5 Ways: Convert Scanned or Image PDF to Searchable PDF on Mac & Windows

Connie Wisley
time December 01, 2022 Preview 12.4K
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Want to search a word within a PDF file but not allowed to? You are just searching within a scanned or image PDF. 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. To convert a PDF to searchable PDF, you will need to process OCR on the scanned PDF first.

Here in this article, 5 ways to convert a scanned or image PDF to searchable PDF are introduced, helping you to turn your PDF to searchable text easily with original formatting retained.

The Most Efficient Way to Convert PDF to Searchable PDF on Mac and Windows

We prefer to use dedicated OCR programs to convert PDF to searchable PDF, because they are far more efficient than other possible solutions, they convert accruately with original formatting retained, they support batch convert PDF to searchable PDFs, they convert fast, they support many languages...

What we should use to convert scanned PDF to searchable PDF on Mac or Windows?

The answer would be Cisdem PDF Converter OCR. It is an 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, German, French, Spanish or others.

How to Convert Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF on Mac or Windows?

  1. Download and install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR on Mac or Windows.
    Free Download   Free Download
  2. Add scanned PDFs to Cisdem.
    You can drag and drop scanned PDF to import, or click “+” to add.  To batch convert scanned PDFs, import multiple PDF at one time. 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 in Adobe Acrobat

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 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 Scanned/Image PDF to Searchable PDF Free with Convertio OCR

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

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 Scanned or Image PDF to Searchable PDF Online Free 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

Convert Unsearchable PDF to Searchable PDF Free with Online2pdf

Online2pdf is a free tool to create, convert, organize and edit PDF files. It helps to convert unsearchable 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 Unsearchable PDF to Searchable PDF Online Free with Online2pdf?

  1. Go to Online2pdf.
  2. Upload scanned PDFs to the program.online2pdf scanned to searchable 01
  3. Adjust the conversion settings, choose Mode, select output format as searchable PDF and choose 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 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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Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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