Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.
Here’s a great question I got from a reader:
I have a lesson plan I created in MS Word and then converted to PDF so I could share with my grade level team (everyone doesn’t have Word). It took us a while to go through it–lots of changes–and when I tried to find the original document, it was nowhere to be found. I tried a few PDF converters, but they didn’t work well and I’d have to retype most of the lesson plan. Can you help?
This is an all-too-common problem for teachers. Much of our work is shared with others or updated year-to-year, but when we try to find that original document, it’s either misfiled, corrupted, or just plain lost. All we have left is the uneditable PDF which means a lot of retyping if we want to update it for the new school year. Converting from DOC to PDF format is easy and often native to the word processing program used so you’d think the reverse would be easy also, but that’s not true. Docs.Zone is a great solution for this problem. It’s intuitive, user-friendly, with a clean uncluttered interface and no download required. Their Optical Character Recognition programming will convert PDF to an OCR Word document quickly and effectively.
Here’s how it works:
- After you log in, click “PDF to Word” and select the file you want to convert.
- Once you’ve chosen the file, add more files or click Start.
- After the conversion, the files will show up in the ‘inbox’ section for six hours, and then are deleted.
Also available are bundling (combining multiple PDFs), web to PDF, and PDF to Excel or image.
By the way, if you want to convert from one media format to another, Online-Convert is a great option. You plug in the format your file is in and what you want it to become, upload the file, and they do the rest. I often need images in a different format (I still have a huge collection of .bmp files I share with students and very few programs will accept them). I end up going through all my image editors to see which one will save in the required format. Online-Convert is much simpler.
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.