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Home / Blog / [Solved] Can’t Copy Text from PDF

[Solved] Can’t Copy Text from PDF

By Lena | Follow twitter | Updated on March 21, 2024
Want to copy text from PDF to Word but the “Copy” option is unavailable? Well, can’t copy text from PDF is a common problem that could happen now and then. No worries! This article will explain why you are experiencing this problem and provide several solutions!

Why Can’t I Copy Text from PDF?

Usually, as long as a PDF can be opened, we can select the text inside and copy it elsewhere. However, now you can't do that. Why can’t you copy text from PDF? The main reasons are as follows.

Reason 1

The PDF might be encrypted with permissions set to disallow copying. The owner of the PDF may not want other people to copy files from the document, so the owner has applied the copying restriction with the PDF editor.

Solution - You can contact the original author to get the password to remove the restriction. Or use a PDF tool or Google Chrome to remove the password.

Reason 2

The PDF was created from scanned images, or the text is part of an image. In this case, the PDF file is non-editable and you won't be able to copy it as text directly.

Solution - Convert the PDF to an editable and searchable document using an OCR-enabled PDF tool. Alternatively, you can convert the PDF to Word.

Next, I will show you how to fix this can not copy text from PDF problem. If you want to start quickly, click the download button below to get SwifDoo PDF. This PDF tool can help you remove password and convert PDF to a searchable file.

How to Fix Can’t Copy Text from PDF

When you can not copy text from PDF, you can use the following methods to solve the problem. Fix 1, 2, and 3 help resolve the copy permission issue. Fix 4 can help you copy and extract text from scanned PDF.

Fix 1. Remove Copy Restriction via SwifDoo PDF

The creator of the PDF can apply various security settings, including restrictions on copying text. If you receive a PDF like this, you'll encounter the "can't copy text from PDF" problem. In this case, you can ask the PDF owner for the password. If you don't know the original author, you can try to unlock it using a PDF tool like SwifDoo PDF.

SwifDoo PDF is a professional PDF tool. It is very feature-rich and can help users easily edit PDFs and deal with various PDF problems. When you open a PDF file with copy restrictions, it can quickly help to lift the restrictions.

Click the download button to get SwifDoo PDF and unlock the copy restriction.

1. Open SwifDoo PDF > Click Open to browse your computer and select the PDF file. Or you can drag and drop the PDF to the software's interface.

Open PDF

2. A yellow banner will appear at the top of the page. Click Permission Removal > Choose to replace the original file or not > Click Apply to confirm.

Permission Removal

3. After that, you can copy text from the PDF as usual.

Copy Text in SwifDoo PDF

Fix 2. Convert PDF to Word

Another way to help you fix the problem is to convert the PDF into a Word file. It can bypass the restrictions and allow you to copy the text from the converted document. SwifDoo PDF can help you convert PDF to Word without losing formatting. Follow the steps below.

1. Install SwifDoo PDF.

2. In SwifDoo PDF, choose PDF to Word.

PDF to Word

3. Add the PDF you want to convert. You can adjust the page range and location.

4. Click Start and that’s it.


SwifDoo PDF also has an online service to help convert PDF to Word in your browser. 

Convert PDF to Word Online

Fix 3. Remove Copy Restriction via Google Chrome

If you do not want to install software, use Google Chrome to remove the password. The Print feature of Chrome Reader can help you get an unencrypted copy of the PDF file. The steps are as follows.

1. Right-click the PDF > Choose Open with > Select Google Chrome.

2. Click the Print button in the top right corner.


3. Choose Save as PDF > Click Save to confirm.

Save as PDF

4. Finally, select a folder to save the PDF.

Fix 4. Convert PDF via OCR

You cannot copy text from PDF if it is a scanned copy or image-based text. It is impossible to copy or extract text in such PDFs, and you'll find that PDF search not working. In this case, you should use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to convert the images into selectable and copyable text.

Let me show you how to convert PDFs using SwifDoo PDF. This tool can accurately convert PDFs in different languages.

1. Download, install, and launch SwifDoo PDF.

2. Open the PDF file > Go to Edit > Choose OCR.


3. Adjust the conversion settings on the Recognize Document window > Click OK to start.

OCR Settings

4. After a few seconds, you can copy text from the converted PDF.

OCR Completed

Check this guide to learn more about OCR:

How to OCR a PDF and Recognize Text in PDF: 5 Ways in 2024

How to OCR a PDF and Recognize Text in PDF: 5 Ways in 2024

Looking to find how to OCR a PDF file? Use these 5 ways to help you OCR a PDF with a few simple steps.



That’s all about how to fix can’t copy text from PDF. Whatever the cause, SwifDoo PDF can help you make the PDF copyable. By the way, SwifDoo PDF can also help you set a password to restrict others from opening, printing, copying, annotating, and editing the PDFs you create.

Tips: Deleting PDF passwords without permission may violate copyrights. Please do not bypass security settings or copy text without proper authorization if the document is copyrighted or contains sensitive information.

Can't Copy Text from PDF FAQs

Q:Why is my PDF not allowing me to copy text?

This problem may occur because the PDF is a scanned image or the file has security restrictions.

Q:How can I tell if a PDF has copying restrictions?

Open the PDF in a reader, go to the security settings, and look for restrictions related to copying text.

Q:What is OCR and how can it help copy text from PDFs?

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It converts images of text into actual text characters, making it helpful in extracting text from scanned PDFs.

Lena has been in the editing industry for 8 years. She is familiar with a variety of products that can make things easier, such as PDF tools, video recording software, iOS location changer, etc. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with users to help them solve problems in their work and life. In her spare time, she likes to play with her cat.

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