7 Ways to Extract or Copy Text from PDF Image (Online Free Included)

Carolyn Ryan
February 23, 2024 Preview 22.3K Preview 0
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“I got a PDF image file and need text content contained in it. Is there a way to extract text from such a document without retyping the text completely?”

A host of people in Quora platform has raised similar problems. They tried to copy and paste the text in the PDF image directly but found it impracticable. Indeed, it is a big challenge to extract text from PDF image if you don’t have an OCR program in the palm of your hand. Take it easy! This article will shed light on 7 hassle-free ways to extract or copy text from PDF image, even without using OCR technology.

How to Copy or Extract Text from PDF Image Successfully?

A normal PDF contains texts, images, links, media and various interactive elements. It enables people to copy the text content directly in any PDF viewer or browser. But a PDF image contains image only, it may be created from image files or scanned to be PDF format. To extract text from such documents successfully, OCR is an essential tool. You can utilize a converter to change PDF images into editable text files, or make use of text extraction tools to recognize the text in image files.


Highly Accurate Solutions: Extract Text from PDF Image Offline

Have been offering PDF solutions for years, we fairly understand our users. Most of them want to have a try on online free solutions in the beginning, but pick a dedicated program for their work in the end, because time saving and efficiency are always prior to the cost. Therefore, we put those highly accurate solutions to extract text from PDF image on the top of our list. You can check the details and download for a free try.

#1 Cisdem PDF Converter OCR (Windows and macOS)

Pro: All-in-one PDF text extractor, comes with accurate AI OCR technology, suitable for users who frequntly handle PDF files. This PDF text extractor is quite professional. I usually use it to recognize important documents or complex PDF or image files that have tables and handwritten text. It has a OCR accuracy of 99%, so there's no need for manual checking and correction.

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR is a productivity program to help you work with PDF files, it converts your PDF files to virtually all popular file formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ePub, Text, 15+ formats. Therefore, even without an expensive PDF editor, you can export PDF as other editable formats and edit in your existing file editors. In addition, it allows creating PDF from Word, PowerPoint and other files, so you can easily share or print your files in PDF format.

As to its OCR feature, it not only converts your PDF image or scanned PDF files to searchable PDF for easy text extraction or copying, but also exports them as well-formatted Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ePub format. Still, you can convert multiple PDF image simultaneously. Its OCR function does an equivalently excellent job in recognizing PDF image in English, Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Czech, etc.

Main Features of Cisdem PDF Converter OCR

  • Extract text from PDF image and scans.
  • Extract all text content in a PDF document.
  • Extract text content from specific pages of a PDF document.
  • OCR PDF and image to well-formatted PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, TXT, etc.
  • Batch process PDF images.
  • Convert native PDF to 15+ formats.
  • Recognize 25 languages from PDF image.
  • Create PDF from other documents (Word, PowerPoint, etc.).

How to Copy Text from PDF Image or Scanned PDF on Windows or Mac?

  1. Download and install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR onto your windows or mac.
    Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7 Free Download macOS 10.13 or later
  2. Start the program. Select the Converter tab and drag one or multiple PDF images/scans into the working zone. You need to download OCR module for the first use.extract text from pdf cisdem01
  3. Select an editable format from the output drop-down list, DOCX, DOC, TXT or any others.extract text from pdf cisdem02
  4. Click the Gear icon on the right side and make the output settings as per your preference.extract text from pdf cisdem03
  5. After completing the adjustments, choose an output folder and continue with Convert. Green check marks mean success and navigate you to the extracted file.extract text from pdf cisdem04

#2 Adobe Acrobat (MacOS & Windows)

If you work on PDF files on a daily basis, you probably have installed Adobe Acrobat, in this case, to extract or copy text from PDF image becomes extremely easy for you. But for users who installed Adobe Acrobat Reader only, you cannot extract or copy the PDF image text, since there is no OCR feature in Adobe Reader.

How to Extract Text from PDF Image in Acrobat?

  1. Open PDF Image with Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Go to Tools> Enhance Scans.
  3. Go to Recognize Text> In This File and select file language to start Adobe OCR on the PDF image.extract text from pdf image in adobe01
  4. Now you can extract text or copy text from the PDF image file in Acrobat.
  5. (Optional) If you want to save the PDF image as text, go to Tools > Export PDF and select an output format. extract text from pdf image adobe02

Free Solutions: Extract Text from PDF Image Online

Powerful enough though dedicated software on the computer is, some people still turn to online free solutions to cut costs and escape download. Therefore, here we have picked out 3 top and convenient online tools to help users extract text from PDF image without difficulties. But before the guide, you should be aware that the extraction result is certainly not as good as aforementioned software and there exists a potential risk of information leakage.

#3 Google Docs (Online Free)

Google Docs is an online free service offered by Google to work on PDF, Word, Image and other documents, users can open, view, edit and export the files. Also, it is capable of processing OCR on scanned PDF and image file. But the biggest problem of using Google Docs to extract text from PDF image is, there are OCR errors and no formatting will be kept in the output file.


  1. Large cloud storage for free.
  2. Auto transform PDF image to Word due to its built-in OCR.
  3. The uploaded files are synchronized to all device accounts.


  1. Some elements contained in PDF image cannot recognized.
  2. The converted file holds a messy formatting and needs manual adjustments.
  3. It takes a long time to upload and open files.

How to Copy text and images from PDFs?

  1. Go to Google Drive New File upload to import your PDF image file.extract text from pdf image google docs01
  2. Right click the document, and choose Open with Google Docs.extract text from pdf image with google02
  3. Google Docs will apply OCR to make the PDF image editable and copyable. Drag your mouse to select the text and click Copy from the right-click menu.extract text from pdf google03
  4. (Optional) If you want to extract text from a PDF image and save as an individual file, go to File > Download > Txt/Docx, or any other editable formats.extract text from pdf google04

#4 OnlineOCR (Online Free)

OnlineOCR (onlineocr.net) is a simple online OCR tool to directly extract or copy text from PDF image or image files, the recognized text will be displayed on the webpage for easy and fast check. In addition, it supports exporting PDF image as Word or Excel. But you will have to manually revise the OCR errors.


  1. Over 40 recognized languages.
  2. The extracted text will be displayed on the board and can be edited before downloading the output.


  1. Extract text from only one page of PDF image.
  2. The maximum file size is 15 MB.
  3. Process one file at a time.
  4. Only support 3 kinds of output formats: docx, xlsx, txt.
  5. Many annoying ads are around the working area.

How to Copy Text from PDF Image for free?

  1. Go to Onlineocr.net.
  2. Click Select file to upload PDF image.
  3. Choose file language from the list.
  4. Select output as Text or others.
  5. Click Convert to start OCR your PDF image to text.
  6. Extract or copy the recognized text from PDF image or download output file.onlineocr pdf image

#5 Convertio (Online Free)

Comparing to above 2 online free tools to extract text from PDF images, Convertio supports more file languages and more output formats. But the main reason why I recommend Convertio OCR lies in that it helps to perform OCR on a file consisting of 2 languages, which will greatly improve the OCR accuracy when dealing with bilingual files. However, you are only allowed to convert 10 pages for free.


  1. Allow batch converting PDF image files into editable and copyable files.
  2. Extract text from bilingual PDF image files.


  1. The total number of pages uploaded cannot exceed 10 pages.
  2. Recognize files slowly.
  3. Distracting ads and pop-ups.

How to Copy Text from PDF Image Online Free with Convertio?

  1. Go to Convertio OCR.
  2. Upload one or more PDF images to the program.convertio pdf image01
  3. Choose 1 or 2 file languages, select output format as Text and fill in the page numbers you want to extract text from.convertio pdf image02
  4. Then click Recognize to start OCR.
  5. Download the text file and you will be able to extract or copy text from the PDF image.


Can We Extract Text from PDF Without OCR Easily?

When dealing with native PDF instead of those created by scanners or images, extracting text from PDF becomes extremely easy, there is no need to use OCR feature. Here are 2 efficient ways for you.

Cisdem PDFMaster (Windows and macOS)

The easiest way to extract text from PDF files is to use the shortcuts like Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. It is quick and can be achieved in most PDF readers or even browsers, however, this method fails when the PDF document is protected from copying or changing. To kill such a problem once for all, we recommend an efficient and powerful PDF editor, that is, Cisdem PDFMaster.

Quite literally, it is a program allowing users to work on all kinds of PDF documents like a PDF master, from editing the text in PDF easily to converting PDF into various other formats. With the help of this software, copying text from secured PDF and scanned PDF is no longer tricky.

How to Extract Text from PDF with Cisdem PDFMaster?

  1. Download and install Cisdem PDFMaster on your computer.
    Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7 Free Download macOS 10.13 or later
  2. Open the PDF in Cisdem by clicking Open Files.extract text from pdf cisdem01
  3. For native PDF, head to Edit tab > Edit icon in the secondary menu.
    For secured PDF, enter the permission password to enable editing by clicking Enable Editing > OK.extract text from pdf cisdem02
  4. Drag your mouse to select the text you want to copy, press Ctrl+C on the keyboard, or hit the Copy icon from the floating menu.extract text from pdf cisdem03
  5. Now the selected text should be in your clipboard, press Ctrl+V to paste it into your destination file. Or, right-click on the page and pick Paste from the drop-down menu.


When entering "Extract Text from PDF" in Google search field, we found that most people are eager to know how to extract text from PDF using Python. Actually, Python has multiple well-integrated libraries that can help you to extract text from PDF files effectively, like PyPDF2, PyMuPDF, PDFQuery, PDFMiner, PDFPlumber, etc. Here, we will take one of these most commonly used libraries as an example--PyPDF2.

PyPDF2 is a free, open-source Python library, capable of performing a lot of operations on a PDF, like merging, splitting, cropping as well as extracting text from PDF.

How to Extract Text from PDF in Python?

  1. Install Python. Make sure that you have a Python environment, if not, download it from here.
  2. Install pip in Python. Download it here and run the following code to install:
    pip.python get-pip.py
  3. Install PyPDF2. Simply enter the following command:
    pip install PyPDF2
  4. Extract text from PDF. You can perform text extraction like this:

    from PyPDF2 import PdfReader

    reader = PdfReader("example.pdf")

    page = reader.pages[0]


  5. You can also determine the text orientation you want to extract, e.g:

    # extract only text oriented up


    # extract text oriented up and turned left

    print(page.extract_text((0, 80)))



7 ways to extract or copy text from various PDF would be quite enough for you, and for many users seeking a solution on this, they give more credits to a professional standalone OCR program, which is safer to use, faster to process OCR, more accurate on results, even there are extended features offered to boost your productivity on working with PDF files. What about you? Do you have better advice on this? You can share us in the comment.

Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7 Free Download macOS 10.13 or later

Carolyn Ryan
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Carolyn has always been passionate about reading and writing, so she joined Cisdem as an editor as soon as she graduated from university. She focuses on writing how-to articles about PDF editing and conversion.

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