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Why I Can't Copy Text from PDF? 2 Fixes!

Most of the important information regarding educational material or professional work is stored in PDF documents on the Internet. Suppose you download a PDF file containing your required information but cannot copy text from the PDF. You might be wondering about the reason why you can't copy text from PDF and its solution. In this article, we will explain the reason and solve this problem using effective ways.

Part 1: Why Can't I Copy Text from a PDF

If you can't copy text from a PDF file, there can be three reasons. You can read these reasons in more detail below:

1. Open Password Protection

It is possible to lock them from opening using passwords. So, if you have downloaded a document that is password-locked, you won't be able to open it, so you cannot copy the content. Check the website from where you have downloaded the PDF file, as it might also have the password. Otherwise, you would need to contact the author of the document.

2. Restrictions on Accessibility

If the PDF file you have downloaded can open, but you are still unable to copy text, it might have restricted permissions. There is a chance that the author has made it so that no one can copy or edit his PDF files.

3. Scanned Documents or Images

It is also not possible to copy text from scanned documents or images. If you want to copy text from a scanned document or image, you need to convert it to an editable PDF document. You can do that using the OCR feature in PDF converter or editor tools.

Part 2: 2 Effective Solutions to Fix Can't Copy Text from PDF

You must be wondering if there is an easy solution to your question why can't I copy text from a PDF? UPDF is the best solution to your problems regarding copying problems in PDF files. It can solve both the security and document format issues when trying to copy text from a PDF. Let's download it first and get ready for the upcoming steps.

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Fix can't copy text from pdf

Solution 1: Remove Restrictions

If the problem consists of security restrictions, you can use UPDF to resolve it. But please note you have to know the password to use it as it is illegal to remove the password from PDF without permission. To resolve cannot copy text from a PDF issue due to accessibility restrictions, follow these steps to fix:

Step 1: Select the Remove Security Feature

Open the PDF document from which you want to copy the text in the UPDF application. Next, tap the "Protect Using Password" tool from the right panel. Select the "Remove Security" feature and provide the password that was used to restrict the editing of the PDF document.

cannot copy text from pdf and tap on remove security

Step 2: Remove the Permission Password to Solve can not Copy Text from PDF

Tap on "Remove" after providing the password, and UPDF will remove all the restrictions from the PDF document. Click on "Edit PDF" to copy the text you want.

remove security to solve unable to copy text from pdf

Solution 2: OCR Scanned PDFs or Images

You will need to convert a scanned document or image into an editable and searchable PDF file if you want to copy text from it. To convert a scanned document using UPDF, follow the steps described below:

Step 1: Choose the OCR Tool

First, download UPDF here, and import your PDF document to the UPDF desktop application using the "Open File" button. Next, select the "Recognize Text Using OCR" option located at the right-side toolbar. It will open a mini window asking you to set up the outline for applying the OCR on the scanned document.

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Step 2: Start Applying OCR

You have to enable the "Searchable PDF" option as the document type and choose "Text and Pictures Only" or "Text over the page image" as the layout. Afterward, specify the layout settings, document language, image resolution, and page range. Once you have confirmed the layout and other requirements, initiate the OCR process by hitting the "Perform OCR" button. You can see the OCR progress on the screen, and you can start copying the text after the OCR completion.

If you want to learn more details, kindly watch the video below. And to know UPDF better, you can read this review article from Techadvisor here.

Download UPDF to fix the "can't copy text from PDF" issue now!

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Part 3: Bonus Tip: The Best PDF Editor to Use After Fixing Unable to Copy Text from PDF Issue

The problem of not copying PDF text from a document can be solved using UPDF. UPDF is not only an editing tool but a comprehensive toolbox for all the issues regarding PDFs. You can add or remove passwords or security permissions using it. When working on its OCR function to transform scanned documents, you can choose between a plethora of options. You can choose different types of outlines and multiple options to customize the layout and document type. It supports 38 languages when performing OCR and also allows you to define image resolution.

why cant i copy text from pdf with ocr

There are many other great features available in UPDF regarding annotating, organizing, and conversion. We have summarized some of these features and advantages below for you:

Robust Features of UPDF PDF Toolkit

  • UPDF Editor Tool: UPDF has a great PDF editor tool with many unique features. You can insert new text into the document or remove any redundant information. If the images have low quality or there are updated images available, you can add or remove these from documents. Regarding links, it allows you to create inter-page links in long documents, aside from web links.
  • Resize PDF Document: In the organizing tool of UPDF, you can add or remove pages from PDF files to reduce their size. If the file is too long, you can remove any page that contains unnecessary information. The pages can also be rotated and exported using UPDF.
  • PDF to PDF/A Conversion: If you want to archive your PDF documents for a long time, you would need to convert these to PDF/A format. UPDF allows you to convert your PDF documents to PDF/A files safely and securely.
  • Personalized Watermarks: To ensure that no one can copy and steal your document data as their own, you can add personalized watermarks to Your PDF documents. Aside from watermarks, it is also possible to add signatures and stamps.
  • UPDF AI: UPDF is integrated with AI technology, aiming to help to summarize, translate, and explain PDF documents effortlessly.

Advantages of Using UPDF as your Daily PDF Editor

  • Fast Processing: The processing speed of UPDF is very fast. It allows you to perform edits in PDF documents in quick succession without any lag or wait time.
  • Dynamic Interface: UPDF's interface is smooth and dynamic, which keeps users engaged and relaxed. All main features are located within your eyesight.
  • Inexpensive: When compared to other tools in the market, UPDF offers the most features at the lowest cost. You can perform all types of PDF-related tasks on it without spending a large amount of money.
  • High Efficiency: It is highly efficient software that enhances your workflow without adding extra load on your device. Your system won't heat up when running UPDF.

Want to know more about UPDF? You can read this review article from Techadvisor and watch the below video review.

Download UPDF now and try it for free! In addition, UPDF is now on big sales, grab the chance to purchase it and save up now!

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Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions about PDF can't Copy Text

1. How do I Enable Copy and Paste in PDF?

If your PDF document has no restrictions, you can enable the copy-and-paste feature by opening it in UPDF and selecting the "Edit PDF" option. If you have a scanned document, you can convert it to an editable form using OCR in UPDF. After converting the document, select "Edit PDF" mode to enable copy and paste in UPDF.  

2. How can I Remove Restrictions from a PDF?

You can use UPDF to remove restrictions on PDF. For that, select the "Remove Security" option in UPDF after opening your document and provide the password to remove all restrictions on your PDF document.

3. Is there a Way to Copy Text from a PDF?

As long as a PDF document allows you to copy text, you can copy it by opening it in UPDF. Afterward, select the target text and right-click on it. Now, select the "Copy" option to copy the text in a document.

4. How do I Copy Text from a PDF like Word?

When using UPDF, you can copy text directly in reader mode when you open the PDF. Or you can click on the "Edit PDF" feature and select "Text" to start copying the text of your PDF file like Word. You can copy any text you want using these methods. In the Editing mode, you can also change, remove, or modify text format like Word.

cant copy pdf text in reader mode


Since PDF is the most favored format for digital documents, you cannot avoid dealing with them. It also means your required data will often be in PDF documents where you cannot copy it. In these situations, a tool like UPDF is a lifesaver, allowing you both to remove security restrictions and perform OCR on scanned PDF documents. You can download it for a trial.

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