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Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Unable to select text

Explorer ,
Dec 17, 2017 Dec 17, 2017

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Recently, in several versions of Adobe Acrobat pro (X, XI, DC), I have had an unusual text selection problem.  This seems to occur in documents printed with Acrobat, or scanned documents with recognized text.

The problem is that when trying to select the text in a document, the cursor changes to a tall version that selects a span of about 15 lines tall.  It is impossible to simply select one word. 

If the content is copied, the result is gibberish - like raw code.

This seemed to happen recently, and simultaneously in multiple copies of Acrobat Pro after a recent update.

Any ideas how to correct this?

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General troubleshooting

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 17, 2017 Dec 17, 2017

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JGreg7  wrote

Recently, in several versions of Adobe Acrobat pro (X, XI, DC), I have had an unusual text selection problem.  This seems to occur in documents printed with Acrobat, or scanned documents with recognized text.

Who did the OCR and with what settings?

If the user chose Searchable Image, that is what you get. The image is is front and this is great for law offices and archival purposes where they need to search the PDF but it is not selectable or editable.

If you OCR and choose Editable, Acrobat converts it to editable text with a typeface and may change the original look of the document.

Does that help?

Open two copies of the same scanned image and OCR it twice with different settings and compare to see the difference.

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Explorer ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Thanks for your reply.  I have the same problem with not being able to select text because I can only use the circular cursor.  I want to highlight important pdfs but not be able to change anything in the pdf.  I have legal documents that must be the original text and format. I just would like to highlight some text, add notes or comments, and add bookmarks to long pdfs.  I would like to be able to print the document without or with my highlights, notes, bookmarks.  I work for the Chief of Police and need the documents to be authentic.

I noticed, JGreg7, that you said "If the user chose Searchable Image, that is what you get. The image is is front and this is great for law offices and archival purposes where they need to search the PDF but it is not selectable or editable.".  So if I choose OCR for editing, will I not be able to search the document?  And if I choose OCR Searchable Image, I can search but I can't highlight, add comments or notes or add bookmarks? 

Our town has just upgraded from Acrobat Pro 2017 to Acrobat Pro DC and am struggling to highlight text. 

Thanks 

 

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New Here ,
Feb 20, 2020 Feb 20, 2020

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We've been having the same issue for quite a while, if I understand the problem as stated. The cursor selects large blocks of the document instead of the text, and copying and pasting gives gibberish. This has been happening on web pages that I print as PDF with Acrobat Pro - no OCR involved. I've tried IE, Edge, and Chrome and all have the same issue. (I can "save as PDF" from the browser and the resulting documents are fine - text can be selected - but I prefer to print in greyscale, through the print dialog, using Acrobat.)

 

I've found that if I use Adobe to print the document a second time as a PDF, the text is selectable on the second version. Try opening a bad document, press Ctrl-P, select Adobe as the printer, give it a unique name, and see if the new file works.

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New Here ,
Apr 14, 2020 Apr 14, 2020

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The same thing has been happening to me as well -- large cursor appears with a large blue block of selection, instead of individual text selected. Yes, re-printing it to PDF does fix the problem and I am now able to select individual words, so thanks for the tip! However, wish there was a more permanent fix for this. We shouldn't have to do this.

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New Here ,
Apr 14, 2020 Apr 14, 2020

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I should have updated my posting from February as I discovered recently that my "solution" doesn't work. After reprinting the PDF, it APPEARS that you can select text, but if you copy and paste into a document, it's still gibberish. I had just assumed it was selecting the text properly, but it's not. Sorry about that.

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New Here ,
Jul 02, 2020 Jul 02, 2020

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Same problem.  Started last week.  Tried reinstalling program.  Still not working.  This is making the program virtually useless for my work.  Tried the suggests above, but no luck.

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New Here ,
Nov 25, 2020 Nov 25, 2020

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has anyone posted a solution to the issue above yet?

help greatly appeciated as this issue is becoming extremely frustrating.

Thanks in advance

 

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New Here ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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I have been wrestling with just trying to select single lines of text, it will only select groups.  All I want to do is highlight a single line of text it should not be this difficult.  It used to work seamlessly. I have tried doing this in the online Acrobat, in Acrobat Pro, and Acrobat Reader.  Very frustrating. I'm a teacher and ever since my district purchased seperate Acrobat licensing the program no longer works.  Even though I have the full blown CC license thorough the district.

 

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New Here ,
Sep 14, 2021 Sep 14, 2021

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I've had the exact same issue for a couple months now and can't find a solution anywhere. I used to select text from pdf files all the time and then it just stopped working a couple months ago. It's doing exactly what you described. See video attached. Anyone else solve for this? All of the 'solutions' I see from other users either don't work or solve a different problem. It's just impossible to select a single line of text no matter what I try. Any ideas? What happened that this doesn't work like it's worked forever???

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 15, 2021 Sep 15, 2021

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This means the file was not created properly. There's not much you can about it, though, short of re-creating it from scratch. To do that export all the pages as image files (use PNGs at the highest resolution setting), and then create a new PDF file from those images and run Text Recognition on it.

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New Here ,
Sep 15, 2021 Sep 15, 2021

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This only seems to affect printouts of web documents. I've been using the "Microsoft Print to PDF" printer since this issue started, but recently it's doing the same thing - unable to select text without OCR'ing the document, only wide swaths of the page are selected. I've since switched to the "Save as PDF" option and it's still printing web documents properly for now.

 

Is this an Adobe, browser setting, or HTML issue? I wish someone at Adobe would seriously look into this problem.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 15, 2021 Sep 15, 2021

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It's an issue with how the file is generated, so in this case it's a Microsoft issue.

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New Here ,
Sep 15, 2021 Sep 15, 2021

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Thanks for the reply but I don't fully understand. It makes sense that the "Microsoft Print to PDF" would be a MS issue, but printing to the Adobe printer also doesn't work properly.

 

I just tried again printing to the Adobe printer with both Google Chrome and IE. Chrome has the same problem, but IE DOES allow me to select text in the PDF. Could this be a problem with Edge and Chrome? I use Edge (Chromium) and Google Chrome exclusively these days.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 15, 2021 Sep 15, 2021

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"Save as PDF" is not using the Adobe PDF printer, though. It's an internal command of Chrome.

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