Learn how to convert scans or images of documents into searchable , editable PDF files, and adjust the quality of the resulting file.
Graphic illustration of a bustling cityscape and a hand holding what looks like a magnifying glass

Open the image of your document

Open create-searchable.pdf in Acrobat DC or open a photo of one of your own documents. 

In the right hand pane, select the Enhance Scans tool.

A photo of a document is shown with the Enhance Scans tool selected inside Acrobat DC

Adjust skewing

Select Enhance > Camera Image to bring up the Enhance sub menu. Select the correct option from the Content drop down. Auto Detect is the default and works on most scanned documents.

Drag the blue dots to frame the part of the page you want to preserve. Align the dots along the edges of the document to fix the skewing and click Enhance Page.

Enhance Camera Image is selected
The four corners of the document are shown as points and Enhance Page is selected

Adjust contrast

In the resulting enhanced image preview, drag the Adjust enhancement level slider left or right to decrease or increase the contrast. When you are done, click Close to return to the main Enhance Scans menu. At this point, you've got an improved image of your document, but you still cannot edit, select, or search the text.

Note: Refer to Scan documents to PDF for more details on how you can change the default settings to enhance scanned documents.

The document is now cropped and the Adjust enhancement level slider is shown

Recognize text

Select Recognize Text > In This File to invoke the text recognition sub menu. If necessary, click the Language drop-down and choose the appropriate language from the list of options, ranging from Basque to Ukrainian. Click Recognize Text to convert the image to text that can be selected and edited.

The option to Recognize Text in this File is shown
The option to choose which language to recognize is shown, English is selected

Search text in your PDF

Once you use the Recognize Text tool to convert your scanned image into a usable PDF file, you can select and search through the text in that file, making it easy to find, modify, and reuse the information from your old paper documents.

Select the Find text tool and enter text to search in the Find field. Now that the text is editable, you can choose to replace the text if necessary.

Note: You may get a low resolution scan warning indicating that editing the document may not produce the best results. Click Yes to continue and edit the scanned document. Click No to make no further edits to the file.

The Find and Replace With option in Search is being used to find 2014 and replace with 2015
06/15/2020

Contributors: Donna BakerSergiy Maidukov

Was this page helpful?