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PDF: Dead or Alive

PDF: Dead or Alive

PDF files are not the same – a known secret? Well, remembering this fact is very important when you select software for converting your PDF files to text. Let’s try to classify PDF files.

1- Editable PDFs

They are also called “normal”, “real”, “true” and “native” PDFs among other names. Such PDF type simply refers to a text document (e.g. *.doc or *.html) that has been converted to the PDF format using a PDF creator tool. When you open such PDF file in a suitable reader, you can simply use the cursor to select text.

2- Scanned PDFs

They are also called “wrapped” and even “dead” PDFs. Such PDF type includes scanned text. When you open a scanned PDF in a reader, you cannot select text - it is rather an image.

3- Editable PDFs with text images

Some PDF files are editable; however, they might include some charts or graphics that have text on them.

Does this matter?

Yes! Not all PDF converters support scanned PDFs; to convert scanned PDF files that only include text on images, you should use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tools to analyze the image of each character and try to convert it to its text form.

Similarly, using OCR to convert an editable PDF can have a negative effect as it would not deal with it as text, but rather as drawn characters that it tries to detect!

So simply, when you select a PDF converter, double-check its features to see if it is suitable for the specific PDF file type you need to convert to text.


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