Copy text and images in a PDF documentSeptember 20, 2008
Did you know that you can copy text and images from a PDF document displayed in Adobe Reader? Most people think you can’t unless you purchase full Acrobat, so here’s how.
- From the menu, select Tools > Select & Zoom, then choose the Select Tool (for text), or the Snapshot Tool (for an image)
- Click and drag your cursor over the text or image you want to copy from the PDF file.
- Once selected, press Ctrl+C to copy your selection to the clipboard where it’s ready for pasting into another application such as Word.
That’s it! With the Select Tool you will lose some formatting and tables, but you will get the text; with the Snapshot Tool, anything you select (including text) is converted to an image.
Update (3 November 2008): This no longer works in Adobe Reader 8.1.2, even though the right-click menu option would indicate that it’s meant to work.
Update (17 November 2009): This works again in Adobe Reader 9.2.0.
[This article was first published in the September and December 2002 CyberText Newsletters; steps updated for Adobe Reader 8.0 in January 2008]