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How to Convert Scanned PDF to Editable Document on Mac OS

Author:admin   Date:2011-04-08

As PDF is considered a better and safer way in distribution, good preservation and is not easy for editing without related program/software, so it is commonly used during our business and in file archiving. And people tend to scan paper-base document into PDF with the scanner. As that's a great idea to lower the cost of the storage, and easier to distribute. However sometimes we have to edit the scanned PDF files, especially when we want to edit some paper files by scanning it to PDF (which is easy and convenient). When you get a scanned PDF, you could not take the content to use in your computer directly, and a normal PDF converter for Mac could not distinguish the file. So if you really need to use the content in the scanned PDF, surprisingly this is pretty easy to do if you have some OCR converter tools.

There are definitely several ways to help you convert scanned PDF to editable documents like word/text now. Yes, modern technology changes the world and it is so wonderful. With OCR software, you can extract all the information from the PDF file into easily editable text format from a scanned PDF, and then convert the PDF to MS word, HTML, epub, image, text, etc with a normal Mac PDF converter.

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a system of converting scanned printed/handwritten image files into its machine readable text format. OCR software works by analyzing a document and comparing it with fonts stored in its database and/or by noting features typical to characters. Some OCR software also puts it through a spell checker to “guess” unrecognized words. 100% accuracy is difficult to achieve, but close approximation is what most software strive for. You can convert scanned PDF to word with desktop OCR tools or online OCR tools.

Method 1
Convert scanned PDF to word editable document with online OCR readers
Now there are many online OCR services and some of them are free to share, such as OCRTerminal, OnlineOCR and NewOCR, so you can take it. But unfortunately, some services are limited that you can share just part of their functions or limited time. So you have to buy full version software to enjoy the service.
Pros: free, support multilanguage
Cons: most OCR software just work for Windows system; most OCR tools only support converting PDF to Word, Text, RTF format; limited file size (up to 20-30MB); not safe for important files; most OCR software not working on Mac system

Method 2
Convert scanned PDF to word editable document with free OCR software tools
Thanks to the technology, now we have much free OCR software to choose from, such as SimpleOCR, TopOCR, FreeOCR, etc, for windows OS, OmniPage Pro X for Macintosh, AABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac, Readiris Pro 11 for Mac, etc. However despite there being a proliferation of expensive OCR software for Macs (starting from $30) there are few free alternatives (in complete contrast to Windows and Linux, where the situation is quite the opposite). In this case, browser-based free OCR solution is much better that OCR software tool, though the former demands bandwidth.
While the choice of free Mac OCR software to download from the web is limited, there are still plenty of options. If your intention is to download and keep an OCR app on your Mac, then the best free option is PDF OCR X, available from
Once downloaded and installed, all you need to do is drag a PDF or scanned image onto the PDF OCR X window, select a conversion setting and output format and wait for the document to be converted to editable text! The bad news is that it is Limited to single-page images and PDFs
Additionally, if you’re using Microsoft Office Mac version, this package includes Microsoft Office Document Imaging for Mac, a tool that will allow you to scan a document and convert the text into editable text on your computer using OCR technology. However, there are limitations and some text may not be extracted correctly.
Pros: Simple drag-and-drop utility for Mac OS X; Supports over 20 languages; Also works with images such as GIF, JPEG, TIF, BMP, PSD, PNG, and more
Cons: Most OCR software not working on Mac OS; PDF OCR X for Mac only converts scanned PDF to text or searchable PDF format

Method 3 - a "once and for all" solution
Convert scanned PDF to text-base Word/Excel/PPT/EPUB/HTML/Text formats with 6-in-1 PDF Converter Pro for Mac
PDF converter Pro for Mac is developed with OCR software built-in that can recognize text from scanned, image-based PDF files. Since this Mac PDF Converter Pro can digitize your documents with OCR, no retyping and reformatting is needed now. And it also enables you to search text within the scanned PDF files and let you copy text and images from scanned PDF files. You can edit the text and images within the scanned PDF files if with a normal PDF Editor. It will save you lots of time and money to retyping, copying and formating. Just scan the files and then let the PDF converter pro for Mac done the left things for you. This PDF converter Pro for Mac can convert both normal and scanned PDF to editable document, like word, text, epub, HTML, excel, PowerPoint. It include all the features of the normal PDF converter for Mac and works with a built-in OCR tool to digitize the scanned PDF. For simplicity, speed, accuracy and flexibility, PDF Converter PRo for Mac can be your good assistant. Anyway, free download the PDF Converter Pro here to enjoy this best PDF converter.

scanned pdf converter mac


  • Support OCR:Convert scanned PDF to text-based Word / Excel/ PPT/ EPUB/ HTML/ Text formats
  • Powerful Conversion: Convert normal PDF to Word / Excel/ PPT/ EPUB/ HTML/ Text formats
  • Great Preservation: Preserve original text, images, graphics, etc.
  • Batch Conversion: Convert multiple PDFs to multi-format documents
  • Fast Conversion: Convert a 100-page PDF within 1 minute
  • Decryption: Convert encrypted PDF files without hassles

Cons: free trial version with limitation that only 5 pages of each file can be converter at a time.
However, the powerful full version is also affordable. And you can get it with great discount from alifesoft special offer.

Frankly speaking, sometimes how I wish I knew about these simple ways to use freely available OCR software back in my school days. That would have saved hours of copying notes by writing or typing. Then hope you enjoy my tips for converting scanned PDF to editable document, to save you trouble and money for copying, writing or editing. Find a best way for your working with my tips.

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