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Why I Can't Copy Text from PDF? How to Fix it?

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 are unable to copy text from PDF and its solution. In this article, we will explain the reason and the solution to this problem.

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

If you can't copy text from a PDF file, there can be two types of reasons behind it. One type of reason deals with the security features of PDF documents. The PDF document you are using may have an anti-copying security feature enabled. There is also a chance that the document you are trying to copy from consists only of text images. It will not be possible for you to perform copy function on these types of documents. You can read these reasons in more detail below:

1. Password Protection

When protecting PDF documents, it is possible to lock them using passwords. It is usually done to restrict PDF document access to a selected few. So, if you have downloaded a document that is password locked, you won’t be able to open it. 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 isn't password locked, 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. You would need a password to perform functions like copying or pasting on any other editing. That password can only be obtained by contacting the author.

3. Scanned Documents

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

Part 2: Solutions to Copy Text form 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.

effortless pdf editor

Solution 1: Remove Restrictions

If the problem consists of security restrictions, you can use UPDF to resolve it. In case the file is password protected, you can solve it by providing a password when opening it. To resolve cannot copy text from a PDF issue due to accessibility restrictions, follow these steps to fix it:

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.

tap on remove security

Step 2: Remove the Permission Password

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

Solution 2: OCR PDF

You will need to convert a scanned document 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 OCR Tool

First, 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.

access ocr feature

Step 2: Start Applying OCR

You have to enable the "Searchable PDF" option as the document type and choose "Text and Pictures Only" 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.

setting ocr

Part 3: An All-in-One PDF Solution

The problem of can’t copy 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 42 languages when performing OCR and also allows you to define image resolution.

converter 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.

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.

Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions

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 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 this method. In the Editing mode, you can also change, remove, or modify text format like Word.


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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