Review: deskUNPDF for Mac 2.0

Convert PDF files into Word and other documents easily. (May 14th, 2008)

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Product Manufacturer: Docudesk

Price: $69.95 US

The Good

  • Fast and easy. Less expensive than other options. Downloadable trial version available. Good help. There is also a PC version.

The Bad

  • Couldn’t drag and drop files on Dock icon. Some files may work better than others. You may have to do a little touch up on heavily formatted documents.

DeskUNPDF for Mac from Docudesk is a very easy to use utility that converts Adobe PDF files into a modifiable form. You can edit, rearrange, add, or delete text, plus place tabular data into Excel spread sheets. You can also export the imbedded graphics.

You can also take PDFs that contain spreadsheet and database data and extract that data as Coma Separated Values (CSV) and import it into an Excel spreadsheet. You can also import the information into a database.

Simple to Use

In most cases, all you need to do is open deskUNPDF, click on the Open icon in the menu bar, and select the PDF document you want to modify. After you locate the desired document, click on the desired output radio button, and the Convert icon. deskUNPDF's preview window gives you a preview each converted page. The Conversion Manager lets you monitor the progress of your files and gives you an opportunity to view your converted pages. deskUNPDF will not bypass any original security, so a protected PDF cannot be converted.

UNPDF screen

DeskUNPDF Work Area

One word of caution: When you press the Open icon the default Open dialog shows all readable documents, which includes system folders that you should never open, alter, or otherwise work with in any situation. deskUNPDF does not seem to open those folders, but normally you can't see them at all.

Installation includes a checkbox for Microsoft Office 2004 Integration that is not checked by default. You must choose the Customize button to turn on this feature, which installs a .dot template that contains a macro so you can choose a PDF, convert it with deskUNPDF, and then open it inside Word. Installation requires a restart. This provides easy access to PDF conversion from your contextual menu


deskUNPDF opens and converts a single file or folder of PDF documents. deskUNPDF converts PDF files to DOC, XLS, graphic formats (.bmp, .jpg, and .tif), Open Office's .odt, as well as HTML, XHTML, data, and TXT formats. Text output can be used in a number of text readers, including those used in hand held devices.

It can also convert a range of pages, from page 4 to page 10, for example, the current page, or the entire document. You can also drag and drop or control click on pages from the PDF thumbnail window. This is helpful if you are doing research or picking pages out of a user's guide.

If you do presentations, you can create a Scalable Vector Graphic from text or graphics within a PDF. This will give a clear, sharp image when projected onto a screen.


I took a 36 page PDF and converted it into a Word DOC. It retained the two-column format, including graphic placement, and styled text. The text was editable and all the links were clickable. Other documents with a lot of graphics and text didn't come out as well. You may have to spend a minute or two reformatting your document. Unfortunately, books that have been scanned and saved in the PDF format will not come out as editable text.

I also took a FileMaker Pro database, printed it to a PDF, converted it with deskUNPDF into an Excel file and everything came out correctly.

I saved a Google search page as a PDF, opened it in deskUNPDF, and converted it as an HTML document. I opened the HTML document in Safari and was able to click on the links.

I was not able to open files through the dock icon, but control clicking on a PDF worked fine in Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). It automatically launches Word, Excel, or OpenOffice, depending on the option you choose.

UNPDF screen

DeskUNPDF Contextual Menu


If you work frequently with Adobe PDF formatted documents, including ones you create in Preview, deskUNPDF may be well worth your dollars. A 5-user pack is $315, while a 10-user pack is $589.00 and this savings may be just what your office needs if PDF conversion is part of the daily routine. It is a great product for both office and home use. You can download a trial version from the site.

by Rick Curran and ilene Hoffman


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