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How to Copy Text from PDF

by Hung Nguyen

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

Learn how to easily copy and paste text, tables, and other content formats from PDF documents in a few clicks. We make PDF easy.

Typically, to copy and paste from a PDF, you highlight, right-click, and copy as you normally would, as with any digital document. However, there are two instances when this may not be feasible; when you are dealing with a scanned PDF or a secured pdf - protected from editing. Rather than opting to purchase a software purely to unlock the protection or an expensive OCR solution, you can simply use ours, to freely extract text from your PDF.

How to copy text from a PDF for free?

  1. Upload the PDF document to the PDF converter.

  2. Choose an output format; Word is the safest bet.

  3. Wait for the text extraction to begin.

  4. Download your new file with all text copied.


Copy and extract all text from a PDF with Smallpdf

Afterward, you can freely select and copy the text as needed. If you need to edit the copied content, choose Microsoft Word as the output option from the three available formats. Regardless of whether it was a protected PDF or a scanned PDF, content copying will now be enabled once you have carried out the conversion process.

How do I copy text from a PDF to Word?


As stated above, by converting the PDF document to another format, you will copy and paste all the text, as well as other content types, i.e., images and tables, into an editable text document. Choose Word, PPT, or Excel, depending on your needs, as well as the original format of the PDF document. Once you have done this, you can select the text as you would with any ordinary file.

If you wish to turn the original PDF document into a PDF file that one can copy and paste text, all you have to do is convert the file to PDF format. This process can be done via the very same PDF converter, or you can click ‘Save As’ from the Microsoft Office file.

Can I copy text from multiple PDFs at once?


OCR is currently not enabled on Smallpdf for the batch processing. Still, a short fix would be first to merge the PDF files into one document and then proceed to the conversion. Doing so would allow you to extract mass text from your PDFs into one large file within your text editor.

As you hover your mouse button and click on ‘All tools’ on the header of any tool page, a comprehensive list of all available functionalities offered by Smallpdf will be shown. Aside from allowing one to copy text from PDF files, you can also click ‘Edit PDF’ to add annotations, text, as well as various shapes and images to your document.

Do you discard my files?


Yes, yes, and yes. We process just north of a million documents every single day. Our popularity has grown thanks to the various security measures we have deployed to maintain a safe infrastructure for our user base. Secure, military-grade SSL encryption will protect your documents from file uploads, transfers, and downloads. We also discard files after one hour of processing. You can convert as many files as you’d like, back and forth between their file formats.

Also, if you decide to open the PDF with our offline tool, the options of file transfers will be directly embedded into the PDF reader, all for your convenience. For the PDF to Word, PPT, and Excel tools - no document will be uploaded, as Smallpdf Desktop process files locally. It can’t get any more secure than that!

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Senior Growth Marketing Manager @Smallpdf