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How to OCR PDF on Mac (including macOS 10.15)

Sep 27,2019 • Filed to: PDFelement for Mac How-Tos • Proven solutions

Image-based PDF documents are common both for personal and business use. These kind of files can be difficult to edit, however. Especially if you don't have the right software. To be able to edit, copy or search through scanned PDF files you need to look for a program that is equipped with Optical Character Recognition (OCR). In this article, we'll introduce you to a great OCR software Mac - PDFelement. We'll also explain how to OCR PDFs on Mac.

How to OCR a PDF on Mac

To perform OCR on Mac is easy if you are using the right tools, such as PDFelement. Below, we'll outline how to use all of its robust features.

Step 1. Import a Scanned PDF

First, open PDFelement for Mac. Then open your scanned PDF file in the program. To do so, click on "Open File" at the bottom left and select the file that you want to OCR.

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Step 2. Recognize PDF with OCR

When the scanned PDF is opened, the program will detect it and remind you to perform OCR. After clicking on the "Perform OCR" button, a pop up window will appear. Here you will be required to select an OCR language that matches with your PDF content. You can also specify an ideal DPI and page range to perform OCR. After that, click on the "Perform OCR" button. OCR will be performed immediately.

pdf ocr mac

Step 3. Edit the PDF (Optional)

After OCR is complete, a new PDF file will be opened in the program automatically, which is already searchable and editable. You can click on the "Edit" button to start editing the content. Learn more about how to edit scanned PDFs on Mac here.

ocr software mac

The Best OCR Software on Mac

PDFelement for Mac not only allows you to edit standard PDFs, but it also lets you modify scanned PDFs. With advanced OCR technology, image-based PDFs can be turned into editable text immediately. The OCR technology supports languages such as English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Chinese, and French, among others.

best ocr for mac

In addition, PDFelement for Mac is built with a number of editing tools that let you modify text, images and pages, or markup and comment on PDFs, plus more. The software also allows you convert your PDF file to or from various formats like Excel, Word, HTML, images, PPT, EPUB, and Text etc. It is fully compatible with macOS X 10.12 (Sierra), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.14 (Mojave) and 10.15 (Catalina).

Tips: Preview Does Not Support OCR on Mac

Preview is a built-in program on Mac, which can help you read, edit and manage PDF files, however this does not include scanned PDFs. If your PDF document is a scanned or image-based PDF file, then Preview won't be able to help you edit or make any changes to the PDF file because it does not have the OCR feature.

Tips: Automator Can Not Extract Text from Scanned PDFs

Automator is usually used to extract text from PDFs, however this will only work on normal, non-scanned PDF files. It does not support extracting text from scanned or image-based PDF files as it does not support OCR.

Tips: Adobe Reader for Mac Can Not OCR PDFs on Mac

Adobe Reader for Mac is also widely used for Mac users to view and manage PDF documents since it is a free tool. However, this free tool doesn't support OCR technology either. If you have a scanned or image-based PDF file, you'll need to pay for the upgraded version of Adobe Acrobat in order to edit or manipulate the scanned PDF document.

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Audrey Goodwin

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