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Trying to convert pdf to odt

asked 2019-09-24 00:53:26 +0200 gravatar image

updated 2019-09-24 19:03:26 +0200

I have ubuntu 16.04; LibreOffice version 5.1.6. I converted two documents using these directions: The third document would only convert to odg. no 'odt' was offered in the 'all formats' button during 'save as'. The times that it worked I don't remember having to click on the button that says 'all formats', but once I ran into trouble I clicked on 'all formats' at the 'save as' step. No 'odt' was offered.

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Read these guidelines and ask a good question. In particular: what exactly did you do to convert PDF to ODT?

gabix gravatar imagegabix ( 2019-09-24 08:51:01 +0200 )edit


No 'odt' was offered.

LibreOffice can only convert PDFs into drawings (odg). Text is outlined as single lines but not entire text paragrafs.


For better results use OCR programmes like Abbyy Finereader or Iris or (each of the apps on Windows). can also be used as web application but bear in mind that your document(s) have to be up-/downloaded (data privacy problem).


IMHO your information source publishes bullshit. The only method to open a PDF file as a Writer file is AFAIK if the PDF file was saved from Writer as a Hybrid-PDF (embedded PDF).

Grantler gravatar imageGrantler ( 2019-09-24 19:57:20 +0200 )edit

To open a PDF in Writer, you need to choose "PDF - Portable Document Format (Writer)" in the File Open dialog:

[image moved to the @erik's answer]

But I don't believe it would be useful.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2019-09-24 22:20:07 +0200 )edit

@Mike Kaganski: You continue to post answers (probably partial and unsatisfying ones) as comments. I would suggest you reconsider that.
It's not a crime to post an unsatisfying answer if there probably not is a generally satisfying one. That's the way Q&A works and the OQer and interested visitors can accept or vote up/down then.

Lupp gravatar imageLupp ( 2020-02-19 12:29:56 +0200 )edit

@Lupp: you are definitely right... sometimes I don't feel it's right to post something as an answer; sometimes I intend to gather some info to finally come with a better answer (but then forget),... and again: you are quite right.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2020-02-19 13:39:49 +0200 )edit

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answered 2020-02-19 12:15:39 +0200

erik gravatar image

updated 2020-02-19 13:12:57 +0200

To open a PDF in LibreOffice Writer, you need to choose "PDF - Portable Document Format (Writer)" in the File Open dialog:

image description

I copied this answer from a comment from @Mike Kaganski.

But the best I got was using pdftohtml and then open this file within oowriter (using the file open dialog). Then I saved it as odt, doc or docx.

pdftohtml is part of the poppler-utils package on Fedora Linux.

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After some comments were edited or deleted, and the main part of a former comment was moved to an answer by a different user, I may be a tiny bit confused.
-1- I think the remaining part of the original comment by @Mike Kaganski on the OQ should also be quoted here: "But I don't believe it would be useful.".
-2- The reason for what he is right, imo, is that the pdf is converted to shapes (of type TextBox) line by line and table cell by table cell. This is the way LibO already used for a long time when it only offered to open pdf in Draw. To move it nominally to Writer won't be a relevant enhancement.
-3- Those who actually are determined to convert the pdf content to fully editable text (distinguishing line breaks from paragraph breaks in specific) "inside LibO" (avoiding obscure online ...(more)

Lupp gravatar imageLupp ( 2020-02-19 12:58:14 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2019-09-24 00:53:26 +0200

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Last updated: Feb 19 '20