2 Simple Methods to Make a PDF Searchable

Summary :

This article aims to tell you 2 simple ways to make a PDF searchable. With the right tool, your trouble vanishes.

Table of Contents

How to Make a PDF Searchable

How to Make a PDF Searchable

Converting a non-searchable PDF to a searchable one is easy to do with a variety of online tools and desktop software that can recognize text using OCR (optical character recognition) algorithms.

The entire process typically only takes a few seconds or minutes depending on the length of the document. Mostly, we can do this easily on PC. Also with the right tools, you can search in PDF on iPhone too.

Why PDFs Are Not Searchable

PDF files are static documents that preserve the visual appearance of text and images but don’t recognize the text itself, making their content unsearchable. This happens because PDFs essentially encapsulate text within images, lacking searchable text or metadata. To make PDFs searchable, they need to undergo optical character recognition (OCR) to extract and unlock the text elements within them.

How to Make a PDF Searchable in Adobe Acrobat Pro

When you click the “Edit PDF” tool in Adobe Acrobat Pro, it automatically scans and recognizes your PDF. By choosing to export it as a “PDF Searchable Image”, you will obtain a searchable PDF file.

Step 1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2. Click the Edit PDF tool on the right column.

Edit PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Edit PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Step 3. Press Ctrl and F on the keyboard > Type the words or sentence you want to search > Allow text recognition from the pop-out window.

Allow Text Recognition

Allow Text Recognition

Step 4. Once the OCR process is complete, click on Save As Other on the left side and select PDF Searchable Image as the file type. This will save a new copy of the PDF with searchable text.


Adobe Acrobat may be the most comprehensive tool for editing a PDF and making a PDF searchable on Windows or Mac. However, the bummer is obvious as well. It costs you a lot of money if go keep subscribing. We intend to show you a free but convenient way to make this conversion happen. PDFgear is the cure.

How to Make a PDF Searchable by Converting

Converting formats is also a good option to make a PDF searchable. PDFgear supports the conversion of over 20 file formats. As we all know, Word documents are editable. Therefore, if you convert a non-searchable PDF into an editable Word document, you’ll be able to perform searches within it.

Step 1. Upload the PDF to PDFgear Converter

Go to PDFgear PDF to Word online converter and click Choose file to upload the PDF. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the PDF to the upload box.

Add the PDF to PDFgear Online Converter

Add the PDF to PDFgear Online Converter

Step 2. Convert PDF to Word

Wait a moment, the conversion will be done automatically. Then, click “Download” to save this searchable Word document, or you can directly share this document on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Make a PDF Searchable

Make a PDF Searchable

Even if the PDF is a scanned one, PDFgear can help to convert the scanned PDF to Word.

Step 3. Search the Words/Sentence in Word

After converting, open the Word in Microsoft Word and press Ctrl and F on the keyboard to make a search.

Search for the Desired Text

Search for the Desired Text


However, the PDFgear Online Converter doesn’t support batch processing. If you have many PDF files to convert, consider using PDFgear Desktop.

With PDFgear Desktop, you can upload all the files at once and convert them simultaneously.


How to Convert a PDF to a Searchable PDF?

The “Searchable Image” format in Adobe Acrobat Pro allows you to convert a PDF into a searchable PDF: Open the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro > Navigate to “Tools” > Click “Recognize Text” > Choose the output style as “PDF Searchable Image”. Additionally, there are some online converters that can perform this task as well.

How Do I Make a PDF Searchable without Acrobat?

Many free online PDF converters like PDFgear can instantly convert a scanned or image-based PDF to an editable Word making it searchable. Simply upload the file, wait a few seconds for it to process, then download the output file complete with selectable text.

Why Can’t I Search in a PDF Document?

When a PDF is created by scanning pages instead of using actual text, the PDF becomes a collection of images and does not contain any searchable or selectable text. In this situation, you can use PDFgear’s online converter to convert the scanned/image-based PDF into an editable Word document. Once converted, you can open it with Microsoft Word and perform searches.

How Do I Make a PDF Searchable on Google?

Google Docs is a good option to make a PDF searchable whether it is a scanned one or a image-based file. Go to Google Drive > Click New > File upload > Choose the PDF from your device > Right-click the file uploaded > Hover over Open with > Select Google Docs > Press Ctrl and F to make a search in the document.


For many operations, the ability to search and read the text within a PDF file is essential. Thankfully, selectable text may be added to scanned or image-based PDFs that lack this feature using a variety of simple techniques. Cloud-based OCR is quickly made available by free online converters, while desktop applications like Adobe Acrobat allow you more control over the process. Using any tool, OCR technology can extract text from photos rapidly. It is possible to copy content, do keyword searches, and access accessibility features by converting non-searchable PDFs. You can increase your productivity and access the information in your PDFs with only a few clicks.

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