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can't copy and paste text from pdf docs

New Here ,
Nov 23, 2015 Nov 23, 2015

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Since upgrading to Acrobat DC I can no longer copy and paste text from pdf documents.  Instead I get squares instead of characters.  Anybody else experiencing this?

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Edit and convert PDFs , Windows

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Nov 23, 2015 Nov 23, 2015

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Hi martinex57,

Are you using Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC ?

Are you able to select the text?

Also, let me know the exact dot version of the application.

Regards,
Aadesh

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New Here ,
Dec 04, 2015 Dec 04, 2015

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I have the exact same problem and it is very disturbing. I am with Acrobat Reader DC 15.009.20079. Another thing that I dislike is that whenever I open two .pdf files instead opening in two windows, now they are opening in two tabs in the same window and for example if I want to compare both files at the same time I am not able, as I was in the older versions... So is there a solution to selecting a text and also opening two files in different windows?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 04, 2015 Dec 04, 2015

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To disable the tabs go to Edit - Preferences - General and un-tick "Open documents as new tabs in the same window".

Regarding copying the text: Can you select the text with the mouse? If so, what happens when you press Copy and then Paste in another application?

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New Here ,
Dec 04, 2015 Dec 04, 2015

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Thank you, try67! I haven't seen before the option for the tabs in preferences but now I fixed it.

And for the copy/paste problem I wasn't able to select the text (I couldn't see the option for the select tool, it was on hand tool) but it was my bad, it is just right click with the mouse and it's there.

Thank you for your quick reply once again!

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New Here ,
Aug 24, 2016 Aug 24, 2016

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try67,

I have a document I'm reading in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. The document is a completed form. One of the sections on the form is a running text field that has been filled out. I see  "+" sign in the lower right hand corner, but I can't expand the section and see all the text. When I try to copy and paste the text to read it, I can't do that either. I've checked Security Properties (Edit/Protection/Security properties/Security tab) and Content Copying is Allowed.

What's going on? I just want to copy the text out of the completed form and paste it. At least, I want to be able to hit the "+" and read everything entered into the form.

Help!

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Community Expert ,
Aug 24, 2016 Aug 24, 2016

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It sounds like the form field is either set as read-only or was flattened. Either way, this means you don't have access to the full text using Reader. You need to report this issue to the author of the form and have them fix it.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 08, 2022 Jan 08, 2022

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No, this is standard behavior, happening to me too after re-installing Reader DC on a standard document that is NOT a form.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 08, 2022 Jan 08, 2022

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LATEST

Share the file in question, please.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 24, 2016 Aug 24, 2016

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The "+" sign is only there to let you know that there is text you cannot see. Unless it's a dynamic form that has a box that expands as it gets filled, that's all you will see. The creator of the file should have made the box bigger or limited the amount of text that can be added to it.

If you want to copy/paste text from it, insert your cursor into the box, hit Ctrl+A to select all of the text, Cntrl+C to copy.

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New Here ,
Aug 25, 2016 Aug 25, 2016

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~graffiti, thanks for your response! I followed the instructions you gave (insert cursor, Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C). Below is a sample of what I get what I Ctrl+V in Notepad or Word:

         %  " # )% - "* )%" +   -   ) -   $ &- % !        # )% - "*    %     ),'                                                                                       

The document is an internal form that my team made. I believe the field is created to stay the same size; it's not dynamic, and that's okay, as long as I can copy the content out. Other people in my company complete the form and email it to me, and I'm able to copy and paste out of it. Could there be a problem with the Adobe the person changing the form is using? A conflict between the two version we're using? Again, this issue arises for only one person completing the form - for everyone else that completes it and gives it to me, I can easily copy and paste.

Your thoughts?

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LEGEND ,
Aug 25, 2016 Aug 25, 2016

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It "could" be that the person that has the problem form has a font issue. He may not have the proper font on his system. Or, he could be using a third party pdf viewer which could also cause problems. It shouldn't be a compatibility issue as long as everyone is using a version of Adobe Reader and not something else.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 08, 2022 Jan 08, 2022

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Yeah, the solution is buy more product from Adobe to keep your same functionality. Working on finding alternative solutions to Adobe for everything. Tired of the heavy handed endless back-end revenue generating processes that steal all my system resource and destroy my privacy. Use to really like Adobe and it products. The wrong people are making decisions on the future of Adobe and it's products.

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2016 Jan 22, 2016

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Acrobat Reader DC

yes, i can select text fine.

just no copy.

if i ctrl+c then ctrl+v somewhere else, nothing happens.

tis blank.

same with all other apps that open pdfs.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 23, 2016 Jan 23, 2016

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It's possible the file has a security policy that prevents the extract of the contents. Look under File - Properties - Security.

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New Here ,
Jan 23, 2016 Jan 23, 2016

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negative.

everyone has full control.

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New Here ,
Oct 11, 2017 Oct 11, 2017

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So on a whim, I opened the pdf and right clicked to Print. From the Print preview box, I was able to copy and paste the text. Huzzah! Weird workaround.

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New Here ,
Jan 11, 2018 Jan 11, 2018

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I have Adobe Acrobat 2015 (Mac v.) and I now know the new way to get the select cursor.

However, when a pdf is viewed in a browser (Safari, maybe others), for example, in Google Books, with Acrobat as the default, I no longer see a way of copy and pasting now that I have Adobe Acrobat 2015 installed.

The pointer symbol that allows converting to the cursor when viewing a pdf does not show up when viewing in a browser.

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New Here ,
Aug 07, 2018 Aug 07, 2018

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So I also can't copy text from a PDF & it does NOT say "Secured" in the file name, & it also says "Allowed" in the PDF Securities for copying text, so what gives???

This has nothing to do with characters because I can't even highlight to copy, so forget about pasting.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 07, 2018 Aug 07, 2018

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You’re allowed to copy text but there must be text to copy. Sounds as if it is, instead, a picture of text, such as a scan. By the way no current version of Acrobat shows “secured” in the file name. Only obsolete versions did that.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Test+Screen+Name  wrote

By the way no current version of Acrobat shows “secured” in the file name. Only obsolete versions did that.

Seriously? It doesn't show "(SECURED)" in the window title any more?

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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It shows (SECURED) at the window title. But it is not part of the file name.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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Ah, OK. I don't think that was ever the case, was it? Maybe a long time ago...

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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Old versions adds -secured to the file name as default. Like the name change when you use the redaction tool.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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Got it.

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