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Cannot Select Text in Acrobat Professional DC

Community Beginner ,
Jan 16, 2022 Jan 16, 2022

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When I try to select text, I can't select an individual sentence or line but a much larger area gets selected automatically. If I copy the larger selected area and try to paste it in a document (e.g. a Word document) only garbage (like raw code) gets pasted. This happens only in pdf documents that were created using Acrobat DC. The Security settings of the document shows "No Security".

 

It sounds like a basic feature that one would expect to be able to do but I've tried everything I could do, with no success. This happens with pdf documents that I created with Acrobat DC, e.g. by printing a webpage using "Adobe PDF" as the selected printer. I've seen a number of other posts regarding this but none had a real solution.So it seems like a common and serious issue with Acrobat DC. Does anyone have a solution for this? Does anyone know how to bring this to the attention of Adobe if that is needed to resolve this.  

TOPICS
Create PDFs , Edit and convert PDFs , General troubleshooting

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Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2022 Jan 16, 2022

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Hi Rbcap,

 

I have Acrobat Pro on my 2015 5K iMac running Big Sur and I'm not having any issues selecting single words of text on PDFs that were created with Acrobat Pro.

 

I'm not saying you are not having the problem (obviously you are), but the problem MAY be specific to your system. It MAY be due to installation issues. It MAY be a screwup in Acrobat's preferences or your computer's preferences. It MAY also be somewhere else. 

 

Can you help by providing more information on what you have so that various items can be ruled out?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 17, 2022 Jan 17, 2022

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Thank you for your comments Gary.

 

I am using Windows 10 Business Version 20H2 and MS 365. Since you're not having the issue, I wonder if that could be because you are using a different operating system than I am. Also, are you using Acrobat Pro DC? If so, have you tried creating a PDF from a website page by printing the page using Adobe PDF as the printer? I'm just wondering if it could be a compatibility problem with Windows 10 and Acrobat Pro DC. In my case, a PDF is produced but I cannot select text. Tx  

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Community Expert ,
Jan 17, 2022 Jan 17, 2022

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Hi Rbcap,

 

That was exactly my point. 

 

On the Mac, when you are in the Print dialog, there is a dropdown menu for PDF generation: 

2022-01-17_10-04-13.png

When you use "Save a PDF," the operating system generates the PDF while the latter is generated by Acrobat. 

 

However, that, in itself, should not be causing any issues. Do you mind sending me (via PM) one of your problem PDFs? To do this you'll have to rename the pdf suffix to something like .jpg. So, MyDocument.pdf will become MyDocument.jpg. When I receive it, I'll rename it with the pdf suffix. I want to see if infact the problem is the generation of the PDF or your copy of Acrobat. If I can select words, the generation is not the issue.

 

Thanks!

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 18, 2022 Jan 18, 2022

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Hi Gary.

 

Thank you for your comments. 

 

I tried to send you a "problem" pdf but I couldn't see the option to add a file. I'll try again.

 

Just to be sure we are referring to the same issue, I just want to reiterate what I'm trying to do... I want to create a pdf document of the actual website contents that I see on the screen. I have done this using Acrobat before I started using Acrobat DC.

 

When I'm on a website and try to create a pdf of it, I do not get the option to "save as" pdf, I can only select "print" and from that I can select "Adobe PDF" as the printer. This seems to work well and gets me a pdf of the page that's on my screen, but I'm unable to select text on the pdf document produce. Is this what your understanding is?

 

Thanks again for your help with this issue - much appreciated.

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 18, 2022 Jan 18, 2022

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Hi Rbcap,

 

Actually I want to try something a bit different: since you are focusing on getting PDFs from web pages, let me direct you to some other (free) software that I find does the best job of generating web pages. It's called Print Friendly (go to printfriendly.com). You can install it into your browser (at least I could). What I particularly like about it is that if there are things that I do not want (e.g., ads, photos that take a whole page, comments at the end of an article, etc.) I can delete them before the PDF is generated. When you try this, you'll quickly see how it works.

 

Let me point out that different web sites are interpreted differently in all browsers, even PrintFriendly. So there are times when I'll use my Browser and print from there, I'll go into Acrobat and print a web page from "Create PDF…" or PrintFriendly. Each one may have a different take on how it interprets the web code. So on any page, YMMV.

 

Oh, and to send an image through the PM, you use this icon:

 

2022-01-18_11-15-44.png

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 18, 2022 Jan 18, 2022

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Hi Gary,

 

A sample copy of a problem pdf with extension changed to jpg is shown below. 

It is surprising that I’m unable to create a proper pdf document using a premium product like Acrobat Pro DC. I have the latest version of Windows 10 Pro and MS 365, i.e. nothing unusual. The reason I find it surprising is that there seems to be a lot of complaints about this issue on the internet. One would think Adobe would be addressing it. Thanks for your suggestion to use to printfriendly.com but still my preference would be to use Acrobat because I use it on a regular basis to create and edit pdfs. printfriendly.com seems to be more useful for artistic work, which I’m not into, but it’s good to know its there in case a need comes up.

 

Anyway, thanks again for your time and interest – much appreciated!

 

Sample document.jpg

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 18, 2022 Jan 18, 2022

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Hi Rbcap,

 

Very interesting stuff here. First off, the image/pdf you sent me I'm unable to work with. Did you convert that file to JPG from within Acrobat or just type in the JPG suffix? Either way, I received it as an image file and cannot convert it to a PDF to test.

 

However, I did take the title of the page and I found the site very easily. When I saw the page I immediately saw the issue there there is a menu option on the left side. I'm not sure how it's done now but many years ago when I used to do some web work, one would create "frames" within the page so that you had multiple web pages contained in one web page. It was wonderful (at the time) for presenting information but you could not even print a single page without seeing a mess.

I did create a PDF of the page from both "Save as PDF," and "Save as Adobe PDF." Superficially, they both appear the same and in both I can select letters, words, or whole blocks of text with no issues. However, when I tried to use "Create PDF from web page" from within Acrobat, the results were beyond dreadful as the page was a scrambled mess. When I tried to use PrintFriendly, it was interesting: as I selected the page to process, on the top I could see the option to either Print the page or PDF the page, as the page developed in front of my eyes, the option to PDF the page disappeared. I think your reference to "art" pages is misplaced: this is a Microsoft page with strange code. Some aspects of Microsoft will just not die!! :>)

Look, as long as we are on PM, can you please send me this page you sent before, but please send me the original PDF. Send it to gary@thecoynes.com.

 

Overall though, I think much of the issue here may be the odd/unique interface of this site. Oh, one thing I do want you to try, whatever browser you are using, please try another and then do the Save as Adobe PDF from that site. 

 

FWIW, because of the uniqueness of some sites, I keep at least three different browsers on my computer (Safari, Chrome, and Opera). There are times when only one of them will provide a viable view of a website. It is, after all, very new technology. :>)

 

(Oh, I just noticed a "Drag & Drop here or browse files to attach" window. That's new. See if you can send the PDF that way. I'm sending you one that I generated.)

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 08, 2022 Feb 08, 2022

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Just want to let the group know that the issue has still not been resolved.  Below is a summary:

  • The problem occurs whenever I create a pdf of a webpage. It happens with every site.
  • To create a pdf, I use the following method:

Example website: Determine permission levels and groups in SharePoint Server - SharePoint Server | Microsoft Docs

  • I go to the website and create a pdf of the site using the usual print function in Windows 10 as shown below:

Rbcap_0-1644346278657.jpeg

  • I have been doing it this way for around 20 years using previous versions of Adobe Acrobat and it has always worked properly. It is just not working on my current version, which is Acrobat Pro DC (subscription version).
  • I’d be interested in knowing if others can produce a proper pdf in which in which you can copy/select content, using the exact same method I am using (above).
  • If this method doesn’t work with Acrobat Pro DC, then I will explore other solutions. I just want to get confirmation of whether or not it works with Acrobat Pro DC.  

 

One solution is to create the PDFs is by selecting “Microsoft Print to PDF” as the printer instead of “Adobe PDF”. I would prefer to do it using Acrobat Pro DC, since I have a subscription for it.

 

I wonder if someone at Adobe would care to look into this since it relates to the functionality of Acrobat Pro DC?

 

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 01, 2023 Nov 01, 2023

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Surprisingly, it's now 1.5 years later and the problem with Acrobat DC still exists. As described in this thread, I am not able to create a proper pdf using Acrobat DC. For about a year now, I have been using "Microsoft Print to PDF" to create pdf documents instead of Acrobat DC. It is ironic that I need to do that. I still have my subscription to Acrobat DC but will cancel that if this problem persists. It is surprising that a problem like this doesn't get immediately addressed by Adobe. I thought Acrobat DC was an important product for Adobe...

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Community Expert ,
Nov 01, 2023 Nov 01, 2023

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Hi, @Rbcap, it's me again, still trying to help as much as I can.

 

Let me reiterate that capturing websites can be very hard to do, depending on how the website was coded. The web page that you look at on some sites is not just a page of HDML code on a single page but using your example page that you are trying to capture is a composite of many pieces of content that are held together by code. 

 

If you're looking at old-time, original HTML page coding, that's a piece of cake to transfer into single text pages. But nowadays most pages are coded using code-languages that I've never heard of. That's one of the reasons I stopped doing web pages becuase I could not keep up with all of the new coding languages. But again, the web page you look at on most sites, including the one you linked to above, are composite pages. If you wish to save those as is, I think your best bet is to take a screenshot of each page and convert that into a PDF.

 

I did use Save as Acrobat PDF, and I also use Print Friendly. The results were very different but on both of them I can select text.

 

Oh, as I looked back on previous conversations, you asked if I was using Acrobat Pro DC. I failed to answer "yes." 

 

Here are the screenshots of sections of the page both showing text being selected.

 

2023-11-01_13-45-57.png

2023-11-01_13-44-54.png

When I encounter a web page I wish to convert into a PDF, I first look to see if they have a Print icon or a Save as PDF icon. I particularly enjoy seeing the latter as that means that the web designer intentionally made the content section of the page availalbe for PDF access. If that doesn't exist, I probably will try both Save as Adobe PDF and Print Friendly and see which one did a better job for my needs. Occastionally I encounter a web page that cannot be converted into a viable PDF.

 

But ANY of these examples, regardless of how bad they butchered the original format, can provide selectable text. 

 

So, I'm not fully sure what you're asking about. I do not know if you want an exact replication of the web page and/or selectable text. And if the latter, what part or section of the page is not giving you want you want. For example, if you're talking about a companies logo, those are often an image on a page and there's nothing you can do to select that text. Period. That started out as a picture and is not editable text on the page. 

 

If none of this is helpful, I do suggest you start to investigate other applications becuase I can tell you that none of them are likely to supply what you want and/or expect. And, if any of them do provide such service, PLEASE let me know. I might find value in their application as well.

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