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Copying from PDF to InDesign - Character transfer issues

Community Beginner ,
Aug 27, 2021 Aug 27, 2021

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I am relatively new to InDesign and am therefore a novice user, but I am noticing someting odd. I am currently working on a book layout, and the author provided the text to me as a PDF file (for whatever reason, she does not have it in any other file format). And I am noting that when I copy and paste text from the Adobe PDF to Adobe InDesign (most recent version through CC), a very significant amouont of material does not copy-and-past accurately. Any letter with an accent or other diacritical mark from the PDF too often appears as a totally different letter or character in InDesign, for example. Quotation marks that appear as curled in the original arrive in InDesign in a variety of forms, including curled and straight, even for the same quotation (i.e., opens with curled quotation marks but closes with straight vertical or even straight slanted ones). Lower case i becomes lower case l or lower case j. And so on. This makes no sense to me, and I cannot detect any logical reason why the copy-and-psate function should do this, especially since Adobe developed BOTH of those software programs (Acrobat and InDesign)! It is as though one Adobe product is not compatible with the other! Does Adobe InDesign work accurately ONLY if the input text comes from a (Microsoft) Word document?!? I should note that I have *never* had the problem when copying from Word to InDesign. Maybe this explains why all major publishers insist that author submissions be in Word and only Word? Maybe those major publishers are all too well aware that the two Adobe products are not compatible with each other, and therefore they refuse submissions in PDF????

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Bug, Import and export, Performance

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correct answers 3 Correct answers

Adobe Community Professional , Aug 27, 2021 Aug 27, 2021
Copy and paste from a PDF is problematic for many reasons... different font encodings, etc, etc. and there are various ways to do it, but really, you would be better off exporting your PDF to a Word file or RTF file, then import that. Acrobat has a better chance of guessing how the copy should be formatted when you do that. It truly is making an educated guess. You have to remember that a PDF is an output format, not an authoring format, and it definitely is NOT a word processor like Word. How ...

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Adobe Community Professional , Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021
You might get a better copy and paste by using the Edit function and then copying. https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/edit-text-pdfs.html

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Adobe Community Professional , Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021
You can also Export the PDF to a text file - like RTF or a Word Document And do some text fix-ups there. https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/exporting-pdfs-file-formats.html

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 27, 2021 Aug 27, 2021

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This is a follow-up from the original poster, in anticipation of questions. The font remained the same ... Times New Roman in the original PDF, and I kept is as TMR in InDesign. So it is NOT an issue of different fonts having a different appearance. And it seems to happen in isolated batches. That is, I might copy and paste 10 pages of text without any issues. Then when I copy and paste the next ten pages ... using EXACTLY the same procedure ... half of the text will appear in InDesign in a wonkily erroneousy form, and the other half will be 100% correct. And oddly, it really does seem to happen mid-quotation ... a quote opens with a pair of curlies and closes with straights, both vertical and slant. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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You might get a better copy and paste by using the Edit function and then copying.

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/edit-text-pdfs.html

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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You can also Export the PDF to a text file - like RTF or a Word Document

And do some text fix-ups there.

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/exporting-pdfs-file-formats.html

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 27, 2021 Aug 27, 2021

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Copy and paste from a PDF is problematic for many reasons... different font encodings, etc, etc. and there are various ways to do it, but really, you would be better off exporting your PDF to a Word file or RTF file, then import that. Acrobat has a better chance of guessing how the copy should be formatted when you do that. It truly is making an educated guess.

You have to remember that a PDF is an output format, not an authoring format, and it definitely is NOT a word processor like Word. How text and graphics are encoded inside one is intended purely for the final result, that being printing or screen representation.

It's got nothing to do with Adobe creating both programs. What you are wanting it do do is akin to wanting to have all the lumber in your house back in the form it was before the house was built. Can't do that.. if you tear your house apart now, you have a bunch of small, cut pieces that have been nailed together.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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Sorry - I didn't read your post all the way through. I agree with Roaring Mouse - makes some excellent points. 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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So let me get this correct ... You are telling me is that the "geniuses" who wrote both software programs and are selling both software programs for bazillions of bucks were really too stupid to figure out a way to make one Adobe product 100% compatible with a second Adobe product, and they would instead prefer that their end users actually buy and use a software program designed by a competing third party? Deliberate sharing the wealth, perhaps? And your analogy about getting the wood back out of a house and doing so with the wood intact is applicable only if your imagination is very limited. What do you think Alan Turing would say if asked in the late 1940s to put the vast majority of the world's knowledge into a piecce of plastic and metal that you can stick in you coat pocket? If Adobe can dream up Acrobat for PDFs and InDesign for layout work, they can darned well figure out how to make the two systems compatible!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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You came here and said you were new. You asked for help and you don't like what you've been told?

The analogy is fine, but I personally prefer the putting an egg back in the shell after making an omelete comparison.

The real issue here is that you're new and you don't appear willing to learn how this workflow works.

The biggest issue is that you've been handed a PDF. That is ridiculous but when you get lemons make lemonade or in this case, save it as a Word file and place it in InDesign.

And please tone down your attitude. There's a lot of people here willing to help you, but if all you want to do is rant, well, have at it, I guess.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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That is correct the teams are not exclusive. They run independent of each other. Hence gaps and differences in how they operate.

 

We are just users like you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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I agree with Bob, you've been saddled with a perverse workflow, you've been given some helpful solutions - be grateful.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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Here is another option:

https://www.recosoft.com/converting-pdf-to-indesign-2021-using-latest-adobe-indesign-converter-plug-...

Also, if you open the original PDF in Acrobat and go to File> Properties> Description, you can usually determine the program that created the PDF, armed with this knowledge, you can ask for the original. Many non-Adobe programs can make a PDF. If your PDF was saved from Illustrator (not very likely), you may be able to edit it as an original document there.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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Normally the same letter is wrong with the same replacement. So make a find & replace. In the scripts is an example for find & replace rund with several entries with one click. When you do not know, how you write it, save a find & replace and open that xml file and copy it from there and paste it into the list.

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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Hi there,

 

Thanks for reaching out. I agree with @roaringmousegraphics that Acrobat is not a word processor & you can follow the suggestion to save the PDF file as word and then place it in InDesign. @Eugene Tyson has shared the help article to do that.

 

If you have suggestions & ideas about the Adobe apps & workflows, you may share those on Adobe Uservoice. Product team would be happy to look into it.

 

Regards,

Ashutosh

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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You guys are just totally missing the point. Adobe makes BOTH Acrobat AND InDesign. And yet you (and Adobe) are asking me to utilize a third-party software in order to achieve compatability between the two Adobe programs. Set aside the "word processor" issue. I AM NOT USING THE PROGRAMS FOR WORD PROCESSING! I am using them for COPY AND PASTE, *without* changing the text in any way. And Adobe DOES NOT COPY AND PASTE FROM ONE ADOBE PROGRAM TO ANOTHER with any accuracy at all! I would compare it to trying to transfer text from Microsoft Word to Microsoft Excel, but the only way to accurately copy and paste the text would be to copy from Word to Corel WordPerfect first, then transfer it from Corel WordPerfect to Microsft Excel. But maybe you guys are just too geeky to comprehend simple efficiency and compatibility WITHIN A SINGLE COMPANY! 

I'm done. You guys are just so buried in your code that you cannot see the forest for the trees.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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HI @DesertSkies120,

My two cents on the issue. I do understand your point and I am pretty sure all the folks who particpated in this discussion do as well. The issue here is not that much about better compatibility within the products created by the same company but rather about the purpose of the two softwares. As mentioned by roaringmousegraphics that PDF is meant as an output format and while achieving this if some capabilites are lost or needs to be tweaked to get a better output then it would be a sound decision to do so. I am hopeful you would do the same if you would have been the project manager and was presented with such a scenario. Then there are other factors like the utility and reach/use percentage of a particular feature/capabiltiy with respect to the effort needed. So while transferring data between word and excel makes more sense(both applications are used for content creation), the transfer of text from PDF would not hold that much weight due to all the reasons we already discussed and probably some more that we may not be aware of. You may still differ in your opinion but that's ok this is a discussion forum so I appreciate the brainstorming and exchange of opinions.

-Manan

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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We understand your point. We have the same issue as you.

 

We are users just like you.

 

Adobe do make the software for both. But the teams are separated. They are just software engineers who develop the software.

 

One team decided it works well for them one way. The other team decided it works well for them another way.

 

I understand your frustrations.

But we cannot change the outcome.

 

All we can do is offer our advice on how we approach the same issue you face.

 

If you wish you can file but reports and feature requests here.

https://indesign.uservoice.com/

 

I'm locking this thread now. As I feel it's be answered and come full circle.

If there's anything else you need help with feel free to start a new discussion.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 29, 2021 Aug 29, 2021

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You keep missing the point! The point is that PDF can be created by just about any application, not just Adobe applications. And PDF is an end product, not intended for what you want to do. You might just as well have a printed piece of paper.

We've given you your choices but you don't want to hear it, unfortunately. The time you've wasted ranting about things that nobody hear can do about would have been better spent learning the facts.

Good luck, I'm going to bow out here since there are people that actually want our help. You don't appear to be one of them.

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