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Digital Scholarship Center: Acrobat Pro: Converting a pdf article into searchable text

Information about the resources in the Digital Scholarship Center

Acrobat Pro: Converting PDF into a searchable text document

Acrobat Pro is an excellent tool for speeding up your research. The software can be used to make a PDF searchable enabling you to quickly locate valuable information within the PDF document. In this tutorial will download an article as a PDF from Rowan University Libraries New York Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers) database, which is located on this page here.

We downloaded the following article on President William Taft visiting Southern New Jersey:

Special to The New York Times. "40,000 CHEER THE PRESIDENT.: WILL WIN ALL BUT TWO DELEGATES, SAYS BRIGGS -- FIVE COUNTIES VISITED. TAFT MEN CLAIM MOST OF JERSEY." New York Times (1857-1922), May 28, 1912. http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fhistorical-newspapers%2F40-000-cheer-president%2Fdocview%2F97313445%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605.

 

Once downloaded, we will convert the file to searchable text and then use Acrobat's search feature to locate specific keywords. 

 

This technique will require access to the Adobe Acrobat Pro software, which is available on the computers in the Rowan University Libraries Digital Scholarship Center. Please note that the image quality of the original document will influence the success of this process in converting all the text. If this process does not convert all the text, open the pdf in Abobe Photoshop or Pixlr and increase the contrast.

 

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(1) Open a PDF in Acrobat Pro. (You can use any pdf.)

Acrobat pro logo

 

 

 

The file will open …

 

The file opened in Acrobat Pro

 

 

 

(2) Select the Enhance Scans button on the right.

Acrobat Scan OCR

 

If you do not see a column of buttons on the right go to the View menu > Show/Hide ...

 

Select  > Tools Pane

 

 

(3) Once the document opens select the Recognize Text button above the document.

 

Acrobat recognize text button

 

 

Then select "In This File"

 

Acrobat in this file

 

 

Then select the "recognize Text" button.

 

Acrobat recognize text button

 

 

 

 

 

Acrobat Pro will then process the text ...

 

 

Processing text

 

 

 

The text within the pdf will now be searchable. If you select the text it will highlight in blue. The quality of the original document will determine how successful this process is in converting all the text. 

 

The text will now be searchable.

 

Save your document.

 

 

(4) To locate text within the PDF document select the Command key+F on a Mac or Control+F on a PC. This will open the Find option. I typed the word Glassboro into the search menu.

 

Using the Find tool

 

 

Pressing the Next button will locate the text.

 

Locating the text

 

 

You can use this technique to located names, phrases, locations, and even data.