How to Convert PDFs to Be Searchable

By Joshua Laud

If you have scanned documents, magazine articles or book pages to your computer and saved the scans in the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), then you may want to search through the files. When you scan a document, you scan the image of the document, rather than the text. If you want to make a PDF searchable, then you must use optical character recognition (OCR) software. OCR software scans through images for characters and then converts those to digital text and thus makes them searchable.

Step 1

Go to one of the following OCR websites: Free OCR, New OCR or Free Online OCR. Each of these websites offers, essentially, an identical service and so there will be little difference in which you choose.

Step 2

Click "Choose File," then locate and select your PDF document to be converted.

Step 3

Click "Convert" or "Send File," depending on the service you use. After the conversion, your download will start. Open this file and it will now be searchable.