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I am aware of solutions that allow one to extract text from a pdf file. Are there any practical solutions on the Mac to extract rich text and layout from a PDF, or somehow convert a PDF into some editable format without losing all formatting, and without multi-column layouts ending up with the text from each column interwoven?

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That's pretty much the Holy Grail you're talking about. As far as I know, you probably won't find a perfect solution--just something sort of close to it. PDF's are notoriously difficult to convert properly, let alone perfectly. – Dante Oct 11 '11 at 0:31
Any approximation of accurate is better than doing it all by hand. – Daniel Oct 11 '11 at 0:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you just want to edit the content of the PDF, Adobe Acrobat (full version) can do that. It can change/add/delete text, images, objects, etc.

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D'oh. I hadn't even thought of that route. Good call. So obvious, and yet I was so oblivious. – Daniel Oct 11 '11 at 12:51

A good converting site is Not perfect, but quite good!

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What does good and perfect mean in this context, what is your experience with the service? – patrix Oct 11 '11 at 17:51
zamzar didn't work for my converting from a PDF to HTML, but it did successfully convert (the same PDF) to DOCX. – Daryl Spitzer Oct 1 '12 at 21:00

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