Do you ever feel frustrated and confused because you can't search for specific text in your own PDF documents? PDF is a widely used file format that preserves the layout and formatting of the original document, but it also has some drawbacks. One of them is that if a PDF is generated from scanned images or documents, it is non-searchable, meaning you cannot search or copy the text you want from the PDF. This can be inconvenient for your work or studies, especially when you need to extract information from a large number of PDF files.
So, is there a way to make PDFs searchable? The answer is yes. This article will introduce you to six methods that allow you to make your PDF documents searchable text through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) or converting the PDF to a Word document. This way, you can easily find the content you need within the PDF.
A searchable PDF is created through OCR, allowing recognition and extraction of text from images or scanned documents. Key features include text recognition, making text selectable, enabling a search function within the PDF, and typically indexing the recognized text for faster and more efficient searches. This enhances the usability and accessibility of PDF documents, particularly when dealing with non-digital or scanned content.
Unable to search for specific words in your PDF? There are several possible reasons for it:
You can follow these steps to check if your PDF is text searchable:
Use the Search Function:
Making a PDF document searchable involves using OCR technology to recognize and extract text from images or scanned pages within the PDF. By using Adobe Acrobat, online OCR tools, or dedicated OCR software, you can make your PDF document searchable. Additionally, you can also convert the files into searchable formats such as Word. We'll introduce the methods in the following parts.
In this part, 3 offline & online tools are introduced on how to make searchable PDF files. Freely choose the one that suits you the most:
PDF Editor is a versatile and user-friendly PDF editing software that provides a wide range of features for creating, editing, converting, and managing PDF documents. It offers an intuitive interface, making it accessible for users with varying levels of expertise. You can easily create searchable PDF files using this tool.
This is how to make a PDF searchable in PDF Editor:
01Download and Launch the Tool
Begin by downloading and running PDF Editor on your PC to open the main window. Import your PDF file by selecting it and clicking "Open" in the main interface.
Once the file is successfully uploaded, the program will recognize the need for OCR. If prompted, click the "Perform OCR" link in the blue notification at the top of the page. If not, initiate OCR by clicking the "OCR" option on the toolbar.
If required, download the OCR component by clicking the "Download" button in the "OCR Component Download" window. After successfully adding the OCR component, navigate to the "Convert" tab, select "OCR" from the drop-down list, and click "Perform OCR" to access the OCR window.
03Create a Searchable PDF
In the OCR window, choose "Scan to searchable text in image" and click "OK" to initiate the PDF OCR process. Once complete, your PDF file will be searchable, allowing you to easily search its contents.
Adobe Acrobat DC is a comprehensive PDF tool that offers a range of features for managing and editing PDF documents. One notable capability is the ability to make PDFs searchable. This feature, known as OCR, allows users to convert scanned or image-based PDFs into searchable and editable text. With Adobe Acrobat DC, you can easily enhance PDFs, trigger OCR processes, and make your PDF documents searchable, enabling efficient text searches within the files.
This is how to make a PDF searchable in Adobe Acrobat DC:
1. Locate the "Tools" tab in Adobe Acrobat DC. And choose the "Scan & OCR" tool (or "Enhance Scans").
2. On the next screen, choose the "Select a file" option to import your file and hit "Start".
3. From the tool bar on the top choose the "Enhance" > "Scanned Document" options.
4. Select the page range you want to optimize. You can set the parameters in "Enhance Scanned PDF" settings according to your preferences by hitting the gear icon. Afterward, click "Enhance" to start optimizing your file.
5. Wait for the process to complete. The time it takes depends on the file's size.
6. When it gets done, you can view your file and check if it's searchable now.
You may slso need:
There are numerous online tools available for free that you can use to convert PDF to searchable PDF. These tools are simple and convenient, eliminating the need for you to spend time downloading and installing software. However, they also have their drawbacks: for security reasons, you should not upload confidential files; excessively large files are not suitable for this method as the upload and download times can be lengthy; in addition, many tools require a subscription to a Premium plan for batch conversion or other features.
For such methods, let's take iLovePDF as an example and explain how to use it to make a PDF searchable:
1. Visit the official website of iLovePDF at www.ilovepdf.com/ocr-pdf.
2. Click the "Select PDF file" button to upload your PDF file, or you can directly drag and drop the file.
3. Choose the language of your file. Then click the "OCR PDF" button to start processing the file. Once it's done, you can freely download your file and search for specific words within it.
There are plenty of tools you can utilize to convert PDFs into searchable formats such as Word. We've written some detailed guides on this topic >>
Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter is a comprehensive tool designed to transform PDF files into Microsoft Word format, preserving all elements such as images, text style, tables, graphics, formatting, hyperlinks, and layout. Widely preferred for PDF to Word conversions on Windows 10/11 and macOS, it stands out from other methods due to its advantageous feature: batch conversion support. Say goodbye to the hassle of converting one file at a time, as Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter enables you to convert up to 200 PDFs to Word simultaneously.
How to make PDF text searchable via Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter
01Begin by installing the software on your computer. Once installed, launch the program and opt for either the".Add File". or".Add Folde". buttons to import your files. Alternatively, you can simply drag & drop your files into the tool.
02Choose a specific mode for PDF file conversion: use the".Al". mode to convert all files, the".Curren". mode to convert only the files you are previewing, or the".Rang". mode to convert a specific range of PDF pages.
03Initiate the conversion process by clicking on the".Star". icon.
If you have only a few files to convert, you can directly use the pre-installed Microsoft Office on your Windows computer. The process is straightforward:
1. Open your PDF file in Microsoft Word by navigating to the "File" > "Open" > "Browse" options (or simply drag and drop).
2. A window will appear, informing you that Word will convert the PDF to a Word document. Click "OK" to confirm.
3. Now you can freely search within your document. If you wish to save the converted file, simply click on "File" > "Save As" options.
If Microsoft Word is not available on your computer, Google Docs is also a good option. The advantage of online tools is that you can use them anytime, anywhere, without relying on a specific device.
Here are the steps to make PDF text searchable via Google Docs:
1. Sign in to your email using a Chrome browser and click on "Drive" in Google Apps. In the Drive, click on "New folder" > "File upload."
2. Locate the uploaded PDF in your Drive, right-click on it, and open it with Google Docs. You can then freely search within the file.
3. Click on "File" at the top left, choose the "Download" option, and select "Microsoft Word (.docx)" from the listed file formats.
Due to specific reasons, you can't directly upload your PDF files to Google Docs. To learn about this, please read this guide>>How to Open a PDF in Google Docs [Multiple Useful Methods]
In this article, we have introduced six methods for you to transform your PDF documents into searchable text through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) or conversion. These methods include using online tools, PDF Editor, Microsoft Word, and Adobe Acrobat. You can choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences to enhance the usability and efficiency of your PDF documents. We hope this article proves helpful for you in better managing your PDF files. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section.