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I have a pdf that I can't copy text from.

I have tried several pdf readers: Foxit, Sumatra, PDF-XChange, mupdf
NONE of them allows me to simply copy the text!

What could cause this?

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2  
Can you post a link to a small PDF that demonstrates the issue? –  RedGrittyBrick Aug 1 '12 at 15:07
    
This does depend a lot on the PDF file concerned as almost every PDF viewer I have seen has a text select tool and can copy to clipboard but the PDF file itself can request the copy functionality to be disabled. –  Mokubai Aug 1 '12 at 16:47
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This issue may be due to password protection of the PDF file (that may prevent copying and/or printing) and not affected a particular PDF reader. –  Peter Mortensen Sep 19 '12 at 14:51
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@PeterMortensen, damn... post it as an answer & i accept it. it really did work! –  Rookie Sep 20 '12 at 10:14
    
@Rookie: Unfortunately, this question has been closed, so I can't post an answer. –  Peter Mortensen Sep 20 '12 at 14:12

3 Answers 3

Some PDFs are protected so you can't copy the text. This link shows how to do it in Acrobat.

Another possibility is that your "text" file is actually an image, i.e. it is created from a scan or a screendump. In that case it is still readable, but there is no text in it. If this is the case, a single click on the "text" in Acrobat will shade the whole text in a blue box.

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You can. I created a PDF file from this web page and then cut some text in Adobe Reader and pasted into Notepad.

Cutting text from Adobe Read

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That is super weird. I just tried other PDF files, and I can copy the text. Unbelievable. Looks like the other PDF was made by rendering the text into vector graphics, how convenient ! lol. –  Rookie Aug 1 '12 at 15:20
    
Ehh... i dont know what it is anymore. I can search the text by pressing that web-search button on foxit, but i cant copy it inside the program, only from the webpage where the Foxit copies it to. –  Rookie Aug 1 '12 at 15:38
    
@Rookie: Can you post a link to a small PDF that demonstrates the issue? –  RedGrittyBrick Aug 1 '12 at 16:02

You can copy text with Foxit, are you sure that the PDF wansn't made from an image?

Yes, you can copy text, I am not allowed to post images but believe me, I've just downloaded and installed FoxitReader 5.3.1.0606, I saved a PPT presentation as PDF, opened it in Foxit, selected text and copied it

enter image description here

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I can select the text... but i cant copy it, at least not for free. –  Rookie Aug 1 '12 at 14:59
    
Looks like the text was converted to vector graphics, thats why i couldnt copy it. I really thought that every single PDF reader has made the feature only for registered versions, that made more sense than someone converting text into vector graphics! –  Rookie Aug 1 '12 at 15:25
    
Ehh... i dont know what it is anymore. I can search the text by pressing that web-search button on foxit, but i cant copy it inside the program, only from the webpage where the Foxit copies it to. –  Rookie Aug 1 '12 at 15:39

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