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How to Convert Word to PDF [For Lawyers]

May 13, 2024
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As legal practitioners, the need to exchange various documents, from briefs to contracts, in PDF format is paramount. However, the process of converting these files might seem daunting. Don’t worry. This article is your guiding light in navigating the intricate journey of Word to PDF conversion. Let's delve into the intricacies of this essential skill.

PDF as a Better Choice for Legal Files

In today's digital legal landscape, PDFs (Portable Document Files) reign supreme. While other file formats exist, PDFs offer distinct advantages that make them the preferred choice for lawyers and legal teams. Here's why:

1. Searchable Text:

Searchable Text


Imagine a lengthy contract – crucial information might be buried within pages of text. Courts often require searchable PDFs to facilitate efficient case review. If you simply print a document and scan it to PDF, the text becomes an image and cannot be searched. This can be a major hurdle during litigation.

For instance, a recent case (reference withheld to protect privacy) involved a dispute over a specific clause in a lengthy contract. The opposing party submitted a scanned PDF where the clause could not be searched electronically. This wasted valuable time for the judge and requesting party, who had to locate the clause manually.

To avoid such issues, it's crucial to create PDFs from the original editable source files (e.g., Word documents) whenever possible. This ensures the text remains searchable within the PDF, allowing for efficient navigation and retrieval of information.

2. E-filing Compatibility:

E-filing, the electronic submission of court documents, has become commonplace. Most government legal forms are exclusively available in PDF format. This ensures consistency and avoids compatibility issues across different computer systems.

For example, let's say you need to file a motion to dismiss with the local court. The court website likely provides the motion form only in PDF format. Downloading and using this format guarantees that your filing will be compatible with the court's electronic filing system, preventing delays or rejections.

3. Universal Compatibility:

Circulating legal documents frequently occurs – between lawyers, clients, and the courts. PDFs offer a significant advantage in this scenario. Unlike some proprietary file formats that require specific software to open, PDFs are universally recognized by most computers and operating systems.

Imagine you need to send a complex legal brief to your client for review. Sending a PDF ensures they can open and view the document on virtually any device without needing additional software. This eliminates compatibility headaches and keeps the communication process flowing smoothly.

By utilizing PDFs for legal documents, you ensure searchability, e-filing compatibility, and universal accessibility – all essential factors for efficient and successful legal practice.

How to Convert Word to PDF 

Convert Word to PDF


Having established the clear benefits of PDFs for legal documents, let's explore how to effortlessly convert your Word files into this universally compatible format.

The easiest way: click Save As and choose the file type of PDF

Most users of Microsoft Word on Windows are in luck! Converting your legal documents (contracts, pleadings, etc.) to searchable PDFs is a breeze. Here's how:

Step 1: Open your Word document containing the legal file.

Open Word document


Step 2: Navigate to the menu at the top left corner.

the menu


Step 3: Select "Save As" from the dropdown menu.

Select "Save As"


Step 4: In the "Save as type" window, choose "PDF (*.pdf)".

choose "PDF (*.pdf)"


This simple process creates a searchable PDF directly from your Word document. The text within the PDF will be fully accessible for searching and highlighting, just like in the original Word file.

Use the function of Export to PDF

While the "Save As" method reigns supreme in Microsoft Word, users of WPS Office have a slightly different approach. Here's how to convert your thesis or dissertation (or any other Word document) to a searchable PDF using WPS Office:

Step 1: Open your Word document in WPS Office.

Step 2: Click on the menu at the top left of the window.

Step 3: Locate the "Export to PDF" option

the "Export to PDF" option


Step 4: Select "Export to PDF"

the "Export to PDF" option


This process, similar to the "Save As" method in Word, creates a searchable PDF from your WPS Office document.

Why Consider WPS Office?

While Microsoft Word remains a dominant player, WPS Office offers a compelling alternative, especially for those seeking a free or affordable office suite. If you're already comfortable with the WPS Office interface and features, its "Export to PDF" functionality provides a seamless way to convert your legal documents, theses, dissertations, or any other Word file into a searchable PDF format.

How WPS AI Can Contribute to Legally Appropriate Documents

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Lawyers spend countless hours crafting documents that adhere to strict legal requirements. While their expertise lies in legal matters, the editing and formatting process can be time-consuming. Here's where WPS AI steps in as a valuable partner, ensuring your documents are not only legally sound but also polished and professional.

Beyond Grammar Perfection: WPS AI Ensures Legal Clarity

While a typo here or there might seem insignificant, errors in legal documents can have serious consequences. WPS AI goes beyond basic grammar and spell check, offering features specifically tailored to legal writing:

  • Precision Editing: Focus on legal terminology. WPS AI can be trained on legal documents and specific case law, identifying and suggesting corrections for legal jargon or phrasing inconsistencies that might raise red flags.

For example, imagine you're drafting a contract that uses the term "force majeure" incorrectly. WPS AI, equipped with a legal knowledge base, can flag this and suggest the precise legal definition to ensure clarity and avoid potential disputes.

  • Clarity Check: WPS AI can analyze your legal documents for convoluted sentence structure or ambiguous language. It can suggest alternative phrasing to enhance readability and ensure the legal intent is crystal clear.

Imagine a clause in a contract that states, "In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the agreement may be terminated at the discretion of either party." WPS AI might suggest revising this to "This agreement may be terminated by either party upon the occurrence of a force majeure event, as defined herein." This revision provides a clearer and more legally sound definition of the termination clause.

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WPS AI: A Multilingual Ally

WPS AI icon


The legal world doesn't operate solely within one language. WPS AI's translation capabilities can be invaluable for lawyers working with international clients or navigating legal documents in foreign languages.

For instance, imagine you need to review a contract drafted in Spanish for a client. WPS AI can translate the document into English while preserving legal terminology and ensuring the translated version accurately reflects the original intent.

By leveraging WPS AI's grammar and legal editing features, clarity checks, and multilingual translation capabilities, lawyers can streamline their document creation process, confidently produce clear, concise, and legally compliant documents, and dedicate more time to the strategic aspects of their cases.

Streamline Your Work with WPS Office

WPS Office offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to empower lawyers and legal teams, saving them valuable time and effort. Here's how:

Unlocking Searchable PDFs: The Power of OCR

Imagine receiving a scanned legal document in PDF format – the text is just an image, making searching a nightmare. WPS Office comes to the rescue with its built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology  Here's how a lawyer can leverage OCR:

Step 1: Open the scanned PDF document in WPS Office.

Step 2: Navigate to the "Convert" tab and select "OCR."

select "OCR."


Step 3: Choose the appropriate language for the document's text.

Step 4: Click "Start" to initiate the OCR process.

WPS Office will transform the scanned image into a searchable PDF, allowing the lawyer to find specific information quickly and efficiently.

Ready-Made Legal Templates: A Time-Saving Advantage

WPS Office understands the time pressures lawyers face. To streamline document creation, it offers a vast library of legal templates https://template.wps.com/. These templates cover various legal documents, such as wills, contracts, and pleadings.

the WPS Template website


For instance, a lawyer drafting a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) can simply choose the pre-designed NDA template from the library. This eliminates the need to start from scratch, saving them significant time and ensuring a solid foundation for the document.

Unlimited Conversions and Batch Processing

Unlike many free Word-to-PDF converters that impose daily conversion limits, WPS Office allows for unlimited conversions. This is crucial for lawyers who frequently need to convert legal documents between formats.

Furthermore, the premium version of WPS Office offers a powerful batch PDF export function. Imagine you have a folder filled with legal forms in Word format. With this feature, the lawyer can select all the files at once and convert them to PDFs in a single step, maximizing efficiency.

Example: Exporting a Legal Form from Word to PDF

Let's say you have a completed legal form in Microsoft Word, such as a real estate disclosure form. Here's how to convert it to a searchable PDF using WPS Office:

Step 1: Open the legal form in WPS Office.

Step 2: Click on the "File" tab.

Step 3: Select "Save As" from the dropdown menu.

Select "Save As"


Step 4: In the "Save as type" window, choose "PDF (*.pdf)".

the "Save as type" window


Step 5: Click "Save."

This simple process creates a searchable PDF copy of your legal form within WPS Office. Now, you can share this PDF with your client or colleagues, confident that the text can be easily searched and referenced.

By leveraging the OCR capabilities, legal templates, unlimited conversions, and batch processing features of WPS Office, lawyers can significantly streamline their workflows, dedicate more time to their clients' needs, and focus on achieving the best possible outcomes.

FAQs about Converting Word to PDF   

Q1. How can I convert Word to PDF with controlled access?

To convert Word to PDF with controlled access, ensuring that only authorized individuals can view or edit the document, you can utilize the advanced settings available in WPS Office. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open your Word document in WPS Office.

Step 2: Navigate to the "Save As" or "Export" option, depending on your version of WPS Office.

Step 3: In the save/export dialog box, look for an option labeled "Permission setting" or "Security options."

"Security options"


Step 4: Click on this option to access settings for controlling access to the PDF.

Step 5: Here, you can customize permissions such as restricting printing, copying text, or editing the document.

Step 6: Once you've configured the desired access controls, proceed to save/export the document as a PDF.

By applying controlled access settings during the conversion process, you can ensure that your PDF document remains secure and compliant with privacy regulations.

Q2. Why was I unable to save Word as PDF?

There could be a few reasons why you can't save your Word document as a PDF:

  • Outdated software: Ensure you have the latest updates for Microsoft Word. Outdated versions might lack the PDF saving functionality.

  • File corruption: If the Word document itself is corrupted, it might cause saving issues. Try opening the document in a different program or creating a new document and copying the content.

  • Add-in interference: Sometimes, add-ins installed in Word can interfere with its functionalities. Try temporarily disabling any add-ins and see if the saving issue resolves.

If none of these solutions work, consider using a free online Word-to-PDF converter. However, be cautious about uploading sensitive documents and ensure the converter has proper security measures.

Summary

In summary, mastering the art of Word to PDF conversion is indispensable for legal professionals. With WPS Office's user-friendly interface, AI capabilities, and array of features, lawyers can streamline their workflows and ensure document compliance with ease. Embrace efficiency, embrace WPS Office. Experience the transformation today.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.