Automator for converting PDF to RTF on Mac OSX (download)

I noticed a few people around the web asking how to convert PDFs into RTF (rich text) files, a more useful, accessible format if you are doing a lot of copying and pasting etc. So I’ve made a really simple Automator app that will create a RTF on your desktop of any PDF you drop onto it (so I also keep that on my desktop, but it might work from the dock too).

Really quick post so here are the settings:

Download: Automator – Extract PDF to RTF on desktop

Disclaimer: I’m not offering any support here, I don’t know OSX well enough to claim that this is secure or anything like that!

By Tom Bush

Hi, my name is Tom Bush and this is my site. Welcome :)

2 replies on “Automator for converting PDF to RTF on Mac OSX (download)”

Hello Tom,

I found you as the last post on

I have a question about your disclaimer, where you mention “secure”.

“Disclaimer: I’m not offering any support here, I don’t know OSX well enough to claim that this is secure or anything like that!”

Do you mean secure as in my computer being vulnerable to hacking during the download process, or when I’m using the program? Or do you mean that you can’t guarantee the workability of your Automator App when it’s running on my OS X, or on my Mac?

About Acrobat, I have version but what I got was a window saying ‘Mandatory update to’. I pressed the download button but immediately got a message, ‘Error while downloading, error #16820. I haven’t looked into this any further. My son gave me this computer and I’ve never used the Acrobat

As for the automator on the, I got results similar to others. I got a little automator icon, but when I clicked on him in my dock, he disappeared—no cigar.

Please give me clarification on the ‘Secure’ issue. I’d like to try your program.

Oh. Here’s another thing. If you go to you can get a word doc from a puff online. The company is Nitro. I’ve had good results, except for things like PDFs that have two columns. In that case, when I got in touch with the company, they did it for me, which was nice. In addition, it won’t work for me in Firefox, only in Safari and that’s only because their ad covers the box where I’m to put the word identifiers, you know, the thing that’s there to show that I’m human.


Rafael Montserrat
San Francisco Bay Area, California

Hi Rafael

I can’t comment on the Acrobat issue I’m afraid, not sure about that!

Regarding the security, creating the Automator is as simple as the screenshot that I’ve included in the article, and I haven’t done anything extra, untoward or used any other code or otherwise in creating it. I highly doubt that there is anything bad going to happen, but I haven’t tested it on all platforms.

And regarding Automators in general, I think that you need to drag the file on to the Automator — there’s no graphical interface.

The Nitro site is pretty good, I tried it with a pretty tricky PDF and it worked well. Thanks for the heads up.

Thanks for the comment!

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