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Converting Text Files on a Mac
One of the most common issues that modern computer owners suffer from is the fact that there are so many programs out there that do so many different things. There's no way to have one definitive file type that works for all of them. This is, while understandable, a huge pain in many instances where you need to move a file from one computer to another. Many times you are restricted by the specific programs either computer is running, and this is never more frustrating than with text files. Thankfully, with the evolution of the internet, tons of programs have come into play that can help you save frustration and get your files converted.
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I recently wrote about Zamzar.com for another article, and I have only one thing to say about it: if you want a free .pdf to Word
converter for Mac, look no further. Zamzar does all sorts of conversion, from text files to audio files to video files, and they do it all for free. If this seems too good to be true, know that they will even convert your PDFs and Word files without trouble. Usually, if it sounds too good to be true it is. In Zamzar's case, miracles do seem to happen. The only problem is that this will only work if the PDF is Word-compatible, and as we'll see later, you need much more expensive equipment to deal with non compatible files.
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Whenever you see "Pro" attached to a word, it usually means you'll have to pay a hefty price, and the case with ReadIRIS is no different. However, ReadIRIS is the only truly reliable program out there that can convert non Word-compatible PDFs into editable texts on the click of a button, and the way it happens is quite remarkable. ReadIRIS uses optical sensors to detect words on a PDF page and then converts those words into a text document. This means that you can not only convert regular PDFs, but you can also take a picture of some text, scan it into ReadIRIS, and then it will convert it into something you can edit. It even recognizes other languages as well. This is very impressive software, but don't think it lets you off easy as far as price goes: The full version of the software will run you $129 dollars, plus shipping for the disk. Either way, it's certainly worth a look if you think you'll be converting PDFs to Word documents often.
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The Bad News
As nice as it would be to have a bunch of free PDF to Word converters for Mac, the fact of the matter is that there aren't any. Recognizing words on a piece of paper, then converting them into editable text is a very detailed and advanced process, so developing programs that can do this is rather expensive. To cover the cost, they have to charge you (the consumer), and therefore we get projects like ReadIRIS. But hey, if you come across any free Mac software to convert pdf to word, post it in the comments and I'll be sure to add it to a later article.
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1. Image Reference (ReadIRIS Pro): http://www.localcooling.com/static/gallery/readiris_pro_mac-27065-1.jpeg
2. Image Reference (Zamzar): Screenshot taken by the author
3. Information Reference: All information comes from past experience and personal knowledge of the author.