How to Enable OCR in Adobe Acrobat

By Zicheng Ren

Both Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat support optical character recognition in PDF files. OCR can recognize and convert characters such as English letters or Chinese symbols in images of typewritten text into machine-encoded text that you can manipulate. Adobe Reader allows subscribed users to use OCR to convert documents. Adobe Acrobat allows you to use text recognition with an optimization procedure.

Enable OCR in Adobe Reader

Step 1

Open a PDF file and click **Tools** from the menu bar.

Step 2

Click **Change** under the **Export PDF** section to recognize the text in the document.

Step 3

Choose a language for the text in the document under **Recognize Text In** and click **OK.** For example, choose **English (U.S.)** if the text in the PDF file is in English. You can also disable the OCR feature in this window by toggling the **Disable Text Recognition** button.

Step 4

Sign into your Adobe account in order to convert the PDF file to other document types such as Microsoft Word. Click **Convert** to export the file. Open the file in Word and edit it as you like.

Enable OCR in Adobe Acobat

Step 1

Open a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and click **Tools** on the menu bar.

Step 2

Click **Optimize Scanned PDF** under **Document Processing** to set up optimization options for the PDF.

Step 3

Check the **Make Searchable (Apply OCR)** check box under the **OCR Options** section. You can also change the settings under **Optimization Options** and **Filters** sections according to your preference. Click "Edit" under "OCR Options" to enter the language of the text in the document if it isn't English. Click **OK**. The text in the image can now be copied and pasted into a word processor to be edited.(see references 1, 2, 3)

Tips & Warnings

  • You need to sign up for a paid Adobe Reader account to use the OCR feature and convert the PDF file to other types of documents.