An easy way to do a PDF to Word conversion

logo_pdftoword Don’t you just hate it when, after you’ve spent quite a few hours on doing something, some smarty pipes up a suggestion which meant you’ve just lost those hours.

So it was with a 150+ page PDF to Microsoft Word conversion.  Finished it, and to be honest, it was fairly crappy as the Word document has complex tables like this:
Child protection career structure, yes I get to work on some amazing documents.

which is hard to capture when you go from PDF –> Word.  And after 80 pages, my care factor was starting to get low.

The smarty suggested PDF to Word.  PDF to Word is a website where you upload your PDF, and your converted Word document is mailed back to you.  My 156 page document was converted in minutes.


Ok, the downsides, or faults if you like, in the converted document?

  • the header and footers were not converted.
  • heading styles were not created.

But for FREE, it is a great utility.

If it’s free, how do they make money?  They sell PDF software, such as Nitro PDF Professional, which is about a 1/5 the price of Adobe Acrobat Professional.

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Remove hidden data from Microsoft Office documents.

I was sent a word document with "hidden data" in it.

"Hidden data" in Microsoft Word documents can be one of several bits of information, such as hidden data, change tracking, or even comments on the document.


Such as this example:
Microsoft Word document with hidden data displayed.

This problem isn’t just limited to Microsoft Word, oh no.  It shows up in Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint too.

The solution for:
Microsoft Office XP/2003?  Download the Microsoft Remove Hidden Data add-in, and use it.
Microsoft Office 2007?  You already have it.  The option can be found under the Office Pearl –> Prepare –> Inspect Document menu item.
Office 2007 Inspect Document Option

This post brought to you by the outside company who shared a comment-enabled document with me.

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The case of the broken Microsoft Word VBA application

It was a Microsoft Word (VBA) application written back in 2001.

Essentially what it does is:

  1. user selects a letter type.
  2. the user then enters some customer reference numbers.
  3. the VBA application does an Oracle database lookup to convert those customer reference numbers into names and postal addresses.
  4. which the VBA then uses to “mail merge” into whatever number of letters need to be sent out.

And it was broken.

I had a feeling that writing about patch management policy would come back to bite me (and it did).

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“Developing For Office – Options and Trade-Offs”

microsoft-office-logo According to Bruno Terkaly, you have three main choices:

  1. Traditional Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
    Dates back to all the way to the early nineties.
  2. Visual Studio Tools for Office.
    Really hit its stride and office 2007. It probably represents the best option moving forward today. It tries to be all things to all people.
  3. The COM Add-In is probably the most powerful, yet the most difficult option of the three.

I’ve borrowed the above words from Bruno.  You can read all about those options in his blog post.

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