• Products NEW
  • Features
  • Enterprise
  • Resources
  • Blog
  • Download
  • Pricing
  • 2nd Anniversary
    24 hours left

Chat with Any PDF. Get Instant Summaries and Answers with UPDF AI Online. Use It Now

How to Copy Text from a PDF on a Mac? (Step by Step Guide)

In today's article, we will focus on copying text from a PDF file on a Mac device. You may need to copy text from a PDF for various reasons, for example, if you need to edit the content, paste it into a different file, translate it or simply copy it to have a backup.

It's worth to know different ways of copying text from a PDF on Mac as sometimes it may not be as simple as it seems. You could encounter some issues when a PDF is scanned, image only or password protected. Thus, in this blog, our UPDF team will show you 5 different ways of how to copy text from a PDF on a Mac with or without preview.

To get as much knowledge and skills from this guide, we recommend you to download UPDF. This way, you will be able to follow along and practice simultaneously when trying the method without preview.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

Part 1. How to Copy Text from a PDF on Mac With UPDF? (4 Ways)

To copy test from a PDF on Mac without preview, we recommend you to use UPDF. UPDF for Mac is a PDF editor that is available on a Mac, iOS, Windows and Android. The software has a lot of different features available, including copying text from a PDF. What is more important, UPDF has an OCR feature implemented. This means that if you need to copy text from an image-only PDF or a scanned PDF, you will be able to do that.

Of course, when a PDF file is password-protected, you won't have access to it and won't be able to copy the content However, UPDF will also allow you to remove a password from a PDF file that is password-protected and then copy the text without any problem.

Apart from copying text and password features, UPDF also has tools for editing PDFs, converting PDFs to other formats, redacting pages or preparing forms. To learn even more about the software, watch this video:

You can download UPDF by clicking the button displayed below and follow the below guide to copy test from a PDF on Mac.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

Now, we will demonstrate how you can copy text from a PDF in 4 different ways by using UPDF.

Way 1. Copy Text from a PDF on a Mac by Using Copying

The first and the simplest way is to copy text by using the "copying” option. Remember, copying the content directly will only work if your PDF is a normal file (not scanned or image-only).

Follow these steps:

  1. Launch UPDF. Open your chosen PDF in UPDF by dragging it to the "Open File” area in the UPDF interface.
  1. Click the trackpad or a mouse, hold and drag until you highlight all of the text to choose the piece of content you would like to copy.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by copying
  1. Click the last "Copy” icon.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by copying
  1. Now your content will be copied. And you can paste it to any place you need.

Way 2. Copy Text from a PDF on a Mac by converting to Word or Text

Another way is copying text from a PDF on a Mac by converting the PDF file to Word or text.

This option allows to copy the whole content in the PDF document.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open your chosen PDF file in UPDF by following the methods mentioned before.
  1. From the top left menu, select "File”.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by converting to word
  1. Now, choose "Export To” and then "Word” or "Text”.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by converting to word
  1. Choose "Export”.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by converting to word
  1. Choose where you would like to save your file (for example, "Desktop”) and click "Save”.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by converting to word
  1. Open your new file and copy the whole content.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by converting to word

Way 3. Copy Text from a Scanned/Image Only PDF on a Mac by OCR

If you would like to copy text from a scanned PDF or an image-only PDF, you can do it by using the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature.

Make sure you click the below button to download UPDF and then, follow these steps:

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

  1. Open your file in UPDF by clicking "Open File”.
  1. Select the first "OCR” icon from the menu on the right side.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by ocr
  1. If you use the option for the first time, the UPDF OCR plugin will have to be downloaded. Wait for them to finish downloading.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by ocr
  1. Click on the "OCR” icon again. Select the first "Searchable PDF” option and pick your settings such as layout, language and image resolution accordingly. Then click "Perform OCR”.  
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by ocr
  1. Choose your destination, for example, "Desktop” and save the new file.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by ocr
  1. The new document will also open in a new tab in UPDF. Now, you will be able to copy the text directly.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by ocr

It is important to mention that the OCR feature is supported by macOS 10.14.6 and higher. Currently the OCR is not available on Mac devices with Intel chips and Mac App Store version, but only on Mac devices with Apple silicon chip.

Way 4. Copy Text from a Protected PDF on a Mac by Removing a Password

The last scenario would be when you want to copy contents of a PDF file but it turns out that the file has a password and you have to keep typing it in every time when you open the file. In this case, you would need to remove the password for your convenience. Thankfully, with UPDF you can do that as long as a person who shared the file with you gave you the password.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open the file in UPDF on Mac.
  1. Type the password and click "Unlock” if it has open password.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by removing security
  1. From the top menu, select file, "Protect using Password” and click "Remove Security”.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by removing security
  1. Click "Remove” if it only has open password. For those that have permission password, you need to enter the password of the permission password and click "Remove” to remove it.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by removing security
  1. Now click "Save” and the password will be removed.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by removing security
  1. Reopen the file in UPDF and copy the content directly.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac updf by removing security

Part 2. How to Copy Text from a PDF on a Mac with Preview

If you do not want to download any other software on your Mac, you can use Preview to copy text from a PDF on Mac. However, it does not offer so many features as UPDF does. And it cannot copy text from scanned PDF and cannot help you remove the password from PDF on Mac. If your PDF is a normal file, then, you can use this method. We will talk you through how to copy text from a PDF on a Mac by using "Preview”.

First Option

If your PDF viewer is set to default, every document opens with a "Preview” app.

Follow these steps:

  1. Find your PDF, click to open it with Preview.
  1. Click the trackpad or a mouse, hold and drag until you highlight all of the text you want to copy.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac pdf viewer
  1. Click the trackpad and "control” simultaneously and then click "Copy”.

Now your content will be copied.

Second Option

If your PDF viewer is set to some other software, however, you would like to open the PDF with "Preview” and then copy the content, follow below steps.

  1. Hover over your selected PDF, hold "control” and click your trackpad simultaneously.
  1. Select "Open With” and then "Preview”.
how to copy text from a pdf on a mac
  1. Same as the first method, you need to select all text in the PDF, then, right click on the selected content, and choose "Copy”. Now you will be able to copy the text directly.

Conclusion

We hope that this short guide gave you some new insights into how to copy text from a PDF on a Mac. UPDF can help you copy content effortlessly in various situations – even when you need to copy text from a scanned document! If you would like to try the 4 different ways of copying and practice your skills, remember to download UPDF. You can download it and try for free or upgrade to UPDF Pro for a small fee. If you do not want to download the third party tool, you can also use Preview to copy text from a PDF on Mac directly.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

% OFF
$  
  OFF
You can use this limited time coupon to purchase designated UPDF PRO or AI products.

Get limited
time coupons !

Click to receive and use it
Extra {couponPrice}% off coupon Extra ${couponPrice} coupon

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Continued use of this website indicates your acceptance of our privacy policy.