Export PDF Text with Acrobat CS5 Save As

If you need to take text or images from a PDF document and use them in another file, Adobe Acrobat Creative Suite 5 includes tools to make this a breeze. Of course, you should always make certain that you have the permission of the owner of a document before reusing content that isn’t your original work.

The File→Save As command exports all the text in your PDF file. The Save as Type drop-down list gives you various format options. After choosing an option and any settings, click the OK button to select the settings and click the Save button to save the text. The File→Export command gives you the same options.

Here are the formats you can use to export text:

  • Microsoft Word Document: Click the Settings button to choose whether to save the comments or images with your document. If you choose to save the comments or images, you can select additional formatting options.

  • Rich Text Format: Click the Settings button to choose whether to save the comments or images with your document. If you choose to save the comments or images, you can select additional formatting options.

  • Text (Accessible): Use this format to create a file that can be printed to a Braille printer.

  • Text (Plain) (Secondary Settings): This format creates a plain vanilla file with no formatting. You can save some secondary options in various file encodings. Also, you can select to save the images in your PDF in a separate images folder.

  • Encapsulated PostScript, PostScript: These formats are generally used by commercial printers or IT professionals that need PostScript output.

  • Various Adobe PDF options, such as PDF/E for engineering or PDF/A for archiving: These are used to switch to a specific subset of the PDF file format used for a particular industry or line of work.

  • Various graphics formats (JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, TIFF): If you choose one of these options, your text will no longer be editable as the entire PDF pages are converted to an image.

Text that’s copied from a PDF file is no longer linked to the original document. Edits made to the extracted text aren’t reflected within the PDF file, and it’s extremely difficult to have the extracted text reinserted into the PDF document. Think of the extraction process as a one-way trip for the text, which can be extracted but not reinserted.

You can also copy text within a table to the Clipboard or open it directly in a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, and maintain the table’s formatting after it’s extracted. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click the Select tool and click and drag to select the text in the table.

    Depending upon how the table was created, you may also be able to position your cursor just outside the edge of the table and then draw a box around a table.

    A border appears around the selected table.

  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) and choose Open Table in Spreadsheet from the contextual menu.

    Alternatively, you can save the table directly to a file or copy to the Clipboard to be pasted later: If Acrobat has trouble identifying the text in the table, it may be saved as an image file, which is not editable text.

    • To save the table directly to a file, choose Save as Table from the contextual menu.

    • To copy the table to the Clipboard so that you can paste it into other documents, choose Copy as Table from the contextual menu.

    The table opens in Excel or whatever spreadsheet program you have installed on your computer.

    And that’s it. You can now use that table in another program.

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