

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hlmzzzz,

I have just had the same problem and all the suggested workarounds didn't work.  However, I tried restricting the editing for the final version and then exporting the document as a PDF and this resolved my problem of the formatting getting messed up.

I hope that this helps, as it worked for me.

Regards

Jim

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Contributor ,
Nov 24, 2015

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Hi Jim,

How did you restrict the editing for the final version? I never use word but as a printer I am forced to try and convert them to pdf from time time. Sorry if this is a dumb question.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 14, 2016

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Hi hlmzzzz

Have you tried saving as a .doc instead of .docx? This simple workaround fixes a number of issues for me. Let me know, good luck!

Damian

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New Here ,
Nov 29, 2016

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Thanks, that seemed to work! I had the same issue with my CV - when converting to PDF it would change the bullet points to empty squares, and change some of the lines, etc. Saving it as .doc, and then converting to pdf seemed to solve the problem.

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New Here ,
Apr 24, 2018

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I am got into as an email that I coped from  from word and converted to pdf showed incorrectly the colon as a full stop in the pdf. Would u have idea as to how I can prove that I this happened during the conversion. I would be most grateful

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New Here ,
Jan 26, 2018

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Could you please help me when i convert pdf into word i get blank page while download the word file and also change the formating what to do please let me know.

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