How to cut and paste text from PDF to Word using Acrobat X or XI

Learn how to edit PDF files so anyone can cut and paste text from PDF to Word.

By December 13, 2011


In this tutorial, learn how to edit PDF in Acrobat X or XI so anyone can cut and paste text from PDF to Word.

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How to cut and paste text from PDF to Word using Acrobat X or XI

Lori KassubaDecember 13, 2011

It sounds like it should be so easy to cut and paste text in Acrobat or Adobe Reader, to paste into another program like Microsoft Word. Quite often this works out simply by using the Select tool, which is the I beam and arrow command in the toolbar. I select the text, and click on the Edit menu, and use the Copy command. This will then place the selected text on the system clipboard, which allows it to be pasted in other programs.

Occasionally, however, you may find it’s not possible to cut and paste - perhaps the menu is grayed out like this file, or you simply cannot select the text on the page. If you cannot copy and paste content from a PDF, be sure to check that the document author has not set restrictions on copying the text. If they have, you'll see a lock icon on the left hand Navigation pane. And when you click on this, you can specifically see if copying text is allowed or disallowed.

Now if copying content is allowed, like in this next file, then the behavior of the Select tool can also provide hints about the file. For example, if the Select tool isn’t appearing as an I beam when you pass over the text, then the content is just an image. To enable text selection, you can try using the Recognize Text command, under the Tools pane, Recognize Text panel in Acrobat X Std. or Pro. Now when you select the In this File command, Acrobat will run an Optical Character Recognition process that will convert the image to selectable text and then this will allow you to copy the text in the document.

Requirements: Acrobat X Std. or Pro

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Products covered:

Acrobat XIAcrobat X

Related topics:

Edit PDFs, Export PDFs

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