I can't select text in a PDF
You've opened a PDF in DocsPlus but can't select the text to hear it spoken.
The text in your PDF is probably a picture, rather than true digital text (especially if created by scanning a test paper). Therefore, the PDF appears empty to screen readers like DocsPlus.
Picture text can be converted to actual text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. In simple terms, this intelligently guesses which letters are shown in the picture. Various software and websites offer an OCR feature, with varying performance. Paid software from big companies (e.g. Adobe Acrobat DC, Microsoft OneNote) use AI to boost the accuracy of their OCR. However, free options are also available.
Google Drive is free and popular. Many people are unaware that you can create a new Google Doc from an existing PDF or picture. If it contains any picture text, Google will try converting it to digital text.
To do this:
- Sign into https://drive.google.com
- Upload your PDF by dragging it into your Drive (or click New > File upload on the left).
- Right-click the uploaded file and choose Open with > Google Docs.
- The new document will include the original pictures. Any generated text will be included beneath them. Tidy up the text and correct any mistakes.
- If an original picture is worth keeping (e.g. a diagram), right-click it and choose Crop image to exclude the unwanted parts. Otherwise, delete it.
- Open the File menu and choose Download > PDF document.
The resulting PDF will contain true digital text and be readable by DocsPlus and other screen readers.
Remember, OCR isn't 100% accurate, so some human editing may be required!
- 12th May 2021
- Last revised
- 11th May 2021
- Applies to
- DocsPlus for Chromebook
- DocsPlus for iPad
- DocsPlus for Windows / Mac
- DocsPlus Universal for Chromebook
- DocsPlus Universal for iPad
- DocsPlus Universal for Windows / Mac