Before we look into how to convert a PDF file to HTML, let us take a quick look at what these terms mean. PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format, a proprietary file format developed by Adobe Systems. Files in this format have a .pdf extension. This format makes two-dimensional documents portable – a PDF will look the same regardless of the hardware or Operating System. PDF is very popular in desktop publishing. Reading PDF files is facilitated by Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available as a free download from Adobe Systems. Creating PDF documents may require you to buy the software from the makers.
HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and the files have a .html or a .htm extension. HTML is a language for describing the structure, semantics and the appearance of a document. HTML is mainly used to render web pages in browsers like Internet Explorer and Mozilla. The popularity of HTML can be attributed to the World Wide Web which has millions of web pages residing in servers and transferred whenever a surfer requests a page.
If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can still view PDF files as HTML pages as every computer comes with a web browser capable of handling HTML files.
There are many software packages available today that allow you to convert PDF files to HTML. One easy way to convert PDF documents to HTML is though the Adobe Systems website – You need to have the PDF file uploaded to a website as the URL of the PDF file is required for conversion. Once the file is converted it is displayed in your web browser.
Another way to convert PDF documents to HTML is to locate a good freeware, shareware or commercial software package to do the conversion for you. The problem with freeware or shareware conversion tools may be the inclusion of advertisements in the resulting HTML file or a restriction on the number of pages that can be converted.
Most converters either do a straight PDF to HTML conversion or convert the PDF document to an intermediate format like MS-word format or Rich Text Format (RTF) and then convert to HTML.
Some converters extract the text alone from the PDF documents and return it to you as a text file. In this case, if you know how to use HTML, you can edit this text file using notepad and add the required html tags and save the file with a .html extension. This will allow you to view the contents as a web page but there may be considerable conversion loss.