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How to Convert Scanned PDF to Editable Formats on Mac (OS Sierra Included)

Moving to my new home, we decide to get rid of our filing cabinet and make way for some new furniture. So I spend most of my weekend time scanning my exchanging contracts, documents, etc. to PDF files.

I thought that just like the other PDF files I have, I can easily convert the PDF to editable text for easy revise, but it turns out that this just can’t work with scanned paper documents that are put into the PDF format.

I used to completely retype the document from scratch, which was a pain. So what if we can edit those scanned PDF files? Or save them in a format that makes them easier to manage, like .doc or text files? The answer I find out is use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to extract text from images.

Background:Types of PDFs: Native vs. Scanned PDFs

Before we talk about how to use OCR to convert scanned PDF to editable formats, let’s make sure you understand that there are two different types of PDFs.

Native PDFs:Native PDFs are ones that are generated from an electronic source – such as a Word document, a computer generated report, or spreadsheet data. These have an internal structure that can be read and interpreted. It’s called an editable PDF. You can highlight words in the PDF. You can search for words in the file. You can convert the PDF into a editable document.

Scanned PDFs - PDF created from a scanner: PDF documents that are created through the process of scanning a document into an electronic format are scanned PDFs, or we can call them image PDFs. You can’t edit that PDF until OCR has been done.

Solution: Use OCR Technology to Extract Text from Scanned PDFs

OCR is short for Optical Character Recognition. It is a technology that enables you to convert scanned PDF files or images captured by digital cameras into editable and searchable files by extracting data from the source files. In other words, OCR is required to analyze the “image” of each character and match it to an electronic character-based file.

Here I strongly recommend you a PDF Converter featuring the OCR technology – OCRWizard. It is the tool that has helped me convert scanned PDF to Word, Text, while with the layout, graphics, hyperlinks greatly preserved. I figured I’d describe how I’d do it so that you can see how you can do it for yourself.

Download the freetrial of Cisdem OCRWizard Now!

Step1. Launch and add files

Click the download button to download for your Mac. After you download the installation package, double-click it to finish the installation. You may drag and drop the scanned PDF file to the interface of the program.

import files into cisdem ocrwizardStep 2. Prepare for OCR

By default, the imported file will be under preparation mode for manually adjustment. This step is highly recommended when you are working on scanned document or images with unreadable blurry pictures. Then, you need to choose OCR language according to the file, change the orientation of pages etc. 

manually adjust the setting with cisdem ocrwizardStep 3. Process OCR

Click "Recognize" to select document type before OCR processing. The app will automatically marks every part of a loaded PDF or image differently based on the content of each part. Remember the toolbars on the interface, you will be able to customize the OCR using them. 

Convert Scanned PDF to Editable Formats –process OCRStep4.  Export to Editable Formats

Click to “Export” to save these files in PDF, RTFD, DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, HTML, or any other formats OCRWizard supports.

Convert Scanned PDF to Editable Formats –export to editable formats

Useful Tip: Perform OCR on and Share Business Card
Choose "Business Card” from the down list of “Recognize", the app will automatically create a contact form, allowing you to update and fill information. Click the Share button to add it to Mac Contacts or share it by Mail, Message and Airdrop. Also, you can export the business card to vCard and CSV.

useful tip to OCR business card

2016-12-31 10:56:57 / Posted byMegan Charles to PDF Follow @ Megan

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4 Responses

  • Trent

    No matter how powerful the extended features, the OCR quality is the key, this tool doesn't fail my expectations. Thanks.

    3 months ago REPLY
  • Peter

    Hi, I was surprised. I am a saleswoman and always get business card from prospectives. I am tired of inputting the business card information to save on my phone, but with the help of your tool, I can save and even share these information quite easily.

    6 months ago REPLY
  • Kathy

    That's quite a wide range of output choices, it is really useful when someone is working on files in different formats.

    6 months ago REPLY
  • Susan

    I received a scanned PDF form my friend, I couldn't edit it. OCR is a great technology. It helped me a lot. Cisdem PDFConverterOCR is very good. I used it to convert my PDF to word, it did a good job.

    1 years ago REPLY

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