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It's kind of funny, when you think about it, that most of this title is about getting stuff into PDF format, but this whole chapter is about getting stuff out of PDF format. It actually happens quite often that you get a PDF, you download something from the Internet, or somebody sends you an attachment, and you need to grab some of the text or some of the images out of there and reuse them elsewhere. So I did already talk about--in a previous video--how to copy and paste text and images, but I think it will help us just to review that really quickly.
Basically, if you just want to grab text and copy and paste it elsewhere, you use the Selection tool up here in the toolbar. So if I just grabbed this paragraph, I could select it and then copy and then jump over to say, Microsoft Word, and paste it in. What if you want to extract more text than just what you can select? For example, here we have a 22-page PDF, and we want to extract all the text to say, for example, pour it into an Adobe InDesign file or something.
How do you do that? Well, you could click inside the text and then go to the Edit menu and choose Select All. You'd think that it would select all the text in the document, but if you are looking at the document in the View mode of Page Display > Single Page View, then Select All just selects one page worth of text. If you turn on Enable Scrolling and then say Select All again, then you will see that all the text in the document is selected.
Now, you could copy and paste it. But still, that's pretty inefficient, and you don't have a lot of control over how it gets copied. So the fastest way to get all the copy out and have some control over what happens with the formatting is to actually convert it to text, or export it to text. Interestingly, you will not find either one of those two commands in Acrobat, convert or export to text. It's kind of funny, but that's why you are watching this video, right, to learn how to do that. You have to go to the File menu and choose Save As, and then in this Save As dropdown menu, here are all the different ways that you can export content out of a PDF.
This is what will be going through in this chapter. To export copy to text, you would want to go down to More Options. Here you see the options to save the PDF with a different standard, but down here you would see Rich Text Format, which is generic text format except that it also includes formatting information. So, you are probably going to be choosing Rich Text Format, or you are going to choose Plain Text, if you didn't want any other formatting to come along for the ride. Now of course there is also Save As Microsoft Word, either a current .docx format or older .doc format, but we are going to be talking about that in a different video.
So let's go back down here. I am going to export the text from this document to Rich Text Format, and I will save this file out on the Desktop. Before you do so, you might want to go to Settings, and you are going to see this every time that you Save As a PDF out to text or images, it wants to know, do you want me to favor flowing text or favor page layout? The difference between these two things is that if it says Retain Flowing Text, then that means it's a lot easier to edit after you export this text, because the text will just flow right into each other.
But if you say Retain Page Layout, then what you are exporting will look almost exactly like how it looks here in the PDF, but things will be put into sort of stationary boxes when they get exported. So they are little more difficult to edit and re-flow. Normally, if you are just trying to get the text out because you want to reuse it, you should turn on Retain Flowing Text. If you want to include any kind of comments that people have left, from the annotations or mark-up, then you want to turn that on. There are no comments in here. So it's just not going to make any difference.
Also, if there are any images in this file, when you export to RTF, it can also include the images as well. I don't think we have any images in this one. Run OCR if needed, you might as well this turned on as it is by default, because it's kind of interesting--when you export to text or Microsoft Word or Excel format, Acrobat uses its OCR engine, which is extremely powerful-- that's Optical Character Recognition-- to make sure that words that might be difficult to recognize as an actual word or maybe typefaces that aren't loaded, that it's not really recognizing, the OCR engine will convert those to actual readable text, as much as it can.
So leave that turned on. We will just OK, and then Save. Now you will see a little progress bar appear in the lower-right, and when it goes away, that means that the file is ready for you. We can check right here on our Desktop, and there is the RTF file. Let's see what that looks like by opening up in Microsoft Word. I have turned on the paragraph marker symbols, so that we can actually see how it's adding the space.
You see it actually retained a lot of the formatting, and this is completely editable text here. I am scrolling down. Even though we didn't opt to maintain the layout, or to favor the layout--we said we want to favor flowing text so it will be easy to edit-- it actually did a really good job of matching the layout anyway. Let's see what the difference is if I go back to that same file, and this time when I Save As > More Options > Rich Text Format, we choose the other setting: Retain Page Layout. To the Desktop, I will add layout after this, so I know what's what.
We get the same progress bar. Let's open up that one in Word. I double-click on it, and now we have something a little different. It says Section Break (Next Page). We don't have that line of Returns. Then on the next page, it's, again, sort of the same text. It looks the same until you click inside it, and you can see that what it's done is created these boxes that Word uses to maintain an item's position.
So with a text-heavy documented, this is probably not the option that you want. You want to stay with flowing text. Just a couple of other things about exporting to text or RTF is that you need to remember that you don't have to export the whole document just to get some of the text into Word or into an RTF file. I mean obviously you can copy and paste. But you could also swipe over some text, right-click, and choose Export Selection As, which a lot of people overlook. When you choose Export Selection As, then you are able to choose which format do you want to export the selection as, DOCX, or DOC, or RTF and any of these formats? So I can just call it "intro" and the click Save.
The benefit of doing that, of swiping over text and selecting them and then choosing Export, is that that OCR engine kicks into place. Now if you go to Edit > Preferences, which on a PC is under the Edit menu and on a Macintosh go underneath Adobe Acrobat, and choose Preferences, and on the left choose Convert From PDF, you will see that all the different ways that you can do a Save As to one of these formats, all of the setting are listed here. So for Rich Text Format, here are the same settings that we just looked at when we clicked the Settings box.
If you want to have certain options set as a default, you should do it here, and you are converting from PDF dialog box. Like I normally would when I save as RTF, I always want to retain flowing text rather than the Page Layout. I hate those boxes, so I will click OK. You might want to see the same thing, like for text if you export to text, all the settings that you can do for exporting the text. So just keep in mind that when you want to get all the text out of a PDF, you have a lot of options available to you: You can copy and paste.
You can select and choose Export from the right-click menu. Or the fastest, most efficient and usually the way that gets you the best results is to use our friend File > Save As > More Options, and then either RTF or Text.
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