Adobe Acrobat TechTip #1: How to OCR a PDF Document

by | Dec 5, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Look at any attorney’s computer screen and you will most likely see one of two applications open, Microsoft Word or a PDF application like Adobe Acrobat. Often, attorneys get electronic faxes or attachments within emails where the information must be transcribed or copied. Due to the nature of the scanned attachment or fax, your not able to directly copy the document text and paste it into a usable format within Word. What we have here is a tutorial on how to use the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) function within Adobe Acrobat X Pro. With this information you will be able to copy text from a PDF file and paste it into Word, Outlook, or whatever you like. The trick is getting Acrobat to see the PDF character text.


Step 1

On the top left, click View>Tools>Recognize Text


Step 2

A bar will show up on the Right Side, Click “Aa In this File.” A Recognize Text box will appear, tick the button that you want. If you want all the pages click “All pages.” If there is only one page in the document like in this example, only “Current Page” will be available. Once done click the OK button.


Step 3

You will notice on the bottom right of your screen that a progress bar will appear once hitting OK. If your document is large, this OCR conversion will take longer than usual which is just a few seconds. I have seen some conversions take 5 whole minutes.


Step 4

At this point you are done, you will notice that you can now highlight text within the PDF, copy it and then paste it, turning this PDF into a workable document.


Please keep in mind that this does not always find every character within your document. If the fax transmission is very low quality, you may have a hard time OCR-ing a document. With this method, you should be able to get data out of most PDF files easily.


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