Adobe Reader / pdf files / search function

Posted on 2013-06-25
Last Modified: 2016-07-06
Hi Experts,
I have saved a doc as a pdf file but when I do any text search, it comes up with the same msg box "no matches were found"
I have attached the screenshot error for your reference,
Please assist
Question by:FrankSasso
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

duttcom earned 134 total points
ID: 39276742
It looks like the PDF document is a scanned image, rather than a text-based document that can be searched, so as far as acrobat reader is concerned, it could be page after page of photos of your last holiday.

To be searchable, you would need to run it through an OCR filter (optical character recognition) to convert the pictures of text to actual text.

If you are willing to attach the PDF here, I can OCR it for you (with Acrobat Pro) and then you can search it.

Author Comment

ID: 39276780
hi expert thankyou for your information, however i have many of these docs that all need the same search functionality.
Would there be a free prog that I could get that converts a scanned image pdf doc to one which allows me to search for text.
What I did was chose an existing word doc and saved it as a pdf, then did a text search and it worked! so it appears that when a doc is scanned its only saving it as an image file, so not sure.....
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

duttcom earned 134 total points
ID: 39276790
What you say is spot on. Word will create nice searchable PDFs, whereas unless you have scanning software which can be set to OCR when you scan (and such software is not uncommon), then the resulting pages will be images rather than text.

Often scanners come with additional software which will will OCR for you. ReadIris is one that springs to mind that often comes bundled with scanners. Do have a scanner and the discs that came with it?

If not, you could try this site -

Or download one of the free programs listed here -

Don't expect the resulting PDFs to be exactly the same as the originals. PDFs can get quite ugly when you start fiddling with them.
LVL 52

Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 66 total points
ID: 39276793
Hi Frank,
duttcom may be right, but let's find out for sure. When the doc is open in Adobe Reader, what happens when you drag the mouse to highlight? If you see a solid block, it is an image-only file; if you see an I-beam and see text, then there is text in there. I've attached two extractions from your is image-only and one was passed through OCR to make a PDF Searchable Image file (both an image and text from the OCR). Try these two and you'll see what I mean when you highlight. Let us know what happens and we'll take it from there. Regards, Joe
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39276795
Our messages just crossed. I'll get back to you in a moment with some OCR recommendations. Regards, Joe
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39276802
If you would like to upgrade your PDF handling options and don't mind a little outlay, I can recommend Nitro Pro - it does what Acrobat Pro does but at a fraction of the price. It's the PDF software I give my users.
LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39276809
For starters, what scanner do you have (make and model) and did it come with bundled imaging/scanning/OCR software? For example, Nuance's PaperPort is very common as software bundled with scanners and it has built-in OCR:

It can scan straight to a PDF Searchable Image do not have to scan first and then OCR invokes OCR as part of a Scanning Profile (if you want it to). Of course, if you already have image-only PDFs, it can run OCR on them, converting them to PDF Searchable Image files. However, if it wasn't bundled with your scanner, it is not a free product.

I know many free OCR products, but I'll wait to hear back from you before making any suggestions. You may already have a piece of software bundled with your scanner that can do the job. Regards, Joe
LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41693201
The question is: Why does a text search in a PDF file come up with no matches? The answer is: Because there's no text in the PDF file — it is an image-only PDF.

duttcom got the right answer in post https:#a39276742 and it deserves to be the Accepted Solution, imo.

The following other posts all provided correct and helpful information and deserve to be Assisted Solutions, imo:

https:#a39276790 (duttcom)
https:#a39276793 (joewinograd)
https:#a39276802 (duttcom)
https:#a39276809 (joewinograd)

Regards, Joe

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