Although PDF is primarily intended as an archive format, Acrobat users often want to take passages of text in a PDF and reuse them in a word processor or in email.
For example, you may wish to cite part of an important court decision in a brief.
Copy Text From an Image or Scanned pdf files in Easy Steps
One frustration is that text copied from a PDF may have hard line endings. Depending on how the PDF was created, each line may have a paragraph return at the end.
One workaround is to use Acrobat Standard or Professional which can save PDFs to editable formats such as text files, rich text files and Word. In doing so, the hard line endings are generally eliminated.
Acrobat 8 simplifies the process somewhat by offering a new Export button in the Acrobat toolbar:. However, this workflow means saving out the file, finding the correct passage in the Word file, then copying that to your working document.
Pasted list: Use VBA to format the list
Tagged or accessible PDFs have structure that allows screen reading software used by the visually impaired to properly traverse complex documents.
One benefit for every Acrobat user is that tagged PDFs also contain information about where paragraphs start and stop.
For more background information on tags, read my Understanding Tags article. Acrobat will add tags to the document and open a Recognition Report which offers useful information about tagging:.
Copy a data table from PDF into Excel
Generally speaking, Acrobat does a pretty good job of adding tags to indicate paragraphs, so I just close the Recognition Report window. Click the Make Accessible option in the Scan window.
Acrobat Standard and Professional can use optical character recognition OCR to make text selectable on these pages. You can learn more in my article on Batch OCR. For this reason, I always recommend using the button or menu item if it is available in your application.
PDFs are not born equal
I mention this not to disparage other products but to encourage you to ask for this feature from your vendors. That will make PDFs a lot more useful to all of us.
I am still having a problem when I need to quote from a transcript into a word processing document. In a transcript, each line is numbered on the left.
When I select a couple of lines of text, with the numbers, and then paste it, the pasted material behaves as if it were columns. In other words, it pastes the line numbers, one to a line, and then below the lines with the line numbers, it pastes the lines of text. It takes a long time to clean up. Is there a way to make it read straignt across? Then, either copy the text to the clipboard or with the text selected , right-click and choose Save Selection As.
Acrobat 8 simplifies the process somewhat by offering a new Export button in the Acrobat toolbar: However, this workflow means saving out the file, finding the correct passage in the Word file, then copying that to your working document. Fortunately, there is an easy way to eliminate hard line endings when copying text from a PDF. Save your document and your ready to cut and paste clean text that reflows properly! Creating tagged, accessible documents should be a best practice for everyone.
May 24, at pm.
Fixing Text Reflow Issues when you Copy and Paste Text from PDFs
Virginia Hench says:. July 5, at pm. It would be much appreciated. Thanks, Virginia.
Rick Borstein says:. August 5, at pm. All rights reserved.