How to Copy Text from PDF

Copy PDF text and paste it into an editable document

Oftentimes, the simplest tasks you need to perform with PDFs can be the hardest if you can’t accomplish them properly.

Trying to copy text from PDF pages, for instance, is probably one of the most common tasks everyone does with a PDF. It serves as a quick, makeshift data extraction solution that can be done on the spot and with nothing more than a couple of clicks of the button.

Yet, if you’ve ever done so, you may have come across issues when pasting the text into another application. The text can come out skewed, misformatted and distorted, or rendered illegible. This alone is a major reason why it’s always recommended to convert PDF content completely instead.

Fortunately, if you use Able2Extract Professional as your PDF viewer, you get the best of both worlds. You get to copy text from PDF content on a whole other level to ensure those issues don’t happen.

The secret? Able2Extract Professional converts your copied text to different text-based formats, so when you paste them into the corresponding file format, you get perfectly pasted text every time.

How to Copy Text from PDF with Able2Extract Professional

With your PDF open in Able2Extract Professional:

  1. Select the text you want to copy.
  2. Click on the Copy to Clipboard command. Note that this command is only active if some text or data is selected. In addition, copying data to the clipboard replaces previously stored content.
Copy to Clipboard button in Able2Extract Pro for copying text from PDF
  1. Go into the application and document format you want to paste the text into (Microsoft Word, for example), and then simply right click and select Paste, or press CTRL + V where you want the text place.
Pasted PDF text in MS Word with formatting intact

As mentioned, when pasting that text into other applications, Able2Extract Professional converts the text into different formats by default – either Text, RTF or CSV.

You can easily specify the required format for your copied text in the Side Panel. Under the Clipboard Formats section, click on the checkbox beside your desired format to set it as a default. To ensure that your copied text is processed faster, select only a single output format.

Clipboard formats in Able2Extract Pro for copying PDF text

There is the chance though that the PDF you have on hand may not allow you to copy text and paste it into a different application. When this happens, it is because of either one of two reasons:

  1. You have a scanned PDF document. A scanned PDF document is just an image of text that is generated by scanning in a paper document into a digital PDF. There is no electronically generated text for you to select.
  2. You have a protected PDF file. A protected PDF file is one that is secured with a password, preventing unauthorized users from interacting with the PDF.

In either case, Able2Extract Professional can provide you with a way to work around that.

Copy And Paste Text From Scanned PDF File

With the OCR technology in Able2Extract Professional, you can copy scanned PDF text as you would in a native, or electronically generated, PDF.

After you draw a selection rectangle and click the Copy to Clipboard button, Able2Extract Professional will automatically detect if an active document is a scanned PDF and run Optical Character Recognition, allowing the text to be extracted from image-based PDFs as well.

Here’s how you can copy and paste text from a scanned PDF file:

  1. Open the file in Able2Extract Professional.
  2. Draw a selection rectangle around the text you want to copy.
  3. Click on the Copy to Clipboard command and wait for OCR to do its job.
copy text from a scanned PDF with OCR
  1. Once the text has been copied, paste the text into your application of choice.

Copy Text From Secured PDF

When you have a secured PDF, you can use Able2Extract Professional’s Decrypt feature to unlock password-protected PDF documents.

For this, you will need to have the password to the PDF.

To copy text from a protected PDF follow the steps below:

  1. Open your encrypted PDF in Able2Extract Professional.
  2. In the dialog that appears, type in the PDF’s password. Click on the OK button, and your file will be opened.
entering password for a secured PDF in Able2Extract
  1. Go to the Sign and Secure toolbar, and click on the Decrypt button. This will remove the password protection so you can access the file content to copy the text.
decrypt feature for password-protected PDFs in Able2Extract
  1. As with the directions above, simply click and drag to select a portion of text and click on the Copy to Clipboard button in the Convert toolbar.
  2. Paste the text into your application of choice.

Next time you view a PDF and want to get the textual information into a CSV database, a formatted word processing application, or a plain text file, Able2Extract Professional is the tool to use. It takes a simple makeshift task and turns it into a feature you can fully trust.