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David, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 1365
Experience:  BSc H.Dip Apple Certified Professional
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I have pdf files that are all text, copied from some of my

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I have pdf files that are all text, copied from some of my old writings on a typewriter. I need to transfer this text into Microsoft Word files on Mac. When I copy and paste into Word, most of the text is garbage.
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I possibly can to help answer your questions.

Are these scanned in typewritten documents?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello again, David. Good to have you with me.

Yes, these are documents that I typed many years ago and then scanned so I can work with them. However, I don't know any way to edit them as pdf files.


Hi George :)

When you scan a document, it is the same as taking a photograph of it.

This photograph doesn't contain the font information or text, and this is why it is garbled.

The software that can extract the text is known as Optical Character Recognition, and you get varying results depending on the resolution and quality of the scan.

I recommend trying different applications, you may get different results.

There is a free trial of FineReader here

A free trial of PDFpen here

Prismo is a paid application

So is Doxie

The problem with OCR is that it doesn't always get it right, it is not exact. it is making best judgement on what the characters are.

The best you can hope is that it gets it mostly right, then proofread the documents for spelling mistakes.

I hope this gives some insight into the issue and gets you started, but please let me know if you have any questions or need any more help with any of this.

Yours sincerely,
David and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'll give it a try and let you know the results. Thanks

Hi George,

It's not an exact science, scanning in text image to convert to text font. You will need to proofread too.

Please feel free to ask me anything that crops up, I am here to help.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Downloaded demo of PDFpen but cannot test it for my purposes, as they require purchase in order to test it.

Am out of time for today—lots of irons in the fire—but will try tomorrow to test another program that you suggested. Have a good evening.

Hi George,

Thanks for getting back to me.

Yep, I know there are wide ranging results depending on the source PDF.

Speak to you when you are ready, take your time, you can put this on ice for as long as you need to.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I've neglected getting back to you. I've been swamped with work that hasn't required the pdf conversion, so I haven't tested the others. It may take some time to get back to that, so I'll clear this so you can get paid. The answer is probably within the options you have given me. Thanks.

Hi George,

Thanks a million! I can help with any questions that pop up in relation to this. If there is any problem when it comes to tackling it, let me know and we'll open up this thread again.

Have a great day.

Yours sincerely,