I have some pdf files I downloaded from the Internet that seem to have a lot of hidden text that I cannot see or read but the find function lists words I search for. I have current version of the fee acrobat reader but do I need another tool to see the hidden text? I tried changing background and foreground colors to white and black but that did not help. I read that pdf files can hide text using layers but no idea what that is all about.

  • To dig deeper into the document, you will need Acrobat Pro (Standard may work too). There you could try the Edit Text tool to locate the texts via their bounding boxes, and you should see the text properties, which you can then change. – Max Wyss Oct 27 '15 at 17:41

I would try using Select All (under Edit, or Ctrl+A), then copying the text and pasting it into some other app such as Wordpad where you can change the font and read the text.

Alternatively, if you don't mind using a different app, you can download Foxit Reader (made by the company I work for) and use the "Text Viewer" button. This should show all text on a page in plaintext format. The button is available here in the "View" tab:

Foxit Reader View tab with Text Viewer button highlighted

Unfortunately I don't believe Adobe Reader has the same functionality.


I found that Adobe Illustrator can do this by changing the colors to high contrast. This did not work in Acrobat Reader for some reason.

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