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Home / Blog / How to Copy Text from Scanned PDF Online & Offline | 2024

How to Copy Text from Scanned PDF Online & Offline | 2024

By Lena | Follow twitter | Updated on March 28, 2024
The most significant difference between a scanned PDF and other PDFs is that the text in the file is not searchable, copyable, or editable. What if you want to copy some useful text from it? Don't worry! This article will show you how to copy text from scanned PDFs.

Can You Copy Text from Scanned PDF?

The answer is Yes! Thanks to OCR technology, copying text from scanned PDFs is possible.

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This technology can help you convert a scanned PDF to a text-based PDF. In this way, you should be able to select and copy text just like you would from a regular PDF. You can click the download button to get the OCR tool and start converting immediately.

In addition, you can convert the PDF using online OCR services. This method suits those who don't want to download the software. 

This article will tell you more about the reasons and solutions for not being able to copy text from a PDF:

[Solved] Can’t Copy Text from PDF

[Solved] Can’t Copy Text from PDF

Can’t copy text from PDF? This article will explain the reason behind this problem and how to fix it.


1. Copy Text from Scanned PDF Offline

Let’s first see how to copy text from scanned PDF with specialized OCR software. This is recommended if you want to copy text from a complexly formatted PDF. These software programs can recognize text in scanned documents with high accuracy.

SwifDoo PDF is one such tool. It is a comprehensive PDF editor that provides an efficient OCR tool. With the straightforward workflow, you can get a copyable PDF in a few clicks. To save time, you can specify which pages or areas to use for OCR. The best part is that it can convert up to 25+ languages.

Click the button below to get SwifDoo PDF and follow the steps below to convert and copy text.

1. Launch SwifDoo PDF > Click Open to browse your computer and select the scanned PDF. You can also drag and drop the PDF to the window.

Open PDF

2. Click Edit and then choose the OCR feature.

Choose OCR

3. Adjust the settings according to your situation and click OK to continue.

  • Choose the document language and the output mode.
  • Select the pages you want to convert; You can customize the area you want to OCR.

Adjust OCR Settings

After a few seconds, you will get a new editable PDF. Now, You can copy the text inside as usual.

OCR Completed

If you want to go to the folder where the PDF is located, please go to Start and click the Open Folder icon.

PDF Folder

As you can see, SwifDoo PDF can quickly OCR PDF to help you copy text. To improve efficiency, you can also convert PDF to Word, Excel, PPT, or other formats. Take the chance to get the free trial version to enjoy all the advanced features!

2. Copy Text from Scanned PDF Online

If you do not want to install software, you may wonder how to make it online. Luckily, there are two workable methods: using Google Drive or an online OCR program.

Copy Text from Scanned PDF Online - Google Drive

PDFs saved in Google Drive can be opened and edited with Google Docs. As for a scanned PDF, it will automatically convert it into editable and searchable documents. If needed, you can save the converted PDF as a Word file. Check to learn how to use Google Drive to convert PDFs.

1. Upload PDF to Google Drive: open the browser and go to Google Drive sites > log into your account > click the Plus button to make it.

2. Right-click the scanned PDF > Choose Open with > Select Google Docs.

Open with Google Docs

3. The PDF will be shown in a new tab, and you can easily copy text from the file.


Go to File > Download and select Microsoft Word (.docx) to download it as a Word file.

Save PDF as Word

Copy Text from Scanned PDF Online - OCR2Edit

Another way to copy text online is to use online OCR services. These services are accessible via any web browser with an Internet connection. If you only occasionally need to convert scanned PDFs to editable text, then this is a quick way.

Let me use OCR2Edit as an example here. You can also search for “OCR PDF online” and select the one you prefer.

1. Open your browser and go to https://www.ocr2edit.com/scanned-pdf-to-text.

2. Click Choose Files to upload the scanned PDF.

Choose Files

3. Select the document language and click Start.

4. Click the Download button to save the file.

Download File

After that, you can open the file and copy the desired text.

Tips: Uploading sensitive documents to an online service may raise privacy and security concerns. If you are working with files that contain sensitive or important information, it is recommended to use the desktop program.


In short, you need to use OCR technology to convert scanned PDF documents into editable and searchable documents, and then you can copy the text as usual. Online tools and desktop programs have their pros and cons. Just choose according to your needs. The desktop PDF editor is the way to go if you prefer high accuracy.

Copy Text from Scanned PDFs FAQs

Q:Can you copy and paste from a scanned PDF?

You can’t directly copy and paste from a scanned PDF. You should use OCR technology to convert a scanned PDF into editable and searchable text.

Q:Can I copy text from a scanned PDF without using OCR?

No, you cannot directly copy text from a scanned PDF without OCR because scanned PDFs are essentially images of text, and OCR is needed to convert the images into editable text.

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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