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Using Adobe Reader 9 I'm looking at a PDF document with pages and pages of text.

I think it's a scanned graphic rather than true text. I'm not particular familiar with the PDF format but I assume it distinguishes between true text content and graphic content (something like HTML does or MSWord).

Acrobat has various tools/modes. If I select the Select Tool and drag the mouse across the text and it just creates a rectangle, (rather than block highlighting the words) then it's a graphic right?

As you might have guessed I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I just want to be sure.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Acrobat Reader should have a select text tool, use that instead of the regular select tool. The select text tool has a capital T beside a caret as in these two web pages.

I have not used Acrobat Reader in ages, so I cannot confirm if select text is still available in version 9. If it is not, then try using the regular select tool and then copy. If you can paste it into Notepad or the Run dialog, then it is text, if you can paste it into MSPaint, it is a graphic.

As an alternative, you could also use another program for PDFs. Foxit is popular and has a free reader just like Acrobat does, but I personally use Google Chrome now because it has a PDF plugin that works great for pretty much any general PDF reading purposes, including selecting and copying text (Chrome is great as a PDF reader even if you don’t want to use it as a browser!)

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Yes. Using select tool is easiest way to determine that. However, sometimes Adobe Reader uses OCR to copy text from images as a text, not image.

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I don't know anything about Adobe Reader, but the PDF tools that I am familiar with (Okular and Evince) have an option to show fonts for a document. A document that shows no fonts is probably scanned, while one that refers to at least one font might have real text. It's by no means fool-proof, but maybe better than nothing?

If Adobe Rearder doesn't list fonts, then maybe the utilities that come with Poppler (the library behind Okular and Evince) can help?

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