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Convert non-searchable PDF documents into searchable and selectable text in seconds. It’s free and fast to get more accessible, easier to use documents, without manually rewriting scanned text.

  • Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux devices
  • Browser-based OCR—no installation needed
  • Trusted by 2.4 billion people since 2013

Best Online Tool for PDF OCR

Our OCR on PDF tool lets you quickly create a searchable PDF with selectable text. Make non-selectable text easy to copy, make non-searchable text easy to find. It’s really, well, easy.

From Static PDF Image to Searchable PDF Text

You’ve seen PDFs that are basically images of text—and this text can’t be searched or selected. Our PDF OCR tool extracts the text, so you can search and select that nugget you need.

Enhancing Text Quality With OCR

OCR can help enhance the visual quality of old or poor-quality scans. How? By recognizing the scanned words and replacing them with clean, digitally-rendered text.

Searchable + Selectable = Accessible

A PDF with OCR-recognized text can be more easily read by screen readers, making documents more accessible to visually impaired users.

How To Do OCR on PDF for Free

  1. ​​Import or drag & drop your file to our PDF OCR tool.
  2. Wait a few seconds while our OCR tech works its magic.
  3. Edit the PDF with our other tools if needed.
  4. Download or share your editable PDF file—done!

Make Any PDF Readable With OCR

  • OCR on Any Device

    Smallpdf is cloud-based, so you can run OCR online via any browser and on any device— desktop, tablet, and mobile.

  • Turn PDF Images Into Selectable Text

    You open a PDF, try to copy some text, and realize it’s one of those scanned PDFs that can’t be copied. Until now. Get selectable text from any PDF in seconds.

  • Translate Scanned Documents

    Our PDF OCR tool turns scanned files into useful text—and then it can translate it into multiple languages. So you can read in your native language, or translate into someone else’s.

  • Export PDF to Searchable Word Doc

    Once you’ve used OCR to get readable text, you can save your file as a searchable PDF—or convert it to a Word document. We’ll do all the work for you.

  • Love PDFs for the First Time

    No downloads, no signups. We’ve made it so easy to extract PDF pages, people may get tired of hearing you say ‘I love PDF.’

  • Data Compliance From Start to Finish

    Smallpdf is GDPR compliant, so you can trust we’re transparent about how we store, collect, and process personal data.

FAQs About Our PDF OCR Tool

  • What Is OCR?

    OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It’s a technology used to convert printed or handwritten text from documents, images, or scanned pages into editable and searchable digital text. This makes it easier to manipulate and share the text, and also makes documents more accessible to screen readers to help the visually impaired.

  • Can I convert a PDF file into a Word doc I can edit using OCR?

    Absolutely. The first thing to do is make sure you have a searchable, selectable PDF document. If your PDF text isn’t readable, that’s where the OCR comes in. After that, you can easily convert your searchable PDF into a DOCX file online with our free PDF to Word Converter.

  • Does OCR on PDF documents work for any language?

    The Smallpdf OCR online tool can make documents readable in most languages. Even better than that, though, you can automatically translate searchable PDF documents into nearly any other language. This makes it easier for you to read in your native language, and it lets you automatically convert PDFs into your audiences’ languages, too.

  • Can I use the Smallpdf OCR online tool for free?

    Yes! All of our online PDF tools are free to use, though some limits apply. So you can run your PDFs through OCR, reduce document file sizes, convert between PDF and other file types like MS Office files, JPG, PNG, and GIF—and so much more. For OCR, just drop your docs into the box at the top of this page. Or check out our other free tools in the menu above.

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