How to Search PDF

Arguable, one of the top pet peeves of any PDF user is the inability to search PDF text in overly long PDF files. This is especially true when it comes to handling a scanned or image PDF document. This is because scanned PDFs do not contain letters and words that are recognized as digital text. They are only an image of text and letters with no real data behind it.

For this reason, there is a special way to make a scanned PDF document searchable. This begins by making the text recognizable by using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology. Once this is done, you can search PDFs properly. With Acrobat 11 Pro, you can make text recognizable in a single document or in a number of documents.


To Recognize Text in a Single PDF Document by using Adobe Acrobat 11 Pro:

  • 1Open the scanned PDF and go to View > Tools > Text Recognition.
Acrobat Text Recognition Option
  • 2Choose In This File from the Text Recognition section in the Tools Pane.
Processing PDF Text Recognition
  • 3Choose your settings in the Recognize Text dialogue box.
Acrobat Recognize Text

You can modify the settings by clicking on Edit.

Editing Acrobat OCR Settings

To Recognize Text in a number of Documents quickly:

  • 1Open Adobe Acrobat and choose Text Recognition from the Tools Pane menu.
  • 2Choose In Multiple Files.
Text Recognition Multiple Files
  • 3Click Add File in the dialogue box. Choose Add files, Add folders, or Add Open Files.
Acrobat Add Files Menu
  • 4Select your files or folders.
  • 5Choose your settings in the Output Options dialogue box. Again, select your options in the Recognize Text dialogue box that appears.
  • 6Click on OK.
  • After running the OCR engine on your scanned PDF, you should be able to search in PDF just as you would in a native PDF.
Acrobat Output Options