Need to convert a huge pdf into text... help?

10 replies
I have a 116 page book that I set up a couple of years ago on lulu. I also have the pdf. The problem is that I tweaked the heck out of it with scribus to get it exactly how I wanted it. It's got 2 columns per page, and a ton of pictures inset. It totals about 116 pages, probably about 16,000 words. I need it converted to word, so I can start to work on an ebook version. Foolishly, I never did preserve a straight doc copy.

Now if I convert from pdf to doc or odt, I wind up with a massively jumbled mess. It's just a nightmare to look at. There's no way anybody is going to take that as a starting point. I do not have access to the original scribus files either - just the softcover book and the pdf.

So basically,as far as I can tell, I need somebody who is a software wizard, or else a really fast typist. Of course, this is on a tight budget. So... what are my options? I looked at fiverr and even from the lower-cost providers, it looks like it's going to be a $50 project or so, which I don't mind spending... but it would still leave me having to lay out the pictures and such again. So before I went that route, I wanted to know if you internet experts had a better idea.

Thanks
#convert #huge #pdf #text
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    I think this should be posted in the warrior for hire section, but I think the latest adobe reader has a button that you can turn a pdf into text. I seen it the other day when I updated, but didn't try it out.
    Signature
    " I knew that if I failed, I wouldn't regret that.
    But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. "

    ~ Jeff Bezos

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885497].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Benny L
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      I think this should be posted in the warrior for hire section, but I think the latest adobe reader has a button that you can turn a pdf into text. I seen it the other day when I updated, but didn't try it out.
      I will post it there, if that's the way to go with it. I'm more open at this point though... I'm not sure if I need a warrior, or the right software, or what.

      I tried zanzar.com and it came back looking bad enough that I wouldn't wish the results on any typist. It'd probably be faster just to type it over from scratch. But I don't know what other options are out there.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885508].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    The new Word 2013 can directly manipulate PDF files. I'm not sure if it's better or worse than other solutions but I know with other solutions, at least in the past, the success rate is hit or miss on complex documents.

    You may also try Nuance.com. They specialize in all kinds of big document management tasks.

    Either of those options may be worth a trial download.

    Sorry don't have anything more concrete.
    Mark
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885504].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    Yup, I just opened up a pdf, and it allows you to convert in Microsoft Word text. Try it out, it may save you some money. Click tools and it should show up as an option.
    Signature
    " I knew that if I failed, I wouldn't regret that.
    But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. "

    ~ Jeff Bezos

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885516].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Benny L
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Yup, I just opened up a pdf, and it allows you to convert in Microsoft Word text. Try it out, it may save you some money. Click tools and it should show up as an option.
      I'm running an older version. Hmmm... libraries? colleges? I knew a few students... maybe they would have access to it? I don't know...

      And yeah. thinking back to when I created the document to begin with, there was a TON of manipulation involved to get it looking right. Even if a program got every ascii character right, I'm thinking it would still be a bear to go through it all.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885523].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    Nitro Reader will covert pdf to text and then you can paste it into word. You might have to use the snip tool to save the images.
    Signature

    Do something spectacular; be fulfilled. Then you can be your own hero. Prem Rawat

    The KimW WSO

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885602].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Benny L
      Originally Posted by Lloyd Buchinski View Post

      Nitro Reader will covert pdf to text and then you can paste it into word. You might have to use the snip tool to save the images.
      Wow! MUCH better!!! There's still a lot of work left for me to do, but it's a much bigger step in the right direction! Thanks!!!

      And doing a quick replace, with 4 spaces being replaced with 1 space, 3 spaces with 1, and 2 spaces with 1 cleaned it up a whole ton more! Suddenly, this project isn't looking so impossible after all!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885662].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
        Originally Posted by Lloyd Buchinski View Post

        Nitro Reader will covert pdf to text and then you can paste it into word.
        I should have typed 'will covert unsecured pdf to text.'

        Originally Posted by Benny L View Post

        And doing a quick replace, with 4 spaces being replaced with 1 space, 3 spaces with 1, and 2 spaces with 1 cleaned it up a whole ton more! Suddenly, this project isn't looking so impossible after all!
        Reads like you are using Notepad++. The find and replace function in it is impressive. I've never used a software I've liked more.

        It's just an afterthought and doesn't matter now, but since it was unsecured why couldn't you just have copied and pasted it?
        Signature

        Do something spectacular; be fulfilled. Then you can be your own hero. Prem Rawat

        The KimW WSO

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7885812].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kolled
    You can try one of these two services (which are free). There may be limits to the size of PDF document they convert. If so, use a service like Gsplit to first split the large file into smaller ones. Gsplit can also reassemble the broken down PDF documents into one file, if need be. Good luck!
    PDF to Word
    PDF Online Converter
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7886125].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Claire Koch
    MOST ADOBE VERSIONS JUST SAY "SAVE AS TEST" AT LEAST THATS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE. IF ITS NOT SECURE. BELIEVE ME THERE IS A WAY AROUND EVERYTHING JUST KEEP SEARCHING OUT YOUR PROBLEM IN GOOGLE YOU'LL FIND EVEN A FEW WAYS MOST OF THE TIME.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7886140].message }}

Trending Topics