Adobe Creative Cloud All-in-One For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Although editing text and graphics is helpful, you may need to take text or images from a PDF document and use them in another file. Fortunately, Acrobat also 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.

You can export text, images, or charts from Acrobat by copying and pasting, or by saving as a specific file type.

Exporting text with Select, Copy, and Paste

Follow these steps to select, copy, and paste text from a PDF file:
  1. With the Edit Text & Images tool, highlight the text you want to export.

    When you hold this tool over a section of your document, it turns into an I-bar cursor, which you can drag to select the text you want to copy.

    Keep in mind that this method only lets you select text within an area. You need to switch to the Selection tool in order to select large areas of text.

    If the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands are unavailable after you’ve selected some text, the author of the document may have set the security settings to disallow copying. If you can’t select the text, you may be trying to copy text that’s part of an image. If you’re trying to select text that’s in a single column, a sidebar, or table, press and hold the Ctrl key (Windows) or ⌘   key (Mac) and then click and drag over the area with text to be selected.

  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) the selected text. Then, from the contextual menu, choose Copy to copy the text.

    Being able to extract the text out of a PDF document by selecting and copying it is useful if you don’t have access to the original source document, but you need to use the text from a PDF file in another document.

  3. Open another text-editing program, such as Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Word.

    You can paste the copied text into a new document or a preexisting file.

  4. Insert your cursor in the document at the appropriate spot and choose Edit→    Paste.

    The text is pasted into the document, ready for you to use.

Exporting text with Save As Other

Use the File→  Export To→    Microsoft Word or File→    Export To→    Spreadsheet commands to export all the text in your PDF file. After choosing the location where you want the file saved, click Save to save the Microsoft Word or spreadsheet file.

You can also choose several other formats for exporting your PDF documents:

  • Rich Text Format: Use this format to convert the text in a PDF document to an editable RTF file that can be manipulated in common word processing apps such as Microsoft Word.
  • Encapsulated PostScript and PostScript: These formats are generally used by commercial printers or IT professionals who need PostScript output.
  • HTML web Page: This is used to attempt to convert the PDF to another file format that can be used for viewing on the web without a PDF plug-in. PDF files do not always convert well to HTML, so be sure to test this option if you want to use it for any important documents.
  • Graphics: To save your PDF document as an image, choose File→    Save As and choose from any of the various graphics formats, including JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, and TIFF, from the Save as Type or File Format drop-down menu. If you choose one of these options, your text will no longer be editable because all the PDF pages will be converted to images, with each page in the PDF becoming a separate image file.

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, because the Edit Text & Images tool and Add Text tool are rather limited in their capability to add any significant amount of text onto a page. Think of the extraction process as a one-way trip for the text, which can be extracted but not reinserted.

You can also export portions of text and tables so you can edit them later using a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, or a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. Just follow these steps:
  1. Click the Selection Tool 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. Remember you can Ctrl-click (Windows) or ⌘  -click (Mac) and then drag around a table to select it.

    A border appears around the selected table.

  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) and choose Export Selection As 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.

    • Choose Export Selection As from the contextual menu to save the text directly to a file.
    • To copy the table to the Clipboard so that you can paste it into other documents, choose Copy with Formatting from the contextual menu.

      After opening Excel or whatever spreadsheet program you have installed on your computer, you can paste the table into the spreadsheet.

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

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Jennifer Smith is a user experience consultant, designer, educator, mentor, and author of more than a dozen books on digital imaging and web publishing. She has advised numerous companies on design projects and works on various platforms and devices. Christopher Smith is president of the American Graphics Institute. He is the author of more than ten books on web, interactive, and print publishing technology, including many of the Adobe official training guides.

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