How to copy-and-paste editable text from PDF to Word using Acrobat 8

Learn how to copy and paste blocks of text from PDF to Word.

By October 23, 2007


NOTE: There are several newer quick tips on how to convert PDF to Word and PDF to Excel:

Older versions of Adobe Reader (5.0 and 6.0), allowed you to select the Text tool, click-and-drag the vertical line cursor to select the text, hit Ctl-C to copy it to the clipboard, and then simply paste it into a Word document; however, using Acrobat 8.0, this same copy-and-paste seems to be difficult if not impossible. If you try using the Select Tool (next to the Hand Tool), you either get a crosshair cursor that lets you open a box or, more often, nothing at all.

The select tools have been updated, but the select behavior is the same in Acrobat 8. When you see "crosshairs" vs. a "text cursor" the document is a scanned PDF — just an "image" vs. a document with text. Select Document > OCR Text Recognition > Recognize Text Using OCR to convert the document from "image only" to actual text that can be selected.

Note that the PDF may be protected - that is the author has selected to disable the ability to copy/paste from the document. To check security settings, select File > Properties and select the Security tab.

Related topics:

Export PDFs

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

3, 2015-10-09 09, 2015

Hi anand,

If the PDF file has been password protected to disallow these things then you won’t be able to export the content. You’ll need to go back to the original author to get a version you can export.



12, 2015-10-04 04, 2015

One of my adobe reader document is password protected which i copied from my friend.You cant copy,print nothing you can do with this document.I want to convert to word document or excel,so that at least i can take print outs of the document.Please help me.Thank you.

Patty Friesen

2, 2015-08-06 06, 2015

Hi Sandi,

Can you post your question to our Answers forum for a faster response:



Sandi Suda

8, 2015-08-04 04, 2015

I turned a word document into a PDF and then made a submittable form. The form is used to request use of our office classrooms. Once the time is reserved in an Outlook calendar, the details are copied and pasted into the calendar for all who needs to see.

When a PDF is filled out, I “Select All” and Copy and Paste the text. The text filled into the form fields does not copied over. Is there a way to copy and paste ALL text, including form field data, at one time?

I suggested just attaching the PDF to the calendar appointment, but that was not what the users of the form wanted. Any help would be appreciated!

Lori Kassuba

4, 2015-07-29 29, 2015

Hi Snigdha Bansal,

Have you tried using the newest version of Acrobat to do this. The DC version has a lot of improvements associated with editing/exporting a scanned PDF document.


Snigdha Bansal

5, 2015-07-25 25, 2015

please help me out! i want to convert scanned pdf file into editable word document? i have tried all the possible ways. please help!the pdf file is of 400 pages and i cant type so much! and the pdf file is a scanned book i cant copy it also

Lori Kassuba

1, 2014-09-26 26, 2014

Hi Molly,

You’ll need Acrobat to OCR an image and/or convert to Word. Another alternative is to use the ExportPDF online service at:



4, 2014-09-23 23, 2014

I am also wondering how to copy text in the form of an image to then paste into word in any free version of Adobe.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-04-15 15, 2013

Hi Vipan,

Acrobat Std. or Pro. can do a Save As from the File menu. Here is a tutorial on the subject:

If you’re using the free Adobe Reader, you can use the online service called ExportPDF to do this for you:


vipan kumar

8, 2013-04-08 08, 2013

pl send the software for converting pdf to word which can be copy paste edit the documents

Lori Kassuba

4, 2013-04-01 01, 2013

Hi anandberanrd,

You’ll need to convert the text in your TIFF image to real text. Here is a tutorial that explains how to do this:



5, 2013-03-31 31, 2013

the information is good but the thing is i converted tiff to pdf and now i want to copy text in the form of image but how i dont know. Could u help me out?

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