PDF documents behaving like images in Preview

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by greentub, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. greentub macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    #1
    I use the Preview app every week and regularly add annotations, but sometimes I'll get a document that won't let me highlight text. As a matter of fact, I can't search for a word in the document either. It's as if Preview doesn't recognize it as a pdf and treats it like an image. The document is clearly saved with a pdf extension and my permissions are read/write. What gives and how can I fix it?

    Thanks.

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    For the record, I'm using Mavericks and Preview version 7.
     
  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #2
    Some PDF files are just images of the text and are not searchable. Have you tried opening the file in Adobe Reader or another PDF reader to see how it acts? Since it just happens with certain files it is probably how the file was constructed.
     
  3. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #3
    Glenthompson has it exactly right. Check the two PDFs attached to this post, PDF 1 has text & images as separate elements - PDF 2 is a single image. You will see the difference in behavior.

    And to answer your next question, there is no (simple) way to convert an Image PDF to a text PDF. It would require OCR software, you can google that - worth looking into only if you have a lot of conversion to do (e.g. a scanned multi-page document).
     

    Attached Files:

  4. greentub thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    #4
    Yes, this is exactly it. Your first PDF is how most PDFs behave. The second one is how the trouble ones do.

    Apart from converting the image PDF to a text PDF, what's different in the creation of the image PDF vs. text PDF. One colleague is consistently giving me image PDFs and I'd like to instruct her on creating these in the future. (I can't assume she's using Preview or Mac).

    Thanks.
     
  5. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #5
    Ask her how she is creating these PDFs. Is she perhaps scanning printed documents in?
    If she is using most software she should easily be able to do a save as or print as, PDF.
     
  6. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #6
    It really does depend on the software being used to create the PDF and the source of the original pre-PDF version of the file. As Tumbleweed666 says, if it's a scan - it's just going to be an image, unless OCR software is used.

    It may be that this person is processing the pages through an image editing program, like Photoshop - then saving as a Photoshop PDF (which is exactly how I created PDF2 in the post above). Photoshop converts text into graphics, so do some other image editing applications, so if that's what is happening they need to choose a different method.

    So there's no generic answer on how to create the PDF in the manner you need it, but given specific apps (e.g. it's a document created in Word 2013 on a Windows 8 computer) one of us might be able to help with steps.
     
  7. kaki4125 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #7
    There are two different types of PDFs.

    There are two different types of PDFs.

    Native PDFs:Native PDFs are ones that are generated from an electronic source – such as a Word document, a computer generated report, or spreadsheet data. These have an internal structure that can be read and interpreted. It’s called an editable PDF. You can highlight words in the PDF. You can search for words in the file. You can convert the PDF into a editable document.

    Scanned PDFs - PDF created from a scanner: PDF documents that are created through the process of scanning a document into an electronic format are scanned PDFs, or we can call them image PDFs. You can’t edit that PDF until OCR has been done.
     

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