How To Copy Text From a Protected PDF or Scanned PDF

Last updated on February 7, 2024

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

Usually, you only need to open the PDF with a PDF Reader like Adobe, and then you can directly copy the text and paste it elsewhere.

But if that PDF file is password-protected or has some operation permissions set, then you cannot copy and paste from the PDF. Additionally, some PDFs are scanned or full of images, you cannot copy the text in them, too.

So is it possible to copy text from these PDF files? Of course, this guide will give you detailed instructions on how to copy text from PDF.

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

Remove Password and Copy Text from PDF FREE

In this case, you can remove the password from the PDF and then copy the text. PDFgear offers all the necessary features for free.

Free PDF Unlocker and Editor

Unlock PDF with password and copy or edit existing text in PDF files for free.

Below, you will find detailed instructions along with screenshots.

Step 1. Open PDF with PDFgear

Download PDFgear (Windows, Mac, and iOS are compatible) > Fire it up > Click Open File to choose a file from your device.

Import the PDF to PDFgear Desktop

Import the PDF to PDFgear

Step 2. Remove Password in PDF

Locate Tools in the middle-upper ribbon > Click Remove > A pop-up window appears to reconfirm with you if you want to remove the password > Hit 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 as the video shows below.

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

Check the Permission of the PDF

Have you ever wondered why you can’t copy and paste from a PDF? Scanned PDFs, secured, or restricted PDFs hinder text copying.

How can you determine if your PDF document is restricted? One of the simplest methods is to open it using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Here are the steps to check:

Open PDF with Adobe Acrobat Reader > Right-click the mouse and hit Document properties > Navigate to Security in the pop-up > Check if it is Not Allowed for Content Copying.

Check the Limitation of Your PDF

Check the Limitation of Your PDF

How to Copy Text from PDF via Printing

Another way to copy text from a secured PDF is to print a copy without limitation.

Step 1. Import PDF to PDFgear

Launch PDFgear > Import a PDF from your device by clicking Open File.

Step 2. Print A PDF Copy without a Password

Click Print in the upper-left corner > Choose All pages in the pop-up > Tap Print to Save a Copy of the PDF without Password.

Print a PDF with No Security 

Print a PDF with No Security

Further, you can password protect a PDF with PDFgear.

How to Copy Text from PDF with OCR Tool

And for the scanned pdf, how do you copy the text from it? 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.

Step 1. Open PDF with PDFgear

Select a PDF file in your device > Right-click your mouse > Hover over Open with > Choose PDFgear.

Open PDF Using PDFgear

Open PDF Using PDFgear

Step 2. OCR the PDF

Hit the OCR button > Box the area you desired > Click 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

If you don’t want to download a piece of software to your device, there are two online options available.

How to Copy Text from PDF through Conversion

As we all know, Word documents allow editing, copying, and changes. Therefore, if we can convert scanned PDF into an editable Word document, we can copy and paste the content from it.

Step 1. Access To PDFgear Online Converter

Go to PDFgear online PDF to Word converter > Upload your PDF file by clicking Choose files.

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

Upload PDF to PDFgear Online Converter

Upload PDF to PDFgear Online Converter

Step 2. Copy Text from Word

Tap Download to save the Word document > Open it with Microsoftware Word or other corresponding software > Use the shortcut key “Ctrl + C” to copy.

Download the Editable Word Converted by the PDF

Download the Editable Word Converted by the PDF

How to Copy Text from PDF Using Screenshot

Converting the whole scanned PDF to an editable Word document is a very feasible method. However, it is not a wise choice for PDF documents with a large number of pages. Because you may only need to copy a few pages or a few lines.

In this case, you can extract the pages you want from the PDF or take a screenshot and then convert them.

Step 1. Make a Screenshot

Open PDFgear > Click Screenshot > Select the area you desired > Hit Save > Choose a location to save the screenshot.

The screenshots will be saved as a PNG file.

Screenshot the PDF

Screenshot the PDF

Step 2. Convert PNG to PDF

Go to PDFgear online PNG to PDF converter > Click Choose files to upload the screenshot > You can upload multiple files by hitting Add Files > Tap Convert > Click Download to save the PDF file.

Change PNG to PDF Online

Change PNG to PDF Online

Step 3. Copy Text from PDF

Upload the PDF converted by the PNG to PDFgear online editor > Select the text > Right-click the mouse > Click Copy.

Copy Text from PDF Online

Copy Text from PDF Online


Why Can’t I Copy the Text in PDF?

You will not be able to copy text from a scanned PDF or a PDF with a password or limitations. However, PDFgear can assist you in copying text by removing passwords, printing copies, performing OCR on images, capturing screenshots, or converting them to editable Word documents.

How Do I Copy Text From a PDF to Word?

You only need to upload your PDF document to the PDFgear online editor, and then you can easily copy the text into Word using the shortcut keys “Ctrl + C” and “Ctrl + V”. Alternatively, you can directly convert PDF to Word using the PDFgear online converter.

Is It Possible To Extract Text From PDF?

Sure! You can extract text from PDF with PDFgear. Fire up the PDFgear > Click Open File to import a PDF from the device > Hit OCR button > Box an area with your mouse > Tap done.

How Do I Copy Text From a Protected PDF?

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


All right. Now you can freely copy text from PDF without limitation. With the right tools selected, everything can be done with ease. Therefore, try PDFgear, a free tool, and it will definitely surprise you.

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