Removing random dots or speckles in scanned documents using Adobe Acrobat DC

Community Beginner ,
Jul 21, 2016 Jul 21, 2016

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Paper documents scanned to .pdf often have random dots and speckles on the pages.  What tool in Adobe Acrobat DC do I use to remove or erase them?

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Scanning paper docs. to .pdf often results in random dots and speckles appearing on the pages.  What tool in Acrobat DC do you use to remove or erase those random dots or speckles?

(I just downloaded DC.  I learning how to use it on the job.  The Adobe salesperson who sold me the produce on July 19, 2016 assured me that DC had such a built-in erasure or removal tool for the removal of random dots and speckles.  So, I want to know where that tool is located in DC.)

Carl Kirsch

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Edit and convert PDFs

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2016 Jul 21, 2016

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On the scanner dialog, you can select to optimize your scanned images, but with newer versions of Acrobat, there is no longer a "despeckle" option (which was there until probably Acrobat 9). You can try to see if a combination of the available options will give you a despeckled image. I would try to use the despeckle option that comes with my scanner software. To use that, you would have to select the native scanner user interface vs. Acrobat's scanner interface.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 21, 2016 Jul 21, 2016

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Karl,

Here is what a chat agent suggested as a way of removing random dots and speckles from scanned documents:

Priyanka: I would like to inform you that there is no erase option is present (sic) under Acrobat pro dc
Priyanka: but yes you can do one thing

carl kirsch: I should be able to "edit" any speckle or random dot out of existence.
Priyanka: you can got (sic) to edit pdf and then select text box and then past (sic) it to those places where dots are present
Priyanka: then select the text box and change the color as white.
carl kirsch: Okay. That makes sense. So the suggest[ed] solution is to paste a text box over the random speckle or dot and then delete it just like I would do to text. Right?
Priyanka: there is no need to delete
Priyanka: you can change the color of the text area
Priyanka: text field boundry
Priyanka: boundary *
carl kirsch: What color would I change to? White?
Priyanka: yes

END

________________________

Karl, what the agent is suggesting is that I go to the "Edit" toolbox, select the "text box" tool and surround the random dot or speckle with a "text box" and, thereafter, change the color of the interior of the text box to the color "white", thereby in effect "erasing" the dot or speckle. 

To me, the agent's suggestion (that I have not tried out yet) is a simple and straightforward workaround to the absence of a specific eraser tool built into Adobe Acobat DC.  What do you think?

(By the way, Nuance's Paperport 14 has an eraser tool. After you scan a document using Paperport's scan function, you can save it to .pdf on Paperport's desktop.  Thereafter, you use Paperport's eraser tool to delete any random dots and speckles on the .pdf document.  After you clean up the .pdf document, in Paperport, you open the cleaned up .pdf doc. with Adobe Acrobat and save the cleaned up .pdf document using Acrobat to any folder on your computer.  Before I bought Adobe Acobat Standard DC ("DC"), I asked the Adobe salesman if DC had such an eraser tool and he said, "Yes; it's built into DC."  Sadly, I now learn no such eraser tool exists in Adobe Acobat Standard DC.  To me, that is a major design flaw in the current versions of DC Standard and Pro. I am very disappointed.  I would demand my money back and return to using Acrobat X, but Adobe no longer supports Acrobat X.  Hopefully, the chat agent's suggestion above will work, because my Paperport that has worked flawlessly for years has now developed an unresolved problem that is interfering with production of a cleaned up copy of a .pdf document scanned to Paperport.)

Carl Kirsch

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 21, 2016 Jul 21, 2016

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Karl,

PS: Any "de-speckle" tool is clumsy and inefficient, because such tools do not recognize and eliminate all random dots or speckles; hence, the need for a target specific eraser tool.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2016 Jul 21, 2016

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Acrobat does not have a pixel level editor (as you now know), and because of that, I wrote an image editor plug-in for a company that I used to work for 10 years ago - unfortunately, it's not available as a standalone product.

What you can do if you have Adobe Photoshop installed is to edit the image in Photoshop and use all the image editor tools that PS offers to cleanup your document. You can also use other image editors, but you will have to find out what works and how well they are integrated with Acrobat. To do that, select Tools>Edit PDF>Edit, then right-click on an image and select to edit in Adobe Photoshop.

If that is not possible, then using the workaround with the text box is possible. If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can also use the redaction tool to select all specks and then in a second step change them to white (which hopefully matches your paper color).

Yes, Acrobat could have a pixel level editing tool, but by using Photoshop, I can usually get what I want with an application that is actually designed to do this kind of stuff. Chances are that whatever would be build into Acrobat would not be as powerful as Photoshop.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 22, 2016 Jul 22, 2016

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Dear Karl,

Thanks for your help.  However, be advised that I do not have Photoshop and do expect to be compelled to purchase a product I don't want and don't need to address a common and recurring problem in all documents scanned to .pdf.  Moreover, my question was limited to the capabilities of Adobe Acrobat Standard DC to remove random dots and speckles resulting from the scanning hard copies to .pdf.

Dots and speckles are common and recurring defects appearing on all digital copies of hard copies scanned to .pdf using any sanning engine. I would have thought the tech guys at Adobe would have addressed the removal of these disfiguring items in Acrobat 12 so as to make the edited .pdf product nearly perfect. How many years must go by before Adobe addresses this common problem in somewhat the same fashion as did Nuance with its Paperport product many years ago with its built in eraser tool?  If Nuance can do it, surely Adobe could have done it in constructing Acrobat 12 using some non-patent violating workaround that enabled the Adobe customer, like me, to remove all disfiguring dots and speckles from the digital .pdf product before printout or electronic transmission.

I bought the Adobe Acrobat Standard DC product on a representation by an Adobe salesman that DC Standard had an erasure tool built into its edit engine.  Now I find out that was a misrepresentation of fact.  I am very upset over this misrepresentation, because Acrobat X was serving me well, although Adobe has not abandoned support for it.

I am an attorney who produces text documents in standard black on white paper. I am not interested in color reproductions in my .pdf documents.  I don't those features that are available in my word processor either.  My sole concern is the creation of clean and handsome black on white .pdf products that I can be proud of.  Because Adobe Acrobat Standard DC has no eraser tool or efficient substitute, I am a very unhappy customer and will pass my complaint along to other attorneys or perhaps look to them for resolution of the dot and speckle problem, if they have discovered one using Adobe Acrobat Standard DC.

Thanks for your help.  My problem was NOT corrected, but you tried.

Carl

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 22, 2016 Jul 22, 2016

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Carl,

if I were in your position, I would try to return the copy of Adobe Acrobat Standard DC that you purchased based on wrong information provided by Adobe.

I don't speak for Adobe - I am a user of Adobe's PDF technology - but based on the Acrobat history, I doubt that you will ever see a pixel level editor (or an "erase tool" as you call it) in Acrobat. There is a bit difference between Paperport and Acrobat: Paperport is an application that scans and manages scanned documents. Acrobat is an application that does a lot of things and scanning is just one of the many features it provides. There are features in Acrobat that are not on par with the industry leading applications. OCR is one of them - I keep a dedicated OCR application around for documents that are too challenging for Acrobat (e.g. documents that use two languages), scanning (and specifically the clean up of scanned documents) is another one that a dedicated document scanning application does better.

You can file an enhancement request on Adobe's web site for such a feature: Feature Request/Bug Report Form If enough users request such a feature, it may actually get implemented.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2021 Jan 31, 2021

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Priyanka's suggestion didn't work for me because my specks won't select as text, only as images. It is just unbelievable that there is no way to  remove an "image"! Or is there?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2021 Jan 31, 2021

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Priyanka's suggestion DID WORK for me! It is clumsy and time-consuming, and I would use it only for the worst specks that show up when you view the document in actual size. Go to tools/advanced commenting/text box tool. Draw a box around the speck, go back and click text box again, right-click the box and click properties. You have to change both the border and the fill to white. Close the doc, save changes, and yes the specks are gone. A lot of work per speck, so I am only getting rid of the larger spots and lines, but you can get rid of them, given enough time and effort.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 02, 2021 Feb 02, 2021

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Eventually I got used to doing this and it went much faster. The eBook is up now to be read or downloaded, specks all removed. It helped to show the Advanced Commenting toolbar, of course. If you have a different version of Acrobat, you should be able to find text boxes in there somewhere. I have been told the Redaction feature works too - you turn the covering boxes from black to white.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 02, 2021 Feb 02, 2021

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I wish there were a way to mark the reply by carlk72974128 as the correct answer, because it is. It was posted in 2016, so maybe it is simply too old to mark as correct. Thank you, Carl and Priyanka!

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Engaged ,
Jun 02, 2019 Jun 02, 2019

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I just scanned in a 340 page book using a Plustek Opticbook 3800 scanner using Win 10 on a virtual machine on my MBP. I used a different scanning software than I ususally use because the one I normally use (Book Pavilion) for some reason didn't save the scans to the disk. The new scanning software only allowed page by page tuning to eliminate speckling rather than be able to adjust the brightness/contrast for the whole job. At the end every page had thousands of tiny unsightly speckles. I was not happy.

But then I remembered Scan tailor. This free software is popular with  DIY bookscanners for processing images before turning them into PDFs.

The newest version doesn't work natively on Macs so I downloaded the latest PC version for my virtual Win 10 machine.

Scan Tailor only works on images, to get them I saved the PDF of the book as images (PNG) and then processed it using Scan tailor. One of the settings at the end is for de-speckling, I chose medium, pressed the button and then turned all the images back into a PDF. All speckles were gone. YMMV play with it and adjust settings to suit your needs.

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