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How to Make a PDF Searchable Online with OCR

by Hung Nguyen

Online tool to convert and extract text into searchable content within PDF files for free. No software download is needed.

If you cannot search a PDF file for its content, the whole file probably has been saved as one big image. The most common use case is for scanned PDF files. Otherwise, the content of the PDF has been protected to prevent editing and copying. To reverse this, you can use Smallpdf’s OCR feature to extract the text into an editable Word file, and then convert it back to PDF if needed.

How to make a PDF searchable using Smallpdf converters:

  1. Access the online PDF to Word converter.

  2. Drag and drop your PDF into the blue toolbox.

  3. Choose the option to ‘Convert to Word with OCR’.

  4. Download the Word file, with searchable content.

  5. Click ‘Word to PDF’ via the footer to save it as a now searchable PDF.

How to make a PDF searchable online using two converters

In case you need another party to open the PDF files in a search-only state, you can use the PDF to Word tool to convert scans back to PDF format. With this tool, a searchable PDF will be created, free of charge.

Can I convert PDF to searchable PDF for free?

 

The converters on our website are free for limited use, at no cost. Once you have used up your free access, trial accounts are also available for half a month to remove the usage limits. Furthermore, a variety of additional features are also added for subscribers to enhance scans saved as PDF documents. You will unlock unlimited access to the OCR process to recognize text and make searchable PDF files. On top of that, you can also merge, split, rotate, and add additional text to your editable PDF. Text layers and formatting will be retained, as needed. And if you are a current user of another PDF provider, such as Adobe Acrobat, do check out our pricing if you wish to switch to a more affordable and as effective alternative.

Can I undo the process?

 

Once you make a PDF searchable, you can also reverse this process in two different ways. The most common method would be to convert it to a JPG file, which turns the content into an image again. Doing so will effectively lock a PDF file from being edited altogether; the full ‘How to Lock a PDF from Editing’ is available on our blog to assist you.

The other option would be to encrypt the PDF with a password that one would need to type in to view the content. The latter would allow those who have the access password to search the PDF for its content.

And finally, if you are a newbie to the PDF format and have no clue on how to search a PDF, this can be done with any PDF reader by having the document opened and pressing CTRL/Command + F. A full guide on how to search a PDF has also been written, all to make PDF easy for you!

And finally, if you are a newbie to the PDF format and have no clue on how to search a PDF, this can be done with any PDF reader by having the document opened and pressing CTRL/Command + F. A full guide on how to search a PDF has also been written, all to make PDF easy for you!

Hung Nguyen
Marketing & Customer Satisfaction Manager
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