How to Convert Scanned PDF to Text on Mac or Windows PC?

Peter William
time July 09, 2017 Preview 13.8K
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We are often encouraged to follow paperless office rules, and digitalizing files using scanning play an important role in this. But sometimes, we have to edit and get some modification on the PDF files, at this moment, it had better convert scanned PDF to text for further editing. With the development of OCR technology, make a scanned pdf editable is not a big deal anymore. Here you will be introduced 3 ways to convert a scanned PDF to Text on Mac and Windows PC.

Part 1.Professional OCR Program: OCR Expert with Desirable Results

In this part, we will pick the most affordable OCR tool with satisfying results, to show how scanned files can be professionally processed to be editable text again, no matter you are a Mac user or Windows PC user.

For Mac User

Among the list of top OCR programs, we choose Cisdem PDF Converter OCR, the PDF OCR Software for Mac to convert PDF files into other common used formats. That's to say, it can accurately convert both native and scanned PDFs, even images into text,word, keynote and other editable formats, enabling you to reuse their content, archive them more efficiently. It can perform OCR on files in 200 languages. Of course, you can perform the conversion in batch. What's more, you can use this tool to create, secure, unlock and compress PDF as needed.

Free Download

Step1. Import Scanned PDF

First import the scanned PDF file. Go to "Converter", you may drag and drop one or multiple PDF(s) to the interface of the program. convert scanned pdf to text 01

Step 2. Turn the OCR Function On to Convert Scanned PDF to Text on Mac

Once you uploaded the file, turn the OCR function on, set the output format as Text, also choose the page range, document language before PDF to Text conversion on mac.

convert scanned pdf to text 02

Step 3.Convert Scanned PDF into Text on Mac

Click "Convert" to start the conversion. You can check the status bar to know the conversion progress, once the conversion is finished, check the file in output folder.


  • Support both Native and Scanned PDF
  • Support Batch Conversion
  • Fast OCR Progressing
  • Safe to use without any risk of information leakage
  • Accurate OCR Outcome
  • More affordable than other OCR programs
  • Extended features: create, protect, unprotect and compress PDF


  • Cannot Edit the Scanned File in the Program

For Windows PC User

Readiris 16 for Windows is an excellent OCR program for Windows PC users, with its powerful and accurate OCR engine, this tool can convert image, PDF file, and other scanned documents into fully, searchable and index-able formats while preserving the layout of the original file.

  1. Install Readiris 16 for Windows on your PC and launch it.
  2. Add scanned PDF files into the program.convert scanned pdf to text on windows pc 02
  3. Choose the language of the scanned PDF, and choose the output format as Text in the “Other” menu.convert scanned pdf to text on windows pc
  4. Save the file, your scanned PDF file is converted into editable text now.


  • Versatile import format: PDF, image, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. You can also scan 
  • Operate with scanner
  • Versatile output format: PDF, DOCX, XLSX, ODT, ePub, Audio, RTF, HTML, TXT, TIFF, JPEG, PNG
  • Manage PDF files: Organize, Protect, Compress and sign PDFs
  • Highly accurate OCR results


  • No free trial version is provided, you have to purchase
  • No batch conversion

Part 2.Web-Based OCR Plug-in: Google Docs

When talking about PDF conversion, the first thing comes to your mind is definitely its creator-Adobe. You may have an Adobe Acrobat with built-in OCR feature helping you to work on scanned files. But Adobe is not the only way out to convert PDF to text! Google offers an alternative, you can use its Google Docs to make a scanned PDF editable again. 

Follow the steps below to perform Google OCR Now!

  1. Login into your Google Account>Google Drive;
  2. Click "New" >"File Upload", to import the file need to be converted;
  3. Once uploaded, right click to "Open with Google Docs", the OCR will be performed automatically;

use google docs to convert scanned pdf to text on mac

  1. Once the file is opened in Google Docs, go to "File">"Download As" to save the file in Text format.


  • Free to use
  • Safe to upload file


  • Time-consuming to perform OCR with several steps
  • Need manual adjust to rectify the recognition errors

Part 3.Free OCR Service: Online OCR Tool

With the development and growing demands of OCR technology, there are quite a lot online free OCR services offered for users to convert scanned PDF into Word, or other editable formats.

Here we take Free Online OCR,the free service to convert scanned PDF or image into Text, searchable PDF and Text format online, as an example to demonstrate how to perform OCR online.

  1. Upload your file, choose output format as "Text" and click "Convert" to do OCR;

use online ocr tool to convert scanned pdf to text on mac

  1. Download the converted file by clicking the download link;

use online ocr tool to convert scanned pdf to text on mac download link


  • Free to use
  • Fast OCR progressing


  • Need manually adjust some recognition errors after conversion
  • May bring potential risk to your file/information security
  • Have a limit on quantity of conversion pages


Each solution takes its own advantages over others in one way or another. Your choice greatly depends on your own needs. If you are not working on scanned files so often, also you are patient enough to follow the steps on Google, Google Docs is recommended; if you care about money over any others, online free service is a plausible workaround; if you ask high on accuracy and user experience, professional ones, such as Cisdem OCR PDF Converter for Mac, should be the best solution for PDF to Text. 

Peter William
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Peter has always had great enthusiasm for writing, programming and web development. He likes writing about software and technology, his works are featured on some tech blogs or forums like Tom's Hardware, CNET, etc.

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Comments (2) Leave a Reply

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  • Isabel

    I want to take the texts out from the scanned contract for email writing, i accidentally tries OCR Wizard and I got the results i was looking for, thanks.

    6 years ago Reply

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  • Victoria

    The tool works exceeding my expectations, I just need to extract text from the scanned copies for editing, it is powerful.

    6 years ago Reply

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