The PDF file format has certain advantages over Word’s DOC format, especially when you need to share documents with other people. PDFs have been an open standard since 2008, and all modern operating systems and web browsers can display PDFs perfectly.
You can rely on a PDF to display your content exactly how you want it, no matter on what device or browser it's being viewed. PDFs look professional, and you can even include any preferred fonts without worrying about whether the recipient has them installed.
Microsoft Word 2013 and newer versions support exporting to PDF directly from within the software, but if you want to perform batch conversions or edit the PDF afterward, you’ll want a dedicated PDF editor with Word to PDF conversion functionality.
In this article, we put the best Word to PDF converter software to the test.
- We've also featured the best free PDF to Word converters.
If you want PDF software that can do more than just convert from Word to PDF, consider Soda PDF. This software rivals Adobe Acrobat Pro in its features, allowing you to convert between an extensive list of file formats and edit your created PDFs. A Soda PDF license gets you access to both the powerful online editor and offline desktop app.
You can create a PDF from any Word document, and merge multiple Word documents into a single PDF. You can even batch convert Word documents into individual PDFs.
There are a few ways to pay for Soda PDF, including a one-off payment that costs $79-$159 depending on features, a monthly plan that’s $10-$15, and a yearly plan that’s $48-$84. Business plans start at $60/year/license.
Soda PDF is intuitive to use and has advanced features such as PDF forms, secure signing, and OCR, so if you work with PDFs daily, it’s an excellent choice.
Foxit is a company that’s almost as synonymous with PDF as Adobe, having offered PDF editing tools for decades. Its most recent software, Foxit PhantomPDF, is a top choice for converting Word documents to PDF, having additional settings upon conversion that other software don’t.
For example, you can set file options for optimizing the PDF for online viewing, add a watermark, ensure that the file conforms to specific PDFA standards (PDF/A-1b to PDF/A-3u), add headers and footers, and specify passwords and permissions. While these features are often available in other PDF editors, being able to save them as a template and use them repeatedly for batch processing is an excellent time-saving feature.
However, while a software like Soda PDF has an online version nearly identical to its desktop version in functionality, the online version of Foxit PhantomPDF is quite basic and feels like a different product entirely.
Foxit PhantomPDF has a free 14-day evaluation and comes in Standard and Business versions. The Standard version has almost all the features that most businesses will need and starts at $14.99/month. A perpetual license costs just $89 but doesn’t include future updates to the software. Overall, Foxit PhantomPDF is an excellent candidate for the best Word to PDF converter available today.
Wondershare PDFElement is a top-rated PDF conversion and editing tool. It supports all Microsoft Office formats but can convert from a wide range of image file types.
The main toolbar in Wondershare PDFElement includes options for batch converting from Word documents and combining Word documents into a single PDF. The tools work well at creating an accurate representation of the Word document in PDF format, but we found that batch converting many large Word documents at a time could cause the program to stop responding.
The PDFElement conversion tool also doesn’t have the immediate flexibility of Foxit PhantomPDF in terms of specifying margins, file permissions, and watermarks upon import. However, the robust set of batch processing tools does allow you to make batch changes to your PDFs after you’ve imported them.
Wondershare PDFElement is available from $69/year for the most basic version, but you’ll need to pay $79/year for the Pro version that includes batch processing. Overall, it’s well worth considering, as its PDF editing tools are some of the most intuitive to use.
Nitro Pro is a Windows-only desktop app for converting and editing PDFs. Its fast PDF creation can convert all Microsoft Office file types, WordPerfect, images, and HTML.
In our testing, we found Nitro Pro to be one of the best choices for batch Word to PDF conversions. You can set generated PDFs to be PDF/A-1b compliant, and the software has no problems converting multiple large Word documents accurately.
Although it has reasonably good PDF editing tools, Nitro Pro feels less intuitive to use than Wondershare PDFElement and Soda PDF. Sometimes, though, it’s just a case of needing an extra mouse-click here and there to get things done.
Nitro Pro has a refreshingly simple pricing plan: $159 per user. You can contact the company for special pricing should you need more than 20 licenses, and a 14-day fully functional trial is available to download.
Smallpdf is an online PDF editor with a desktop version available if you buy the Pro package. This converter is a suitable choice if you only need to perform a few conversions between Word and PDF. Its basic features are free, but you’re limited to one conversion at a time.
Besides converting between Word and PDF, you can merge, split, and perform simple PDF editing. The editing features are quite basic, only allowing you to add text, images, and shapes, so if you need to edit PDFs often, you should probably explore other converter options.
The paid version removes ads and file conversion limitations, but it costs $12 per month or $108 per year. You can try before you buy, as a 14-day free trial is available.
- Also see: the best AutoCAD to PDF converter.