How to Copy Text from a PDF [Scanned and Protected PDF Included]

Last updated on May 20, 2024
Approved by Jon Martindale

Summary :

Wondering how to copy text from protected, restricted or scanned PDF files? This article proposes four feasible solutions with detailed steps and screenshots, so that you can easily understand how to do it.

Table of Contents

How To Copy Text From a PDF

How To Copy Text From a PDF

Copying and pasting text in a standard PDF document from it is as straightforward as opening it in a PDF Reader, like PDFgear and Adobe Acrobat, highlighting the text, and then pressing Ctrl + C.

However, if the file is scanned, that can be a little more difficult. You can’t copy text from images that way, either.

But PDFgear isn’t like your everyday PDF Reader. It’s a free PDF Editor and text extraction tool that can get around any scanned PDFs that are in your way.

👉 A free PDF Editor and text copier will be introduced, get PDFgear and start right now.

Copy Text from a PDF Online Free

When working with a standard PDF document, PDFgear enables you to copy text online in just two simple steps without the need for software installation, subscriptions, or dealing with watermarks.

Step 1. Go to the PDFgear online editor and upload your PDF file by clicking Upload PDF files.

Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file to the upload box.

Select a PDF and Upload

Select a PDF and Upload to PDFgear Online Editor

Step 2. Once the file is opened, drag the mouse to select the text you want to copy. Right-click your mouse and hit the “Copy” button.

Copy Text from a PDF with PDFgear Online Editor

Copy Text from a PDF with PDFgear Online Editor

For a scanned PDF or protected PDF, the following 3 ways can meet your needs.

How to Copy Text from Scanned PDF with OCR Tool

If you have scanned a document into a PDF file, then it may appear as a singular image which you can’t copy the text from so readily.

Fortunately, PDFgear offers you a solution: the OCR tool. This is an image recognition technology that can accurately identify the text content in a picture and copy or save it as a separate file.

So you can use the OCR tool to extract text from a pdf.

Download PDFgear (Windows, Mac, and iOS are compatible) and install it like you would any application, then run it.

PDFgear – Free PDF OCR Editor

Freely copy text from scanned PDFs with a professional, free OCR tool, without restrictions, subscriptions, or watermarks.

Step 1. Open a PDF with PDFgear

Select a PDF file in your device, then right-click it, and select Open with, then choose PDFgear.

Open PDF Using PDFgear

Open PDF Using PDFgear

Step 2. OCR the PDF

Select the OCR button, then select the area you want to extract text from. Then select done.

In the pop-up window, you can choose to Copy text to clipboard or Save it as a Text file.

Extract Text with OCR Button

Extract Text with OCR Button

Copy Text from PDF with PDF to Word Converter

Word documents allow editing, copying, and changes. Therefore, if we can convert a scanned PDF into an editable Word document, we can copy and paste the content from it. You can do that for free using PDFgear.

Step 1. Access the PDFgear Converter

Download and install PDFgear on your device, navigate to “Hot Tools”, and click the “PDF to Word” button.

Navigate to the PDF to Word Button

Navigate to the PDF to Word Button

Step 2. Convert PDF to Editable Word

Click “Add File” and select a PDF file to import. Moreover, you can batch-process multiple PDFs without any restrictions. Then check the OCR option and choose the document language. Finally, hit “Convert”.

Check the OCR Option in PDFgear

Check the OCR Option in PDFgear

Step 3. Copy Text from Word

Open the converted document with Word or your favorite word pressing software. Select the text you want to copy, then   use the shortcut key “Ctrl + C” to copy.

How to Copy Text from Protected PDF

If a PDF file is password-protected or has specific operational permissions set, copying and pasting from the PDF will be restricted. In such cases, you can use PDFgear to remove the password and then freely copy the text. PDFgear provides all these features at no cost.

However, you must know the correct password to initially open the PDF.

Step 1. Open PDF with PDFgear

Download PDFgear and select Open File to choose a file from your device.

Import the PDF to PDFgear Desktop

Import the PDF to PDFgear

Step 2. Remove the Password from PDF

Locate Tools in the middle-upper ribbon, then select  RemoveA pop-up window will appear to reconfirm with you if you want to remove the password Select Yes.

Clear the PDF Password

Clear the PDF Password

Then open the PDF without a password with PDFgear and copy the text from it directly. Even you can edit, delete, and modify the text in the PDF with PDFgear.

Step 3. Copy PDF Text

Now from the PDF reader screen, you can easily select and copy text from PDF. If your PDF is a scanned document, learn from our guide on how to copy text from scanned PDFs.

Copy Text in PDF

Copy Text in PDF


Why Can’t I Copy the Text in PDF?

You will not be able to copy text from a scanned PDF. However, PDFgear can assist you in copying text by performing OCR on images or converting them to editable Word documents.

How Do I Copy Text from a PDF to Word?

Simply download and open PDFgear, click on the “PDF to Word” button, import your file, and select the OCR option to convert it into an editable Word document. You can then easily copy the text in Word using the shortcut keys “Ctrl + C” and “Ctrl + V”.

Is It Possible to Extract Text from PDF?

Sure! You can extract text from PDF with PDFgear. Fire up the PDFgear then select Open File to import a PDF from the device. Select the OCR button, then use your mouse to select an area to extract text from. Then select done.

How Do I Copy Text from a Protected PDF?

If the PDF is password-protected, you can import it to the PDFgear, and select the Remove button in the Tools tab to clear the password and lift restrictions.


Now you can freely copy text from PDF files without limitations. With the right tools at hand, it’s easy to extract text from a PDF file, whether it’s in text form or as a scanned image. Whether you’re editing PDFs, or trying to copy text from one, PDFgear is the best tool for the job.

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