Searchable PDF’s

Posted by Dennis April 26th, 2012

“What is a Searchable PDF?”, my customers often ask.  Well, there are basically two ways to scan a document; 1) As a picture.  These can be saved as JPG, BMP, or any other picture format.  BUT they can also be saved as a flat, or picture-style PDF document.  You’ve probably run across these if you’ve ever had a PDF where you COULD NOT select text.  To get around this you need 2) to scan the WORDS within the document.  This is called OCR, or Optical Character Recognition.  The computer tries to interpret every little symbol as a letter or number, and then indexes those words for you, making it SEARCHABLE.  Note that you can often OCR to a Word document or other editor and then spellcheck, edit, etc.  You may need this because the accuracy of the OCR depends on the software and quality of scanned document.  A lot of scanners now offer these options.  OR if you own Adobe Acrobat (rather than just the Reader) it will OCR as well.  Here’s an article that steps you through it (thanks CreativeTechs!). Powerful stuff…

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