How to Copy Text from PDF on Mac: Efficient Methods and Solutions

Summary :

Copying text from PDF on Mac can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can do it efficiently. In this article, we’ll explore how to copy text from PDF on Mac in different ways.

Table of Contents

How to Copy Text from PDF on Mac

How to Copy Text from PDF on Mac

Is it hard to copy text in PDF files? For most people, the answer is probably yes. People often wonder why text cannot be copied and pasted in PDFs. Especially when copying text from scanned PDFs, image-based PDFs, and protected PDFs, this can take hours. However, with the continuous upgrading of technology, these problems have been solved.

In this article, we will introduce some methods to copy PDF text on Mac to help you solve the problem quickly and efficiently.

How to Copy Text from PDF on Mac with Preview

Preview is a versatile default program that is available on all Macs. It allows you to view various documents easily and quickly and also supports some basic editing functions, such as PDF text extraction. Due to its user-friendly interface and seamless integration with the operating system, it stands as the ideal option for Mac users.

If you want to know how to copy text in a PDF with Preview on your Mac, you can check out the following tutorial.

Step 1. Open the PDF File

Select a PDF file in your device > Right-click your mouse > Hover over “Open with” > Select “Preview”.

Open PDF with Preview

Open PDF with Preview

Step 2. Select the Text

Click “Tools” > “Text Selection” > Drag the cursor to select the file you want to copy.

Or hold down the “Option” key and select text.

Select Text in Preview

Select Text in Preview

Step 3. Copy the Text

Click “Edit” > “Copy” to copy the selected text successfully.

Copy Text in Preview

Copy Text in Preview

How to Copy Text from Scanned PDF on Mac

If the PDF document is a scanned PDF, the situation becomes a little more complicated. Because scanned PDFs are essentially images, it becomes more challenging to select and copy the text in them.

Fortunately, after converting PDF to Word format, it is easy to copy or edit the text. There are many PDF tools that can do this now, and PDFgear, as a free tool used by millions of people around the world, has excellent features to provide users with excellent PDF solutions.

Read on to see how to copy text in a scanned PDF with PDFgear.

Step 1. Visit PDFgear Online Converter

Open the PDFgear website, and go to PDFgear online PDF to Word converter.

Step 2. Upload the Scanned PDF File

Click “Choose Files” or drag and drop the document to upload the target document then wait for the website to complete the conversion.

Open the Scanned PDF

Open the Scanned PDF

Step 3. Download the Word Document

After the document format conversion is complete, click “Download” to save the editable Word document.

Download the Word Document

Download the Word Document

Step 4. Copy the Text

Use Microsoft Word to open the downloaded document > Select the text you want to copy with your cursor > Right-click and select “Copy”.

Alternatively, use the shortcut “Ctrl+C” to copy the text.

Copy the Text in Word

Copy the Text in Word

How to Copy Text from Image-Based PDF on Mac

Image-based PDFs are not as easy to copy text as scanned PDFs. However, some OCR tools are a great help in solving this problem. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tools can recognize text in image-based PDFS and make it searchable and replicable.

PDFgear Desktop OCR is a powerful solution for this situation, capable of quickly converting PDFs to text and supporting multiple languages.

With PDFgear, you can follow the next steps to copy text in an image-based PDF on your Mac.

Step 1. Open PDF with PDFgear

Go to the PDFgear official website to install it > Click Open File > Choose a PDF from your Mac.

Import a PDF to PDFgear Desktop

Import a PDF to PDFgear Desktop

Step 2. OCR PDF with PDFgear

Click the “OCR” button in the upper menu bar > Select the required area > Click “Done”.

OCR PDF in PDFgear Desktop

OCR PDF in PDFgear Desktop

Step 3. Copy the Text to Clipboard

In the pop-up window, you can choose to copy the text to the clipboard or save it as a text file.

Copy the Text with PDFgear Desktop

Copy the Text with PDFgear Desktop

How to Copy Text from Secured PDF on Mac

As technology advances, information security is becoming more and more important to businesses and individuals. Provide an extra layer of protection for PDFs to control who can view and edit secured PDFs. In this case, copying text in a secure PDF becomes more difficult without the permission password, but not impossible.

The easiest way to unlock protected documents and copy text from them without password restrictions on Mac is by utilizing some unlocking software. PDFgear online unlocker is a completely cloud-based PDF unlocker that can unlock secured PDFs in minutes without downloading any software.

Follow the steps below to unlock your PDF with the best free PDFgear online unlocker.

Step 1. Visit PDFgear Online Unlocker

Visit the PDFgear website on your computer browser and find the online PDF unlocker.

Step 2. Upload the Secured PDF

Click “Select PDF files” or drag/drop files to upload the PDF file to be unlocked.

Upload the Secured PDF

Upload the Secured PDF

Step 3. Download the PDF

Wait for a few seconds, PDFgear will automatically start decrypting. After the decryption is complete, click “Download” and the PDF will be saved locally.

Download the PDF

Download the PDF

Step 4. Open the Decrypted PDF

Visit PDFgear Online PDF Editor, and upload the local PDF.

Open the PDF with PDF Editor

Open the PDF with PDF Editor

Step 5. Copy Text from PDF

Select the text to be copied, right-click the mouse > click “Copy”, and the text in the secured PDF can be successfully copied.

Copy Text in PDF with PDF Editor

Copy Text in PDF with PDF Editor


Why I Can’t Copy the Text From the PDF on Mac?

There are many reasons why text in PDF cannot be copied on Mac. The two most common causes are:

1. The PDF document is scanned or only contains images.

2. The PDF document is protected, and the function of preventing copying is turned on.

How To Copy Text From a PDF on Mac?

Depending on the PDF document, the method for copying text in a PDF on the Mac varies.

How to copy ordinary PDF text: Use the Mac’s Preview function to copy the desired PDF text in a few minutes

How to copy text in image-based PDF: The easiest way is to use the OCR tool. PDFgear Desktop OCR is a powerful tool that can quickly copy the text of a PDF in only three steps.

How to copy the text in a secure PDF: First, go to PDRgear Online Unlocker to crack the PDF password, and then PDFgear’s PDF editing function can help you quickly get the PDF text you want to copy.

How Do I Copy Text From a PDF to Word on a Mac?

The easiest way to copy text from PDF to Word is to use Preview.

Open the PDF in Preview > Click “Tools” > “Text Selection” to select the text to be copied > Click “Copy” to copy the text to the clipboard.


Copying text from PDF on Mac can be a challenging task, especially when faced with scanned or secured PDFs. However, tools such as Preview and PDFgear provide effective solutions for these scenarios. After learning these methods, you will be able to process PDF documents more efficiently and quickly.

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