A Student Guide to Turnitin and PDFs

So, you’ve finally finished your assignment and it’s time to press the submit button on Turnitin. You may want to submit your assignment as a PDF – and if so, we’ve got the perfect guide for you.

Continue reading to find out more about Turnitin, and how to submit a Word document as a PDF.

Does Turnitin Accept PDF?

Turnitin does accept PDF documents, but the file must contain text. The system will not accept any of the following:


  • PDF image files.
  • Portfolios.
  • Forms.
  • Files without highlightable text (for example, a scanned file like an image).
  • Documents that contain multiple files.
  • Files created with software other than Adobe Acrobat.


To successfully submit a Turnitin PDF or document, you’ll want to make sure that your file meets the following requirements:


  • Is smaller than 100MB.
  • Contains at least 20 words (unless the assignment instructions request otherwise).
  • Has fewer than 800 pages (.xls/.xlsx and .csv files must contain less than 450 pages).

Can Turnitin Detect Plagiarism From a PDF?

Turnitin detects similarity rather than plagiarism. A Similarity Report is produced to provide your teachers and markers with the information they need to make the right judgements on assignments.


It will compare how similar your work is to other outside sources. These include:


  • Internet sources.
  • Academic papers.
  • Other student papers.


Your professor or school might set your assignments to only allow documents that Turnitin can inspect for similarity. This means that the software will only accept files that can generate Similarity Reports.

Accepted files include:


  • Portable Document Format (PDF).
  • Microsoft Word (DOC and DOCX).
  • Adobe PostScript.
  • Google Docs via Google Drive.
  • Hangul (HWP and HWPX).
  • PowerPoint (PPTX).
  • Corel WordPerfect.
  • HTML.
  • Adobe PostScript.
  • Plain text (TXT).
  • Rich Text Format (RTF).
  • OpenOffice (ODT).

The Benefits of Using PDF for Your Assignments.

Submitting your assignments as PDFs can save you a lot of headaches. These handy little files are great for printing, sending, and combining multiple formats into one.

For many students, it’s a toss-up between PDF or Word documents when submitting work to Turnitin. Word documents are a popular choice, but there are plenty of benefits to making a PDF submission.

For example:

  • You can combine multiple file formats.
  • The document formatting is preserved.
  • They’re ideal for receiving feedback – comments and highlights can be made with the free Adobe online PDF Editor.
  • Files are available for everyone to access (with no subscription needed).
  • The compressed files are easy to send.
  • Images, graphics, or videos can be easily added.
  • You get additional security and password protection features.


When deciding which file type to upload to Turnitin – whether it’s Word, PDF, or any other type of document – always refer to your teacher’s submission instructions. This way, you guarantee that you’ve made the right choice.

How to Submit a Word Document as a PDF in Turnitin.

Want to submit a Word document as a PDF on Turnitin? You may need to start by converting your Word doc into a PDF file. Thankfully, it’s easy with the Adobe Acrobat convertor tool – just follow these simple steps:


  1. Open the free Adobe Word to PDF converter in your browser.
  1. Click ‘Select a file’ and choose your file from the dialogue box. Alternatively, you can drag and drop your Word file into the dotted box.
  2. Your Word file will then automatically convert to a PDF. You’ll then be able to download your new PDF file for free.

Do note, if you’re converting multiple files, you will need to sign in with an Adobe account to download and share them. Don’t worry, this is quick, easy, and completely free.


You can also change your submission files from Word to PDF directly in your Word document. Go to the ‘File’ tab and select ‘Save As’. Click ‘Browse’ and then from the ‘Save as type’ drop-down menu, choose ‘PDF’. Finally, save your new PDF file – ready to submit on Turnitin.

Explore Adobe’s diverse collection of online tools – create, convert, and edit with ease.

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