4 Ways to Convert Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF (Mac & Windows)

2020-07-30 21:37:20 / Posted by Connie Wisley to PDF Follow @ Connie

Want to search a word within a scanned PDF file but not allowed to? You will need to process OCR on the scanned PDF first. Here in this article, 4 ways to convert a scanned PDF to searchable PDF are introduced, helping you to turn your image PDF to text PDF easily and with original formatting retained.

Can I Search A Scanned PDF File?

No, you cannot.

A scanned PDF is in essence an image-based file, all the texts are saved in bitmap image format, you cannot copy, search or modify.

If you want to search a scanned PDF, you need to make the file searchable first, in other words, convert an image PDF to text PDF with OCR.

OCR refers to Optical Character Recognition, it is widely applied to recognize the texts from scans and images, so you don’t have to type each word again. Without OCR, you device won’t be able to read texts from the file.

Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF on Mac

If you have talked with someone who also needs to convert PDF to searchable PDF, you will find they finally choose a OCR tool to get the job done, because a OCR program brings accurate OCR result and high quality conversion. The most important is, it is easy and fast to perform OCR on scanned files.

Then, what we should use to convert scanned PDF to searchable PDF on Mac?

The answer would be Cisdem PDF Converter OCR. It is a mac application to create and convert PDF files, having an excellent support on different input and output formats. With its OCR feature, you can convert scanned PDF and images to searchable PDF, to editable Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ePub, HTML, Text, Keynote, Pages and RTFD format, no matter your file is in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanse, French or others.

How to Convert Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF on Mac?

  1. Download and install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR on Mac;
    Free Download
  2. Add scanned PDFs to Cisdem;
    You can drag and drop scanned PDFs to import, or click “+” to add; scanned pdf to searchable pdf mac01
  3. Prepare your scanned PDFs for OCR;
    Turn OCR button ON, choose OCR page range, select file language and set output as PDF; scanned pdf to searchable pdf mac 02
  4. (Optional) Use Advanced Settings on your scanned PDF;
    For more accurate OCR result, you can click on the Advanced Settings icon, manually adjust the OCR applied zone, to set output format for selected part. For example, there is an image in the file, you want to render it as image format in the output file instead of text, then you can delete the original OCR applied box, choose Image from the toolbar, add a new OCR applied box to this image.scanned pdf to searchable pdf mac03
  5. Click Convert to change scanned PDF to searchable PDF format;

 

Convert PDF to Searchable PDF on Windows

Just like converting scanned PDF to searchable PDF on Mac, we need a Windows compatible OCR program to convert PDF to searchable PDF on Windows PC. Since there are so many users looking for the tutorial of performing the conversion with Bluebeam OCR, here we use Bluebeam as an example to show how we convert a scanned PDF.

Bluebeam is a piece of software designed to create, markup and edit PDFs, it has several editions, while its Revu eXtreme is the one adding OCR feature. It allows users to convert single or multiple scanned PDF to searchable PDF, Text, RTF, HTML, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, also to image formats.

How to Convert Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF on Windows PC?

  1. Download and install Bluebeam Revu eXtreme;
  2. Add scanned PDF files; Go to File>Open and add your scanned PDF files to the program;
  3. Adjust the OCR configurations for your scanned PDF;
    Go to Document>OCR, open the OCR dialog box, choose file language, tweak OCR configuration, select page range;bluebeam ocr 01
  4. Start OCR on your scanned PDF files;
    After the OCR configurations, click OK to continue and Bluebeam OCR will start automatically.
  5. Convert scanned PDF to searchable PDF on Windows PC.
    Go to File>Export>PDF/A, your scanned PDF will be saved in text searchable PDF format.bluebeam ocr 02

 

Use Adobe to Convert Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF

If you have installed Adobe Acrobat, conversion of scanned PDF to searchable PDF can be even easier, since Adobe can auto detect a scanned PDF and recognize the text with Adobe OCR. Also, being a powerful PDF editor, you can revise the OCR errors or edit the PDF file freely.

How to Convert Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF with Adobe?

  1. Run Adobe Acrobat;
  2. Open scanned PDF with Adobe;
  3. Go to Tools>Enhance Scans>Recognize Text>In this File, start processing OCR on the scanned PDF;scanned pdf to searchable pdf adobe
  4. Once ready, save the searchable PDF file.

 

Convert Image PDF to Text PDF Online Free

Also, there are online free tools available to convert image scanned PDF to text searchable PDF, the conversion accuracy will be lower than offline professional OCR programs, but still worth a try.

#1 Convertio OCR

Convertio is an online free platform supporting file conversions on video, audio, image, ebook, font, document and so on. Convertio OCR is a part of Convertio conversion services, allowing users to convert scanned files in PDF and image format to searchable PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Text, RTF, CSV, ePub… It supports batch conversion and recognizing 50+ languages, but you can convert 10 pages for free, for more pages, you have to pay.

How to Convert Image PDF to Text PDF with Convertio?

  1. Go to Convertio OCR;
  2. Upload scanned PDFs to Convertio OCR;convertio scanned to searchable 01
  3. Adjust the conversion settings, choose file language, searchable PDF output;convertio scanned to searchable 02
  4. Click Recognize the start converting scanned PDFs;
  5. Then download the searchable PDF files.convertio scanned to searchable 03

#2 Online2pdf OCR

Online2pdf is a free tool to create, convert, organize and edit PDF files. It helps to convert scanned PDF to searchable PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Text and ebook format. 20+ file languages can be recognized by this program, but you can only convert 20 pages for free OCR services. One thing that differs online2pdf from Convertio is that, online2pdf allows users to protect, merge and compress the searchable PDF output.

How to Convert Image PDF to Text PDF with Convertio?

  1. Go to Online2pdf;
  2. Upload scanned PDFs to the program;online2pdf scanned to searchable 01
  3. Adjust the conversion settings, choose Mode, output format and file language;online2pdf scanned to searchable 02
  4. Tweak the preferences if needed;online2pdf scanned to searchable 03
  5. Click Convert to save scanned PDF as searchable PDF online free;
  6. Then download the searchable PDF files to your computer.

Conclusion

For the solutions to convert scanned PDF to searchable PDF, we can go on and add more tools onto our recommendation list, but above mentioned are always picked and recommended by our users. Also, today, more and more users are willing to pay for a professional PDF converter with OCR feature, because such a program just brings what users expect, accurate conversion result, auto task, batch support, saving as other formats for future needs…

So, which one do you choose to convert your scanned PDF files?

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