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A very common operation with PDFs in Acrobat is simply selecting text or graphics or both out of a PDF, and then reusing that elsewhere, like in an e-mail message or an article that you are writing in Word or something like that. So how do you get text and graphics out of a PDF? Well, it turns out there are a ton of ways to do that. Well one of the most, simplest and direct ways is simply to select the text or graphics, and copy to the clipboard, and then paste it. One of the default tools in the toolbar is this little guy right here, the arrow next to the I-bar, and it is the Selection tool for text and images.
It's not two separate tools. It's the same tool, because it's intelligent that way. Let's use it to select text. Here I have a PDF of a newsletter from the Chicago Creative Coalition, a wonderful arts group in Chicago. Let's zoom in a bit with the Ctrl+Plus a couple of times, and say that we wanted to grab the first paragraph of text from here. All I need to do is drag over the text with the Selection tool, so notice how it automatically switched to the correct I- beam tool, right, because we're selecting text.
Then I just drag over the text, and then go to the Edit menu and choose Copy, or press Ctrl+C or Cmd+C, or I can just right-click and choose Copy, and then switch to a different program where I want to paste it into. So, say for example that I want to paste that into a Word document. I have Word open right here. I'm just going to right-click, and choose Paste, and there it comes in. Now in this case, every single line ended with a paragraph return, so I'd have to delete those or use Find/Change to get rid of it, but at least I have all the text that I want to use, right? Now let's go back to Acrobat, and this time we will select a picture.
So when you click on a picture or when you select a picture, it selects one picture at a time. Let's go ahead and select this picture. This time I will right- click it, and choose Copy Image. We will go back to Word and choose Paste, boom! There it comes in, as a regular image that I could resize or crop or whatever the heck I wanted to, in Word. Let's delete that by pressing the Backspace Key. And here is something kind of fun. Let's go back to Acrobat, let me click to deselect that picture. This time with the Selection tool still selected, I'm going to drag a selection rectangle, everything inside that's blue, over part of the picture, and part of the text, right.
So, what is it going to select this time? Let's see, so I am going to choose Copy with Formatting and Acrobat is thinking about it, and trying to figure out, what it should do and thinking well, actually, that's all she wants, is she wants just that part of the picture, and that part of the text. So that's what we will give her. Come back to Word, and choose Paste, and that's what it did. It cropped the picture, is that cool or what? And it only brought over those sections of the text that I had selected. So it's very intelligent that way. If you need to do something else, maybe more major for getting text or graphics out of a PDF like exporting all the text or exporting all the images, well that's a horse of a different color, and I cover that in a different video about exporting content to other formats. But for the simple daily kind of task of grabbing somebody's name or a story out of a PDF, and pasting it into an e-mail or into a Word doc or an InDesign file, that's all you need to do is use the one very handy, very flexible Selection tool.
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