I have a PDF created from a scanned document. OCR was used to recognize text. In Acrobat, if I select text, and click 'copy with formatting', I can paste the formatted text into Word, so it seems that fonts and colors are also embedded in the document in addition to just plain text and possibly the size.

Is there any way to use this information to create a PDF that just contains the formatted OCRd text, without the scanned image. Currently, my document only shows the scanned image, and the text is on an invisible layer. I would like to create a PDF document that removes the image that was scanned, and displays the formatted text that is currently hidden.

The following post has a section on "How can we make the invisible text visible?" PDF has an extra blank in all words after running through Ghostscript

However, doing this does not show the correct text formatting (that is retained when pasting in Word), and I also would like to remove the scanned image so that the final PDF just contains formatted (color, font, size) vector fonts, and no images.

1 Answer 1


Does everyone do everything the hard way now, because the programs are more complex than necessary What I read is that you are done, you have mastered full control of a scanned text image, other than doing some minor reformatting.

The whole question I am just not understanding. When we OCR here with the most simple free software that comes with the scanner, it can give me 3 simple things.

  1. The Text, raw text the way I wanted it most, no formatting, no colors, not much word wrapping, it is just the "code" for what letters it saw. It doesn't have to be retyped and re-spell checked. That text can be re-Flowed and re-formatted, resized, recolorised. The Human is just happy to not have to retype it. It is Very Malable adjustable and tiny, it is just the code for characters.

    OCR software that puts spaces between all the letters should either be reconfigured or tossed If it put spaces there because they existed, then so to it will exist again Skip that I am leaving them. Maybe a bit of reKerning (pushing letters together) in the word/pdf program to squeeze it up.

  2. Rich Text formatted columnised, paragraphed, wrapped, and could be colored or sized, but changing that is easy. This OCR selection is useful to drop it AS-IS preformatted and re-print/use it clean as it was. it is still very small size, no graphics or images. IF I use the formatted text, and want to Re-format it for a different layout/formatting, I might as well have just OCRed the text only (1), used the RAW text and quickly re-flowed, reformatted it and re-colorised it.

  3. The Graphic, things that cannot be OCRed because it cannot recognize letters, this could be the whole page, or parts of the page, like a signature, or some messed up areas, or Picture items.

This Scanned section can be used with (1) or (2) to either manually place graphic back into the re-formatted docs or just put pasted into the formatted area. If the "graphic" or background noise of the page is unnecessary, then the OCR software is set to do only (1) or (2), what OCR does best. (1) figure out what the text is and ignore everything else. Or (2) figure the text and the formatting and layout of the text.

This (3) image cannot make it to the "copy Buffer" of the standard Windows stuff, WITH raw text or formatted text at the same time for normal cross program copy paste. It is not Just text, or just RTF, it is not Just Picture, it is a messy combo. It could be a "special data" copy paste.

It could be printed out of the OCR software, or a PDF "printing" could be made from the OCR software (where it is still assembled). Basically the computer/programs copy buffer can do (1) text, can do (2) text with formatting. But to do the image and Rich Text also, isnt that "mixing up data" for other programs to recognize it?

Selecting the Text ONLY in a PDF document that had text in it, would move the text into the copy paste buffer. You could paste that text into anything, and already have, changing any spacing or paragraphing and tabbing could be done in a Wurd program.

A PDF can be text only, text with formatting, text and image, and it is all separable in one quick move unless it is protected. Copy Paste. Paste just the text (you already were able to paste to Word) into a PDF and make a simple text only PDF.

IF it is Vector (points and curves) outline of the text? Invisable, whos brilliant idea was it to have that available when doing such simple things? Some programmer who cant leave well enough alone It would have to be Re-OCRed it is no longer raw text code. You could not copy paste Vector text/graphics as text characters.

With the vectors, in Photoshop you could re-stylize it, bend it re-fit it, it is vectors, but not Text Characters, very hard to re-flow or Re-Format now. The size increases dramatically if it is vectors.

IF it is rasterized (made it a Picture instead of vectors) which sort of finalizes the outline, then did not "stroke" the vector outline or stylize it. The turning it into a "picture/Graphic" again, instead of RTF text or Vectors, locks out the ease of flowing, the re-wrapping, the reformatting. The size would be the largest size once rasterized.

And Your having troubles flowing it into a PDF or a WORD then they are going to re-code the PDF, so your asking a question, and me I am looking at it thinking:

  1. you got it
  2. you have major control of it, more than needed
  3. you were able to do anything with it anything
  4. how could you possibly be lost you have mastered convertings it
  5. you have both the pictures and the text
  6. you were able to copy paste the text
  7. you have it all.

This has been edited since the comments were posted.

  • I didn't scan the documents, so I don't have access to those three options. They were scanned by a service called 1DollarScan (1dollarscan.com), and I am not sure what options they had, but now I have PDF documents, and I would like to be able to extract the formatted text so that the documents take up less room (some of them are hundreds of megabytes) and so that I can read them on a Kindle (which can display PDF images, but I would prefer the text so that I don't have to zoom in and scroll on a PDF).
    – dannyadam
    Dec 19, 2011 at 7:36
  • But again your Question Indicates you HAVE that? what am I missing? copy the text from the PDF using text select, and paste it into the lowest form of notepad. and what do you see? I have a WristWatch that could read what you described in the question, i do not understand how you cannot get it into a $300 readers???
    – Psycogeek
    Dec 19, 2011 at 7:54
  • I want to retain the formatting. An alternative option is that I can Save As to Word, which retains the formatting. However, if it's possible to remove the images from the PDF and retain the formatted text, I would like to compare this method to saving in Word format, to see if they both produce the same quality output. I am also curious if there is a utility that could do this as I could possibly use it for other PDF edits.
    – dannyadam
    Dec 19, 2011 at 8:46
  • Ok, I get it I am reading more of the other painfull :-) thread. So the real question, might be something like: "How can I script the removal of the scanned grafic image, maintain the formatting of the OCR text layer, Un-hide the OCR text and colorise as desired." or How can I shrink this Dual function PDF With both Scanned Image and Text layer so it isnt so rediculously sized :-)
    – Psycogeek
    Dec 19, 2011 at 9:05
  • I posted that link since it had a starting point for displaying the text. I didn't check all the details in the post. That is a correct way to re-phrase my question: "How can I script the removal of the scanned grafic image..." Regarding the ways to shrink the file, I tried some and they sacrificed too much quality, which is what led me to thinking about how to retain just the vector formatted fonts.
    – dannyadam
    Dec 19, 2011 at 9:36

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