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Copy text from a PDF to word. Just get Symbols

May 4, 2009 2:30 AM

Hello,

 

I have a public PDF with no Copying Restrictions. When I try to copy text from the PDF highlighted text to WORD I only get unreadable garbage.
I can select the desired text and copy it into word but when I paste the text it is pasted like symbols and lines.

 

I tried Special Paste and does not works. It says the font is a Gill Sans something (with numbers and so on), no really a font it seems but when i change it to Arial i still get symbols.

 

Any help or ideas,

 

Cheers,
Sebastian

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2009 10:43 AM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    You simply should just have to change the font used for the display in WORD. Why not try saving to a DOC file?

     
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    May 5, 2009 12:02 AM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    Sometimes you can change the font, as long as the fonts are compatible. Check the document properties to see if the fonts are embedded (I guess they are) and if you have those fonts on your system. If you do not have the fonts, then you can't copy them.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 5, 2009 7:27 AM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    If the fonts don't have unicode tables and they do not use a standard encoding for mapping the glyph indices to characters then you get garbage characters during copy/paste. You can try using the PDF Fixup Profile "Embed Fonts" in the Preflight tool to embed the font (if you are unable to reauthor the document). However, the font does need to be installed on your system and license to allow embedding in order to do this.

     
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    May 5, 2009 1:37 PM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    Can you send the link to this Ministry of Health document or post on this forum to take a closer look at?

     

    sypark

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 5, 2009 3:38 PM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    After looking inside the PDF it turns out that no usable encoding information is present (neither in the PDF nor in the embedded font data) to derive the meaning of the characters/glyphs that are displayed on the pages in the document.

     

    The fonts actualy are all embedded, but in a way that all encoding information has been removed. This is a typical example of a PDF that is syntactically fully compliant with the PDF spec but where important information about the meaning of the text in it has been thrown away during the process of making the PDF. As far as I can tell it would be very difficult to recover the encoding info. Strange as it may sound the best option may be to convert the pages to oixel and then run OCR on them....

     

    According to the document info PageMaker 7 and Distiller 5 have been used - not sure whether that combination wasn't quite up to the task but I am on Acrobat 9 now and haven't seen Pagemaker for years...

     

    HTH.

     

    Olaf Drümmer

    callas software

     
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    May 5, 2009 10:00 PM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    One approach is a bit of work, but might meet your need. I saved the file to TIFF (600dpi). I then went through each TIFF to converted it to B&W. I think copied the text to WORD. The result was not perfect, but it was in English and could be clipped. The resolution and the B&W were important to the project completion.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 15, 2010 12:10 PM   in reply to olafdruemmer

    I have this exact same problem.  It is very frustrating.  How is it not possible to "grab" onto the text in the pdf ??!!

     

    • I am looking at it.  I can see it.  I can read it.
    • I can highlight the individual letters and words with the mouse pointer. (So it's not just a "picture")
    • With a pdf editor, I can even make the text bold, italic, or increase the font size.

    SO WHY CAN'T I COPY THE TEXT!   AAARGH!

     

    No, the file is not protected.

    Yes, I have tried saving as different formats.  (The "save as tiff file workaround" idea is  very time consuming and greatly degrades the quallity.)

    The font is shown as being: "Arial083.313"

     

    Something in the pdf program is recognizing the text, translating the 1's and 0's (that make up all computer files) into the letters that display on the screen that I can read and select with the mouse. So why can't that same "something" allow me to copy it?  So frustrating.

     

    Somebody please help.  If you can solve this problem you are awesome.

     


     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 15, 2010 9:06 PM   in reply to fsb2cool2care

    I grab text every once in a while and it typically works fine. For me to be able to view the proper font on my system, I have to have that font available. The Arial you listed is not a typical system font and is probably why you are having problems. When you copy, what font name is shown in WORD or other word processor. Your problem is likely the fonts. Acrobat will display that font if has been embedded in the file. However, Acrobat will not copy a font to your machine, only the character information.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2010 12:47 PM   in reply to Bill@VT

    Thanks for the reply Bill.  The font name shown in WORD or other word processor is the same--Arial083.313.

     

    Example:  The text I copy in the pdf reads: "Check heating circuit sensors / heating system"

     

    When I paste in word processor I get this: "3_         __&_     _____&_______&_         ____&4&_"

     

    or this:    & &

     

    Can I post my problematic file in this forum?

     

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2010 8:51 AM   in reply to fsb2cool2care

    For some reason attachments has been deactivated (used to be right above the Post Message button). The simplest way is to post a link to another site where you post the file. There must have been some abuse or something, because it was a useful feature.

     
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    Mar 17, 2010 9:06 AM   in reply to Bill@VT

    Bill@VT wrote:

     

    For some reason attachments has been deactivated (used to be right above the Post Message button).

    It's a security issue they are working on. Hope to get the option back soon.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2010 11:40 PM   in reply to fsb2cool2care

    As PDF Reader is just designed for viewing PDF, you can read, highlight it easily but cannot always copy text from PDF to Word. It is normal.


    If you want to copy text from PDF to Word and want to perserve the layouts and hyperlinks, evern graphics, you could use PDF to Word Converter, by which, you can preserve the original contents from PDF to Word. This PDF to Word Converter is a free desktop program providing batch partial and encrypted PDF conversion, which is better than free online software. Just go to try it and hope it helps.

     
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    Mar 18, 2010 8:31 AM   in reply to Bill@VT

    Good idea.  Here is a link to the file on Google docs.

     

    https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bxko9yoJfnApZDYxZTI4NzMtNjhmYy00Z jc3LTg1ZWQtZmQxMjU4MGJmNzE1&hl=en

     

    There should be a download link in the upper left corner.

     

    Yes, I know some of the text is in German, but I should still be able to copy and paste the text as it is regardless.  But honestly, my main objective is to be able to search for text within the document.  If there is an error message saying "G2 Fault" I want to be able to search and find all references to this in the manual.

     
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    Mar 18, 2010 8:51 AM   in reply to wattscott

    .

     
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    Jan 12, 2011 10:39 AM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    Simple fix for that file.

    1. Change the language to Spanish

    2. Save file

    3. Reopen file

    4. select ALL

    5. Paste into Microsoft Word

     

    Hope that works.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 9, 2011 4:50 PM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    I had that same issue. What I did was to print the pdf file to CutePDF printer. I was able to copy and paste the text from the new document.

     
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    Feb 16, 2011 3:28 PM   in reply to techjf25

    Thanks Techjf25....Your solution to print to CutePDF worked perfectly and solved an issue that I encounter quite frequently!  Super easy and quick as can be.

     
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    Apr 4, 2011 10:49 PM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    A PDF file does not store enough information to enable you to re-create it as a Word document (that's why it was invented, to prevent people copying files).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 4, 2011 11:47 PM   in reply to Altyin

    That's hardly why the PDF format was invented...

     
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    Apr 15, 2011 3:27 PM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    Here's the solution.  When you open the PDF document in "Preview", do not do any "saves" on it before you have copied the data you want to paste into Word.  Before you do anything, Do a "save as" on the document and keep one fresh copy just in case you forget and do a save on it.  Once you do a "save" on a PDF document, it will convert the text to garbage when pasted into Word.  It works. 

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2011 6:25 PM   in reply to Altyin

    A PDF file does not store enough information to enable you to re-create it as a Word document (that's why it was invented, to prevent people copying files).

     

    I agree with your opinion, PDF is end or export file and in order to preserve layout and any other content, it is existed independent from OS and applications. It displays like a photocopy of original file and the codes of it is totally different from Word, so there are many uncompatible issues out there.

    Basically, a well-tagged PDF file can be copied successfully but the failing instances varies by multiple reasons.  

     
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    Jul 16, 2011 6:14 AM   in reply to techjf25

    Hey - worked for me too!

    Thanks

    Chris

     
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:06 AM   in reply to SebastiaoV

    The CutePDF fix looks like it completely works for me!!!

     

     

    Printed document through CutePDF, selecting settings that minimized optimization and requested native True Type fonts  (sorry didn't document exactly.....didn't think it would work right away!) .

     

    Then did Acrobat OCR, and now I can copy and paste from Acrobat to other programs without garbage here and there.

     
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