How to Convert a PDF to a Final Draft Document
By Andrew Meer
The screenwriting application Final Draft does not have the capability to import nor edit scripts saved as PDF files. It can, however, import PDF files that are already converted into the TXT (text) file format and then save them as FDX (Final Draft Document) files. To convert a PDF file to the TXT file format, you can use Microsoft Word 2013’s built-in PDF functionality. The PDF to TXT conversion process may result in certain formatting errors, which you must clean up before saving the file as an FDX file.
Open Word 2013, and then open the “File” menu. Click the “Open” side-tab, select “Computer,” and then use the “Browse” button to select the PDF file from your computer’s hard drive. Click “OK” when prompted to open the PDF file in Word 2013.
Open the “File” menu, and then click the “Save As” side-tab. Select “Computer,” and then select a location for the file that you are about to save. Use the pull-down menu next to “Save As Type," select the “Plain Text” option, and then click “Save.”
Open Final Draft, and then click the “Open” button under the Home tab. On the Open dialog box, click the “Files of Type” pull-down menu, and then select “Plain Text.” Select the TXT file that you converted from the PDF, and then click “Open.” When Final Draft prompts you to open the file either as a script or a text file, select “Script.”
Correct any formatting errors such as merged words or paragraphs. Once finished, click the “Save” button under the Home tab, select a location to save the file, and then click “Save.”
- If you do not have Word 2013 installed on your computer, you can use Adobe Reader, available as a free download from Adobe.com (see Resources), to convert a PDF file to the TXT format. After installing Adobe Reader, right-click the PDF file, click "Open With," and then select "Adobe Reader" to open the PDF file. Click the "File" menu, point to "Save as Other," and then click the "Text" option. Enter a file name, and then click "Save" to convert the PDF to the TXT format.
- Final Draft has a tool called Reformat that instantly resolves formatting issues within your script. To use it, highlight the affected area, then click the "Reformat" button under Tools. Select the appropriate action -- General, Scene Heading, Action, Character, etc. -- that you need to correct the errors.
As an ardent tech fan, Andrew Meer loves writing about the latest in computer hardware and software. Since 2006, he has worked as a level designer and programmer for various video game companies. Meer holds a Bachelor of Science in game and simulation programming from DeVry University, California.