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How to Make a Searchable PDF from Scanned File with/ without Adobe on Mac?

How do you go directly to the parts that you want to review in a PDF? “Search” within the file, of course. But have you ever worked on a PDF not allowing you to search the content? Why you can’t search within some PDFs, how can you make a searchable PDF with or without the help of Adobe? Here you will be revealed all about these.

About Searchable PDF

What is a searchable PDF?
A searchable PDF is the PDF file composed of 2 layers, image layer and text layer. There in the text layer saves the text content and users are allowed to search for or locate the keyword within the document. 

How a searchable PDF is created?
Generally, a searchable PDF is created by performing OCR on a scanned document or scanning paper files into searchable PDF with a document scanner.

How to search a PDF on Mac?
According to different PDF viewers, the way to search in a PDF file may be different. 
In Preview, go to Edit>Find or press “Command+F” to search the content within the file;
In Adobe, press “Command+F”, input the keyword you want to search within the file.

Why a PDF cannot be searched?

why pdf can not be searched

In most cases, the reason why a PDF cannot be searched is concluded as, the file is not originally generated from documents editors like Adobe, Microsoft Office, it is image-based, which means the text content is saved as bitmap font. These fonts cannot be recognized, therefore the PDF tool cannot do the matching to locate the keywords.

Hence, to make a PDF searchable, you need to make the image text to be recognized within the file. This is just OCR technology works for.

How to Make a Searchable PDF from Scanned File on Mac?

When talking about PDF, it reminds us of Adobe, its creator. And positively, Adobe products offer a solution to make a searchable PDF from scanned file with its built-in OCR feature. While, for those don’t use an Adobe product, no need to worry, there are also non-Adobe solutions for you.

Make Searchable PDF With Adobe Acrobat

  1. Open the scanned file in Adobe Acrobat (eg.Adobe Acrobat Pro)

If the file is scanned PDF, open it in Adobe directly;
If the file is an image, run Adobe first, then select “Create PDF” in the wizard, choose the image file and it will be imported into Adobe.

  1. Go to View>Tools, choose “Recognize Text”>”In This File”. Adobe will start to process OCR on the document.

recognize text with adobe

  1. Go to File>Save As>PDF.

save as searchable pdf with adobe

  1. Open the PDF again and you will find the PDF can be searched now.

pdf can be searched with adobe

If you find there are recognition errors, try to revise according to following:

  1. Go to "OCR Suspects" which locates below “Recognize Text”, Acrobat will identify suspect characters or words for your evaluation.
  2. Click on the highlighted part and input the correct ones if necessary. 
  3. Click close one all the suspected errors are adjusted.

If you need to perform OCR with other Adobe versions to make a searchable PDF from scanned files, go to the details and try.

Make Searchable PDF Without Adobe Acrobat

Of course, not all of us have installed an Adobe. Never mind, the non-Adobe solution also surprise you with even better and more accurate results.

Like, CisdemOCRWizard, a professional OCR software enabling users to convert scanned files and image files into more than 15 editable results, including Searchable PDF, Word, Excel, PPT, Keynote, HTML, Keynote and so on), also allowing users to digitize and manage their business cards in database programs.

  1. Download the free trial of Cisdem OCRWizard on its official website, install and launch it on your mac.

download icon

  1. Drag and Drop the file into the interface, or just click “+” to add files.

import files with ocrwizard

  1. Click “Recognize” to perform OCR on the scanned file, the toolbars will allow you to manually adjust the file for more accurate results especially when you are working on quite blurry files.

manually adjust for more accurate results

  1. Click “Export” and choose “PDF” as the output format.

export with cisdem ocrwizard make searchable pdf

  1. ​Open the file in Preview or Adobe again, you will find the file can be searched.

Adobe VS OCRWizard

No doubt, working as the most powerful comprehensive tool to manage PDFs, Adobe stands far above OCRWizard. But when talking about performing OCR on a scanned file, OCRWizard does better than Adobe:

  Input format Accuracy Extended Feature Output Format
Adobe PDF(image can be imported) Accurate, you can manually adjust the suspected errors No PDF, Word, Text, HTML, Image, Excel
OCRWizard PDF(Native and Scanned), Image Highly accurate, you can customize with toolbars to improve the accuracy Embedded Contacts Template, allowing users to import business card information and manage in database programs(Mail, Contacts, AirDrop,etc) Editable PDF, RTFD, DOCX, DOC, XLSX, PPTX, HTML, TEXT, ALTO, FB2, EPUB, ODT, PAGES and KEYNOTE

What is your choice?

Just try before any commercial investment, and choose the one works for you.

2016-12-29 10:00:00 / Posted byRosa Reyes to PDF Follow @ Rosa

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