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How to OCR a PDF with Adobe


This guide describes how to use the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) function in Adobe Acrobat Pro 8 (or above) to create searchable and/or editable documents (such as Word docs):





  • Academic and Administrative Staff: if the software is not available on your Office PC, please get in touch with your local IT User Support (Site Office).
  • Researchers and Fellows: Adobe Acrobat Pro is not available on all machines: please use a public access PC nearest to you.



  1. Open the .PDF file you wish to OCR in Adobe Acrobat Pro
  2. Click Document > Select OCR Text Recognition > Recognize Text Using OCR... menu
  3. In the Recognize Text window, choose what pages you would like to OCR (single, all, range)
  4. Click Edit if you want to change other settings like Primary OCR Language (it is suggested to leave all others as per default)
  5. Click the OK to start: a progress bar will open up until it completes
  6. Click File > Save As to save file as a PDF with searchable text; or
  7. Depending on the type of the document (text, table, etc.), in the Save as type field change file format to Microsoft Word Document (*.doc) or any other editable format (Excel, etc.).

Page last updated on 20 August 2017

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