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Search function does not work on Reader

New Here ,
Oct 12, 2022 Oct 12, 2022

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I have Windows 11 Home and the Adobe Acrobat Reader 64 bit version. The word search function does not work on any of my PDF documents. I used the "Edit>Preferences>Search>Purge Cache Contents" instructions and still does not work. Is there a soultion for this? Thanks much in advance.

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Edit and convert PDFs , General troubleshooting

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Community Expert ,
Oct 12, 2022 Oct 12, 2022

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Are you able to select the text you're searching for on the page? If so, copy it and then paste into another application, like Notepad. Does it appear correctly in that application after doing so?

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Community Expert ,
Oct 12, 2022 Oct 12, 2022

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@JustinBClifff26548496pul1 wrote:

I have Windows 11 Home and the Adobe Acrobat Reader 64 bit version.


 

I've moved your post from Acrobat to Acrobat Reader. 

 

Is the file a scanned image?

 

Jane

 

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New Here ,
Oct 12, 2022 Oct 12, 2022

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Hi. It's a PDF file I downloaded from a government site. I can't even highlight text tp copy and paste into Notpad. Odd, as I was able to search text a few months ago...

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Community Expert ,
Oct 12, 2022 Oct 12, 2022

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@JustinBClifff26548496pul1 

 

If it's a PDF that anyone can download, can you post the link? I'll take a look.

 

Jane

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Community Expert ,
Oct 13, 2022 Oct 13, 2022

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quote

@JustinBClifff26548496pul1 

If it's a PDF that anyone can download, can you post the link? I'll take a look.

Jane

 

Justin, is this possible?

 

Jane

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Community Expert ,
Oct 12, 2022 Oct 12, 2022

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Using the same file? That's unlikely.

Try it with a different file from another source.

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New Here ,
Oct 13, 2022 Oct 13, 2022

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Hello. Tried multiple files and none are searchable. Should I remove Acrobat from my PC and reinstall? I don't see an easy way to just update.
Thanks.

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New Here ,
Oct 13, 2022 Oct 13, 2022

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Actually, it appears that it depends what type of PDF I am working with. I tried another PDF that is stored in Acrobat's cloud and was able to search terms. Not sure why some PDFs that I have created are unsearchable.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 13, 2022 Oct 13, 2022

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How EXACTLY did you create the problem PDFs? Please be detailed.

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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Hi @JustinBClifff26548496pul1 ,

  • What version of the Reader are you using?
  • Also, could you please share some sample files with us?
  • Also, please share the exact workflow that you've performed?

 

Thanks

Adobe Acrobat DC Desktop Team

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Community Expert ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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@adeep93 wrote:

Also, could you please share some sample files with us?


 

I've asked twice for a file.

Jane

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LEGEND ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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Still waiting for your replies, Justin. 

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New Here ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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Hello, Here's an example of a PDF I downloaded from a government site. I am not able to do a word search on this document.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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The file has no searchable text.

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New Here ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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That's where I'm confused. Why are some PDF files searchable and others not? Is it how the file was originally saved? Other? Thanks for your help, I'm not a technical person so I'm just trying to understand the difference in PDF file tpyes/=.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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PDF files can contain all kinds of elements: "real" text, images, graphics, etc. Only the former can be searched. Text that's a part of an image can't be searched, because it's not real text. It's just a part of an image.

But the creator of the file (or anyone else with Acrobat) can run Text Recognition (also known as OCR) on it and (try to) convert the text in the images to real text. If it's successful, then you can search for it.

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New Here ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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Here's an example of a Word doc I converted to PDF. I AM able to do a word search on this PDF.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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Works fine for me:

 

try67_0-1665762331899.png

 

Edit: Sorry, didn't notice you wrote it does work for you... The first file you shared has no real text, just images. That's why you can't search it. This is the correct behavior for the application. The authors of that file forgot (or neglected) to run Text Recognition on it, leaving you (and everyone else) unable to search it. You should report this issue to them.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 14, 2022 Oct 14, 2022

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Actually, it's even worse than this. The file you can't search doesn't contain text, but it wasn't just scanned either. It seems that Maricopa County Justice Courts actually did something called "outlining text" which replaces each letter by shapes instead. This doesn't happen by accident, and isn't something you did. This is a favourite trick of people submitting evidence, to stop the other parties searching easily, but it's surprising to see the courts themselves doing that. It may be worth complaining.

 

Do you have other problem files? Especially ones you made yourself (I had the impression you were making them, rather than using files made by someone else...)

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