Checking PDF for Text vs. Image

PDF files are created in various ways. In the past, documents would be scanned, saved as image files, then converted to PDF. Upgrades in scanning software have helped to curtail this result, but it still happens. If scanning a document that contains text, be sure to always select the option that provides for OCR results. Scanning software may provide an OCR choice or similar such as "text", "text and graphics", "document", or other description option.

Cursor Test

  • Place your cursor in the text area of the document
  • The "I-bar" cursor indicates the presence of text
  • The "cross-hairs" cursor indicates the text area is an object and not text

The cursor that appears when placed in the text area of a document can determine if the document is a scanned image

Highlight Test

  • Place your cursor at the beginning of a line of text.
  • With your mouse or keyboard, try to highlight the text.
  • Inability to highlight the text indicates that the text area is an object and not text.

If you can highlight text it indicates that the document is not a scanned image

Software Alert

Acrobat Pro XI gives an immediate warning box when you open a document that is scanned or contains no text.

Non text documents will bring up a warning box when opened.