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Some PDFs are scanned at horrendous quality yet seem to overlay this over actual text. I'm not exactly sure how this happens but I suppose an example is worth a thousand words. See this pdf:

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~shmat/courses/cs380s/prudent.pdf

Notice the terrible quality. However, if you select the text (tested in "Document Viewer 2.30.3", which is evince I think) by dragging the mouse over it or just Ctrl-A'ing it, suddenly the text is all clear. How do I remove the terrible quality overlay and just see the text?

Edit: screenshots

Original

versus

Selected

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    I don't think it's so much of an overlay as much as OCR'd text. Highlighting it certainly doesn't change anything about the text (other than highlighting it) for me. – Rob Oct 25 '11 at 16:09
  • added screenshots of what I see. @Rob if it's OCR, then that's what I'd like to see rather than the "actual content" – Mala Oct 25 '11 at 16:56
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Have a look at this SU answer describing how to make invisible fonts visible.

I applied the same method to your file 'prudent.pdf'.

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