How To Maintain Formatting And Links When Converting Word To PDF

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When converting a Word document to PDF, it’s crucial to preserve the formatting and links to ensure the document retains its intended structure and functionality.   

This article will guide you through converting Word to PDF while maintaining formatting and links using various methods and best practices.   

Whether using Microsoft Word’s built-in options, online conversion tools, or dedicated PDF software like Foxit, following these steps will help you achieve accurate results without compromising your document’s visual appeal or hyperlinks.   

Preparing the Word Document  

Before converting the Word document to PDF, it’s essential to take some preparatory steps to optimize the conversion process. These steps include the following:  

  • Use styles and formatting consistently: Apply consistent formatting throughout the document using headings, paragraphs, and lists. It helps maintain the visual consistency and hierarchy of the content during the conversion.  
  • Verify and update hyperlinks: Check all hyperlinks in your Word document to ensure they’re accurate and functional. Update any broken or outdated links to avoid issues in the converted PDF.  
  • Remove unnecessary formatting or objects: Eliminate any unnecessary formatting elements, such as excessive font styles, excessive tables, or other objects that might not convert properly to PDF. Simplifying the document improves conversion accuracy and reduces the chances of formatting discrepancies.  

Converting Word to PDF  

You have a few options for converting Word to PDF while maintaining formatting and links.  

Microsoft Word’s “Save As” or “Export” feature lets you directly save or export the document as a PDF. This built-in option usually preserves formatting and links effectively.  

Another option is to use various online platforms that offer Word to PDF conversion services. Upload your Word document to these platforms, and they will convert it to PDF while attempting to retain the formatting and links.  

Furthermore, dedicated PDF conversions software like Adobe Acrobat and Foxit provides advanced options for preserving formatting and links accurately. Adobe Acrobat is widely used for creating and manipulating PDF files and offers robust conversion features.   

On the other hand, Foxit is a reliable PDF software that seamlessly converts Word documents to PDF while maintaining formatting and links. Simply open the Word document in Foxit and choose the “Save as PDF” option.  

These options give you flexibility in choosing the best method for your needs when converting Word to PDF while preserving formatting and links.  

Best Practices for Formatting Preservation  

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To ensure the best preservation of formatting during the conversion process, consider the following practices:  

  • Choosing the appropriate PDF format  

Choosing the appropriate PDF format is crucial. If you require long-term document archiving, opt for the PDF/A format, as it guarantees the long-lasting preservation of fonts, images, and layout integrity.  

For documents intended for professional printing, such as brochures or posters, the PDF/X format is recommended. This format maintains color consistency and ensures proper font embedding. However, if your document needs to meet accessibility standards, consider using the PDF/UA format because it allows adequate access to the content for people with disabilities.  

  • Selecting compatible fonts  

When selecting compatible fonts, there are a few things to remember. Embedding fonts in the PDF is important for maintaining consistent formatting. By embedding the fonts in the Word document, you ensure that the PDF displays correctly even if the recipient still needs to install the specific fonts.   

Using standard fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri is also advisable whenever possible. These fonts are widely available and help reduce the chances of formatting issues during conversion.  

  • Handling complex layouts and images  

Handling complex layouts and images requires attention to detail. Adjusting the page size and orientation is necessary if your Word document has a non-standard setting. This adjustment ensures that the resulting PDF doesn’t have any layout discrepancies.   

Optimizing image resolution and compression is important to balance quality and file size. High-resolution images can significantly increase the PDF’s file size, so resizing and compressing images appropriately is essential.  

Ensuring Link Functionality in PDF   

Verifying hyperlinks before conversion is important to preserve link functionality in the converted PDF. Test all links within the Word document to confirm their functionality and lead them to the intended destinations. It would help if you fixed any broken or incorrect links beforehand.   

Most methods will automatically convert URL hyperlinks to clickable links in the resulting PDF during the conversion process. Double-check these links to ensure they work as expected.   

Additional steps may be necessary to preserve their functionality for internal document links, such as table of contents or cross-references. Consult the documentation or help resources of your chosen conversion method for guidance.  


Preserving formatting and links when converting a Word document to PDF is essential to maintain the document’s visual appeal and functionality. Following the preparatory steps and using appropriate conversion methods and best practices, you can ensure accurate results that retain the original formatting and active links.   

Whether you choose built-in conversion options, online tools, or dedicated software like Foxit, these guidelines will help you create PDFs that faithfully represent your Word documents.


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