Convert LaTeX to Microsoft Word

I create nearly all my documents in LaTeX, even documents that might be easier to create in Word. The reason is that even if a particular document would be easier to write in Word, my workflow is more efficient if everything is in LaTeX. LaTeX makes small, plain text files that work well with version control and searching, and I can edit them with the same editor I use for writing code and everything else I do.

Usually I send read-only documents to clients. They don’t know or care what program created the PDF I sent them. The fact that they cannot edit my reports is a feature, not a bug: if I’m going to sign off on something, I need to be sure that it doesn’t include any changes that someone else made that I’m unaware of.

But occasionally I do need to send clients a file they can edit, and this usually means Microsoft Word. Lawyers particularly want Word documents.

It’s possible to create a PDF using LaTeX and copy-and-paste the content into a Word document. This works, but you’ll have to redo all your formatting.

A better approach is to use Pandoc. The command

    pandoc foo.tex -o -s foo.docx

will convert the LaTeX file foo.tex directly to the Word document foo.docx. You may have to touch up the Word document a little, but it will retain more of the original formatting than if you when from LaTeX to Word via PDF.

You could wrap this in a script for convenience and so you don’t have to remember the pandoc syntax.


    $tex = $ARGV[0];
    ($doc = $tex) =~ s/\.tex$/.docx/;
    exec "pandoc $tex -o $doc";

You could save this to tex2doc and run

    tex2doc foo.tex

to produce foo.docx.

Update: The syntax when I wrote this post did not work when I revisited this today (2023-11-30) but instead gave several warnings.  What worked today was

    pandoc foo.tex --from latex --to docx > foo.docx

Unfortunately I don’t have the version number that I used when I first wrote this post. Today I was using pandoc version

3 thoughts on “Convert LaTeX to Microsoft Word

  1. For a moment there I thought “Pandoc? Org-mode exports directly to Word, after all, with a decent template feature to boot.”

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