Can’t Copy Text from a PDF File on iPhone?

I used to copy text from PDF files in iBooks for the use in Notes, Word, and other apps on my iPhone. However this time have received a PDF doc through email which does not allow me to select and copy the contents of the PDF document. This PDF must be a scanned PDF or have some sort of security set on it. Luckily there are many third-party apps can help select, copy and extract text from scanned or protected PDF docs. In this article, we’ll walk through the easy steps to copy text from PDF documents. By doing so, you can save a lot of time typing the text manually. Can’t select or copy text from a PDF file on iPhone? Check out solutions below.

How to copy text from any PDF on iPhone through OCR?

Optical character recognition is a technology allows you to copy text from scanned PDF and images and even convert them into editable Word, Text, Excel, and other output formats. In a related article, we showed you the steps to scan paper documents to iPhone and then perform OCR to extract text from scanned PDF. It however does not allow users to import an existing PDF from email, iBooks or web browser. So how can it help us select and copy text from any PDF documents on iPhone? You may also noticed that it also accepts pictures. So the workaround is to take a screenshot of scanned or secured PDF and then insert the captured screenshot image into the OCR app. Sounds like too much work? Not really.

Step 1. Take a screenshot of PDF on iPhone

iPhone allows us to easily capture screen to save anything displayed on iPhone screen as image files in the Photos app. Open the PDF which you can’t copy its text. Then take a screenshot on iPhone. When you capture your iPhone screen, the PDF will be captured and saved as image file. Now you can follow below instructions to extract text from the image files.

Step 2. Copy text from image on iPhone

Your PDF file was converted into image and saves to the Photos app. Now you can add the pictures to a OCR supported app to copy text from photos, images, pictures on iPhone.

convert pdf, image, picture to text using scannerpro ocr on iphone

Convert PDF to text, Word on iPhone

Another easy way is to convert PDF to an editable file, such as text or word document. You can refer to this tutorial to convert PDF to Word document on iPhone using a free PDF editor and converter app for iOS.
convert pdf to word on iphone using pdf element

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