2022 Update: How to OCR PDF on Mac (Ventura and Monterey Support)

Rosa Reyes
time June 28, 2022 Preview 114.1K
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PDFs provide a convenient way for sharing documents, lots of people choose to save their files in PDF. Even when you scan a document, the files may be saved in PDF by default. But a scanned PDF or image PDF is just a large image file, in which the PDF text is not searchable, nor indexable — unless you perform OCR on the PDF file.

This article will introduce multiple solutions on how to OCR PDF on Mac with best PDF OCR apps supporting batch feature, or OCR PDF on Mac for free, all these solutions work on macOS latest Ventura and Monterey, or earlier versions. Also, there are some basics you need to know about PDF OCR on Mac.

Part 1. Best PDF OCR Apps for Mac 2022 (Batch PDF OCR)

To OCR PDF documents on mac, we will need to apply the OCR technology, which helps to recognize texts from image-based files and turn them into digital, editable text that can be understood by your devices. While, a PDF OCR program is powered with such an OCR engine to recognize scanned or image documents. 

In fact, OCR is rarely accurate or affordable, but we have choice. Here, basing on affordability, simplicity and OCR performance, we recommend Cisdem PDF Converter OCR. It is a PDF OCR program designed to do virtually all kinds of document conversion with high quality results, highly compatible on macOS Ventura, Monterey and earlier versions.

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR Main Features

  • Convert native PDF to Word, PowerPoint, ePub, HTML, Text, Keynote, Pages, RTFD, Image and so on
  • Convert scanned PDF and image to searchable PDF, to editable Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Keynote, Pages, etc.
  • Preserve orignal file quality
  • Batch convert and OCR PDFs
  • Convert entire or part of the PDF file
  • Create PDF from Word, PowerPoint, image and other documents
  • Fast conversion speed
  • Highly compatible on all maOS versions

Steps to OCR PDF Files on Mac

  1. Launch Cisdem PDF OCR Program for Mac.
    Download Cisdem PDF Converter OCR and then install it on Mac. Run it to start OCR a PDF on mac.
    Free Download
  2. Add PDF Files for OCR on Mac.
    Go to the interface of "Converter", import PDF to the program by drag and drop PDF files, or click the "+" button. It supports batch OCR PDF on mac, you can add dozens of files at one time. how to ocr a pdf on mac with cisdem 01
  3. Tweak the "OCR PDF" settings
    Turn the OCR button ON, select language and page range. It can recognize 200+ languages and supports batch or partial conversion. Also, choose output as needed before starting OCR PDF on mac.how to ocr a pdf on mac
  4. Start OCR PDF on mac
    Click "Convert" to perform OCR on PDF files. The OCR process will finish within seconds, you can find the converted file in output folder. The PDF OCR is done!

Also, you can watch the tutorial video to do mac ocr now.

Alternative PDF OCR App for Mac: Adobe Acrobat

For users who are looking for advanced OCR features, Adobe Acrobat is worth a try.

Adobe Acrobat (Price: From $12.99/month~$14.99/month), since its creation, is always considered as the most powerful program to deal with PDFs, and its prominence apparently continues in PDF OCR. Besides, it is cross-platform allowing different users to benefit from this feature.

Speaking of its PDF OCR, Adobe Acrobat can automatically perform OCR on scanned files when exporting to an editable formats, but it also offers a set of tools to enhance the OCR performance, for example, capturing the file with mac camera to do ocr, choose pages to perform partial pdf ocr, copying recognized text with formatting, editing the PDF file after ocr directly. 

Undoubtedly, Adobe’s editing feature is the key persuading users into such a purchase. As we know, OCR is rarely perfect, even if there appears OCR errors, users can directly edit or rectify within Adobe, that’s quite convenient.

Steps to OCR PDF on Mac with Adobe

  1. Open PDF with Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Go to Tools> Enhance Scans, select "Enhance", you can choose to OCR all pages or current page, then all the PDF text is searchable and selectable, also you can right click on the text to choose "Edit Text" within the program.
  3. Finally, save the PDF file or go to Tools> Export as Word or other formats.adobe ocr on mac

>>>Watch Adobe Mac OCR Tutorial Video

Part 2. How to OCR PDF on Mac Free (Freeware & Online)

To OCR a PDF on Mac for free, there are 2 workarounds, either using a piece of offline PDF OCR freeware or an online free PDF OCR tool.

Yet, we know that offline Mac OCR PDF application is seldom free, if one PDF OCR program is given for free, it must come with limited features, like LEADTOOLS OCR Application.

Also, when we search in Google, we can find there are several websites doing OCR on a PDF or an image on mac for free. However, many of them cannot handle images of poor quality. So people have to ensure they have high quality images when using these online PDF OCR tools, otherwise accuracy will be adversely impacted. Here we pick the best online option for you to OCR a PDF, which give good results than the other online sites in our test.

#1 PDF OCR Freeware for Mac (LEADTOOLS)

It is a free Mac program to OCR PDF and image files, you can recognize the file one page by one page, or recognize the whole document at one time, and export files as PDF, RTF, LTD, TXT, DOCX, SVG, XML, HTML, EPUB or MOB format. This PDF OCR program will display both original file and recognized text on the same interface, for you to check the real-time OCR result. However, the OCR result is quite poor at rending images and keeping formatting. 


  1. OCR PDF and Image
  2. Recognize multiple-page PDF
  3. Export files as 10 formats


  1. Cannot render images and keep formatting in the OCRed output file
  2. There are PDF OCR errors and need manual corrections
  3. Doesn’t support batch OCR PDF on Mac
  4. Take time to process PDF OCR

Steps to OCR A PDF on Mac with Freeware LEADTOOLS

  1. Download and install LEADTOOLS OCR Application on your Mac.
  2. Click Open Document to upload PDF file, choose page range.ocr pdf mac free01
  3. Click Recognize to OCR PDF on Mac for Free.ocr pdf mac free02
  4. Click Save button and choose output format to save the PDF OCR result. ocr pdf mac free03

#2 Online Free PDF OCR Tool (Convertio OCR)

Convertio OCR is a free web-based OCR service to OCR PDF. It can recognize text from PDF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF and other images. You can upload your PDF file for OCR from computer, Google Drive, Dropbox or via URL. Its bilingual-OCR support allows recognizing files composed of 2 different languages. 


  1. OCR PDF and Image
  2. Batch OCR
  3. Support 50+ languages
  4. Export files as 11 formats


  1. Potential risk of information leakage
  2. Need manually adjust the OCR errors
  3. Take time to process PDF OCR
  4. Only 10 pages for free PDF OCR

Steps to (Batch) OCR PDF on Mac for Free with Convertio

  1. Go to Convertio OCR.
  2. Click "Choose File" to upload files.convertio ocr 01
  3. Choose file language and select output format.
  4. Click "Recognize" to do OCR on PDF.convertio ocr02
  5. Download recognized file and check the OCR result.

Part 3. Things You Need to Know PDF OCR on Mac

What Does OCR Stand For?

OCR (Optical Character Recognition), it is the mechanical or electronic translation of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. It is widely used to convert books and documents into electronic files, to computerize a record-keeping system in an office, or to publish the text on a website.Without OCR, or to be specific, without Mac OCR software, the scanned PDF cannot be recognized by comuper, hence not allow you to edit or search.

Though there are some free tools coming with MacOS for users to deal with PDF files, like Preview and Automator, mac ocr service is not availble.

Can Preview OCR A PDF on Mac?


Preview can help view and manage and edit PDF files on mac, but the editing feature is only limited to native PDFs. Though you can surely open scanned pdf in Preview, it is displayed as image files, no changes can be done to the file, including but not limited to copy text, search text, annotate, highlight, etc.

Can Adobe Reader OCR PDF on Mac?


Some mac users may have installed Adobe Reader on their mac to view and manipulate PDFs since it is free and easy to view PDFs. However, it Adobe Reader cannot work to do OCR on mac, unless you update to or subscribe its Adobe Acrobat for mac.

pdfexpert iconCan PDF Expert Do OCR?


PDF Expert is picked as the top 1 paid app in Mac App Store due to its beautiful design and powerful features. With PDF Expert 7 came into release, it supports OCR on PDF files now. There are multiple tools built in PDF Expert to have a better OCR result, like Enhance Scan, Crop Pages, Clear Margins, Selection Tool. However, there is still a lot to improve on PDF Expert OCR, as per our review, PDF Expert OCR falls short due to poor OCR result and limited output formats.

Final Words

So, which one will you choose to do PDF OCR on your mac and make your scanned files editable for further use? There may be more choices out there, but the one well balancing functionality, OCR performance and simplicity, in my opinion, is Cisdem PDF Converter OCR. For users who want to keep their paper work simply but efficient, it is worth a try.

Free Download

Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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Comments (6) Leave a Reply

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  • Christina

    Online tools are free but have some limitations. Acrobat is reliable but at a high price. Based on these aspects, I installed Cisdem PDF Converter OCR. It provides all the formats that I can use to meet my work needs at an affordable price. I don't have to look around for OCR tools either.

    0 months ago Reply

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  • laura

    Online tool is not doing good, so many missed data and gaps, also you need to manually adjust the formatting quite a lot.

    6 years ago Reply

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  • giotopie

    My question is: Can Cisdem PDF Converter (for Mac) convert forms containing words, pictures and different styles into writable and editable Office Word, Excel and Power Point? Please elaborate. Thank.

    6 years ago Reply

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    • Rosa Reyes

      Thanks for your message! Yes, Cisdem PDF Converter OCR can do these all for you, with 100% keeping the original layouts of data, images, tables, text...

      6 years ago
  • Spire

    Thanks for the article.

    7 years ago Reply

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  • Danielle

    What about using OCR to change a scanned document into one that can be edited?

    7 years ago Reply

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  • rickbateman701@yahoo.com

    Although Cisdem PDFConverterOCR is cheaper than other OCR Mac software, it really did as well as Adobe Acrobat. Thanks for it save my money. Good application~~~

    7 years ago Reply

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