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Kessler Associates blog: Recreating PDFs as documents

Word document template projects aren't all about building a template to match a supplied layout design. Or rather, they are, but there's more which can be added to that.

Building a document template can often be just the first stage in a project. Once you've worked out precisely how you want your templates to appear on-screen, the work to turn that design into reality can be handled rapidly and smoothly, with a single template being completed and fully tested within a couple of days at most.

However, the template construction work may only be required because you have a different end target in mind. You might want several existing documents to follow your new layout design, so to achieve this, creating a template is required as the basis for the rest of the work.

Kessler Associates document recreation image
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Additionally, while transferring older Word documents across to the new design may not be fraught with too many complications, sometimes your old documents may not exist as Word or text documents.

Sometimes all you may have is a PDF. Trying to convert this into a useable document will quickly have you tearing out your hair, so having it recreated from scratch in Word is the best way to go. Kessler Associates can certainly handle this for you, as it can be time-consuming and tricky work to reproduce a PDF in Word format.

The project may be time-consuming but we won't be tearing out any hair (and luckily there's plenty to spare even if we do!). Once the template with the new design layout is in place, we'll extract the basic text from your PDF, lay it into a new document and apply the new formatting styles. Unfortunately, an added complication is the liklihood that each and every line of text will have a carriage return at the end of it, and all of these have to be removed. That's where a good deal of the time-consumption comes in, but once that has been dealt with, the text will flow beautifully in your new document.

The next stage is to extract data from tables and rebuild those in Word. A table style will probably have been specified in your layout requirements, and this will have been added to the template as the default table. The extracted table text needs to be reformatted as plain text so that it can be converted back into a table, and then the default table text formatting needs to be applied. Sounds complicated but it's actually quite straightforward. Tables done.

Kessler Associates PDF recreation image
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Any photos and images in the PDF will need to be exported, and this can probably only be done by exporting the entire page as an image or by taking a screenshot. This will need to be cropped and improved in a powerful image editor before being imported into Word as a new picture. The same goes for logos.

Perhaps the final stage is adding any charts, again rebuilding them from scratch using the data from the PDF. After that, if the template has a built-in table of contents then this can be updated to display all of the new document's sections and page numbering. And that's it.

Depending on the length of your PDF, the work to create a fully formatted Word document from the information contained in the PDF may take between half a day and perhaps a week (although two days for a fairly complicated forty-page PDF seems to be a good average). At the end, you have a document which you can edit and update, and even create a new PDF from, ensuring that your clients and customers have the latest information from you.

Recreating PDF files as Word documents is relatively straightforward, but there are a lot of steps to go through, so you'd better let us know as soon as possible about your own requirements so we can make a start. Before your competitors reach us first!

Whatever you need, we have the solution.

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