How To Convert PDF To OCR Searchable

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How To Convert PDF To OCR Searchable

Overview of Converting PDF to OCR Searchable

Converting a PDF to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) searchable format is the process of transforming non-searchable documents, such as scanned images, into searchable text. This allows you to search, copy, and edit text within the PDF document. OCR technology analyzes the shapes of letters and numbers in an image and converts them into encoded text that can be recognized and manipulated by a computer.

Benefits of Making a PDF OCR Searchable

  • Searchability: You can quickly find information within the document using keyword searches, saving time and increasing productivity.
  • Accessibility: Text-to-speech programs can read OCR-processed text aloud, making documents more accessible to individuals with visual impairments.
  • Editing and Extraction: Once a PDF is OCR searchable, you can edit the document’s text or extract information to use in other applications.
  • Digital Archiving: OCR makes it easier to archive documents in digital libraries, as the content becomes searchable and indexable.

How to Convert a PDF to OCR Searchable Format

To convert a PDF file to an OCR searchable format, follow these structured steps:


Step 1: Choose an OCR Conversion Tool

Select an OCR software or online service. Popular options include Adobe Acrobat DC, ABBYY FineReader, and online services like Smallpdf or ILovePDF.

Step 2: Open Your PDF Document

Launch the OCR software and open the PDF file you wish to convert. In most cases, this can be done by clicking on ‘File’ then ‘Open’ and browsing for your document.

Step 3: Apply OCR to the PDF

Look for the ‘OCR’ or ‘Recognize Text’ function in your chosen software. This may be under an ‘Edit,’ ‘Tools,’ or ‘Document’ menu. Select the option to recognize text in your document.

Step 4: Configure OCR Settings

Choose the language of your document and select any other preferences such as resolution and output settings if available. Some tools allow you to choose whether you want to recognize text on all pages or only specific pages.

Step 5: Start the OCR Process

Initiate the OCR process by clicking on the ‘Start’, ‘Recognize’, or equivalent button. The software will scan and convert the text within the images into searchable text layers over your PDF.

Step 6: Review and Edit if Necessary

After OCR is complete, review the document for accuracy. Some software allows you to correct any mistakes that may have occurred during the recognition process.

Step 7: Save Your Searchable PDF

Once you are satisfied with the results, save your newly searchable PDF. Use ‘Save As’ to create a new document or overwrite the existing file if you prefer.


By following these steps, you will be able to convert non-searchable PDF documents into fully searchable files, unlocking the full potential of your digital documents for easier access and management.

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