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Law firms today receive a lot of PDFs electronically. Chances are, you’re going to want to search them for relevant words and phrases in order to find what your looking for. Sometimes PDFs you’re given aren’t searchable, but we can fix that. If faced with a PDF you can’t search, you can use OCR, optical character recognition, to find the text you’re looking for. To do so, you’ll need to be using Adobe Acrobat Pro version 9 or higher.

Copy the PDFs you want to make searchable into a new folder. Then, run Adobe Acrobat and select Create PDF Portfolio from the File menu. When prompted, select Add Existing Folder and locate the folder you just created. Acrobat will then create a Portfolio from your files.

Next, run the optical character recognition against the new Portfolio. Adobe Acrobat has a basic OCR tool that you can access from Document > OCR Text Recognition > Recognize Text in Multiple Files Using OCR. Then you’ll add your files with Add Files > Add Open Files. Save your output with a meaningful name, and let the OCR run (this may take some time if you’re working with larger documents).

While manually performing an OCR on each document to make them searchable is not fast, it’s easy, and cheap. It will also save time if your hit with a hundred page document. It should be said that document management system automatically OCR document incoming and outgoing for the benefit of the firm and firm clients. In addition to this, copier also perform this task automatically on scan. If you are not sure if your copier supports this, talk to your copier vendor. If your device does support this, make sure it’s turned on. OCR’ed document save law firms research time and money. Make the technology work for you!