Copying from PDF to Word
Thread poster: Barnaby Capel-Dunn

Barnaby Capel-Dunn  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:40
French to English
Feb 17, 2003

This article from the International Herald Tribune may be of interest to many of us:

IHT Monday, February 17, 2003

Question: Is there a way to copy the text out of a PDF file so I can reformat it and use it in a word-processing program?


A file in portable document format can display and print in full color with fonts, pictures and graphics that are all embedded within the document. Recipients of PDF documents do not need the original layout program or typefaces to open the file, just the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.


It is possible to extract the text from a PDF file for use in another program, and there are several ways to do it. You may encounter problems trying to copy the text, however, if the file has been copy-protected by its creator or if the type you want was created as an image file instead of embedded text.


If you have the file open in the Acrobat Reader program and have clicked on the Text Select Tool from the menu bar, you can usually drag the mouse over text and copy it with the standard keyboard or menu commands, and then paste it into your word-processing program.


Text arranged in columns within the PDF file may come in mixed together because the Text Select Tool reads horizontally across the page, but you can drag the mouse around each column to select it in order by holding down the control key in Windows or the option key on the Macintosh.


If you have a large PDF file to copy, text-extraction software can help automate the process. Web sites like PDF Zone ( and the PDF Store ( sell professional software to harvest the text from PDF files, but many shareware sites like Tucows ( also have smaller, less expensive programs that can handle the job.

All the best


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Francisco Herrerias  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:40
Member (2012)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks! Feb 17, 2003

That\'s a great piece of information!

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Dinorah Maria Tijerino-Acosta
Local time: 18:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
I have done it Feb 18, 2003

And it really works, but not for the images, and in those cases when the images contain text, then it doesn\'t work. But as far as the general text goes, it does work.


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Copying from PDF to Word

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