I want to OCR a pdf to make it searchable.

Suppose you have a PDF document that was made using a scanner, or otherwise consists of image data but doesn't have text data. Such a PDF can't be searched by PDF readers or desktop search applications. pdfocr is a simple utility I made that takes a PDF file, then generates a new one that has the text layer added, so it's searchable by your PDF reader and can be indexed by your desktop search application, but is still identical when printed.

From Howto: Make scanned PDFs searchable (OCR) using pdfocr

Currenly, windows software like FreeOCR only makes a TXT file out of the pdf, but I want that original pdf only that it's searchable.

1 Answer 1


Adobe Acrobat has the functionality you refer to. In Acrobat 10/11 the functionality is under the "Recognize Text" section of the tools (see official documentation). The same functionality was available in older versions, but was accessed slightly differently (see Adobe's blog).

You can perform OCR on any or all pages individually and the PDF appears identical after applying OCR (but is then searchable).

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