Acrobat can easily turn your scanned documents into editable PDFs.

When you open a scanned document for editing, Acrobat automatically runs OCR (optical character recognition) in the background and converts the document into editable image and text with correctly recognized fonts in the document. Also, a prompt on upper-right corner appears showing you the recognized OCR language. It also points you to the settings button if you want to change the OCR language.

By default, only the current page is converted to editable text instead of the entire document in one go. As you move from one page to another, the page in focus is made editable.

Video tutorial: edit scanned documents

Learn how to convert a scanned document into an editable PDF in a single step, with Acrobat.

Video (02:32) | By Matthew Pizzi (train simple)

Steps for editing text in a scanned document

  1. Open the scanned PDF file in Acrobat.

  2. Choose Tools > Edit PDF. Acrobat automatically applies OCR to your document and converts it to a fully editable copy of your PDF.

    Note:

    A prompt on the upper-right corner appears showing you the recognized OCR language. To change the language, click Settings in the prompt or in the right pane. For more information about the various options, see Options for editing scanned documents below.

  3. Click the text element you want to edit and start typing. New text matches the look of the original fonts in your scanned image.

  4. Choose File > Save As and type a new name for your editable document.

Options for editing scanned documents

When you open a scanned document for editing, the two scan-specific options are displayed in the right pane under Scanned Documents:

Options for editing scanned documents
Options for editing scanned documents

●   Settings: It shows options to select OCR language, use system fonts, and make all pages editable at one go. For more information, see Settings - OCR language, system fonts, and all pages editable.

●   Recognize text: It allows switching from text-to-image or image-to-text editing mode. For more information, see Enable or disable auto-OCR for scanned documents.


Settings - OCR language, system fonts, and all pages editable

Use the settings to change OCR language, choose whether to use system fonts, and make all pages editable at one go. In the right pane, click Settings under Scanned Documents. The dialog box shows the following three settings:

Settings for editing scanned documents
Settings for editing scanned documents

  • Recognize Text in (OCR language): By default the OCR language is picked from default locale.
  • Use available system font: If this option is checked, during the process of scanned to editable text conversion, the converted text is displayed in a font that is installed on the system and is a closest match to the original font in the scanned page.
  • Make all the pages editable: if this option is checked, then all pages of the current document are converted to editable text in one go. It is a relatively slower option. Use this option only if you want to edit all pages or convert all pages to editable text.

Initially, the language is set to the default locale and the other options are disabled. Any changes to these settings remain persistent and are applied when you enter in the edit mode (Tools > Edit PDF).

Turn off or disable automatic OCR for scanned documents

The OCR is turned on by default. Therefore, when you open a scanned document for editing, the current page is converted to editable text. Depending on whether you want to convert your scanned documents to editable text or not, you can turn off/on the automatic OCR option.

To turn off automatic OCR:

  • In the right pane, clear the Recognize text check box. From next time, Acrobat won't automatically run OCR and convert a scanned document to editable text.
Turn off automatic OCR
Option to turn off automatic OCR

To turn on automatic OCR:

  • In the right pane, select the Recognize text check box. From next time, Acrobat will automatically run OCR and convert a scanned document to editable text.
Turn on automatic OCR
Option to turn on automatic OCR

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