By Naaziyah IsmailThu. 07 Sep. 20233min Read

How to Copy and Paste from a PDF

This guide outlines the process of copying and pasting text from PDF documents, offering solutions for common issues
How to Copy and Paste from a PDF

Have you tried copying a snippet of text or an image for reference in a PDF file but struggled with using the editor app? You're not alone. This blog post will guide you through the ins and outs of copying and pasting from a PDF.

This guide is for you, whether you're a student aiming to grab some text for your report, a professional preparing a presentation, or just looking to make life a little easier.

Naaziyah Ismail
B2B SaaS Content Writer
Naaziyah has written many tutorials on apps and software such as, Jira, Asana, Trello, and PDF Reader Pro. She excels at engagingly simplifying complex processes. 


How to Copy and Paste from a PDF on Windows

I use PDF Reader Pro for copying and pasting text from PDFs due to its user-friendly interface and efficient text extraction capabilities.

Its reliability and ease of use make it a recommended tool for those seeking a straightforward solution for managing PDF documents.

Get Started with PDF Reader Pro Today!


Step 1: Open PDF Reader Pro

Click on "Open Files".

Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 2: Select The Text

Click and drag your cursor over the text you want to copy, and right-click to get the copy option.

Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 3: Paste

Open the PDF to paste your text into, click on "Edit PDF," click on "Add Text," and select where you would like to paste your text. Right-click in that space and click on "Paste"

How to Copy and Paste from a PDF on a Mac

Step 1: Open PDF Reader Pro

Click on "Open File".


Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 2: Select The Text

Select the document content you want to copy by clicking and dragging over the text with your cursor. Right-click and select the copy option.

Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 3: Paste

In a new PDF, right-click and click on "Paste" to add your text.

I also extract text from scanned documents using OCR with PDF Reader Pro, simplifying the process and significantly saving time by allowing me to copy the text easily and paste it into a new document.

Its effective and user-friendly OCR feature makes text extraction a breeze.

Download PDF Reader Pro and level up on all your PDF-related matters.

You can also check our resume resource on the Customer Satisfaction Survey PDF Template.

"PDF Reader Pro is an amazing tool for individuals and for business. It's annotation and editing help me with my daily tasks and allows for collaboration amongst my team and I."
Naaziyah Ismail
B2B SaaS Content Writer
Source: LinkedIn


Common Errors when Copying and Pasting from a PDF File

Copying and pasting text from PDFs can sometimes result in errors or issues. Here are some common ones and how to fix them:

1. Formatting Issues

  • Problem: The text may not retain its original formatting when pasted into another document.
  • Fix: Use the "Paste Special" or "Paste and Match Style" option if available in the destination application to paste the text without formatting. Alternatively, paste the text into a plain text editor first, then copy it again before pasting it into the destination document to strip out formatting.


2. Text Not Selectable

  • Problem: The PDF may contain images of text rather than selectable text layers.
  • Fix: Use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software or features within your PDF reader (like PDF Reader Pro's OCR function) to convert the image-based text to selectable text.


3. Characters Appear as Symbols

  • Problem: Sometimes, copying text results in gibberish or symbols instead of the correct characters.
  • Fix: This usually indicates a font encoding issue. Try using a different PDF reader that might handle font encoding better. If possible, obtain a version of the document with the correct encoding or use OCR software to recognize the text.


4. Unable to Copy Text

  • Problem: Some PDFs are secured or protected, preventing text from being copied.
  • Fix: Check if the document is protected under its properties. If you have legitimate access to the content, you might need to ask the document provider for an unprotected version or the necessary permissions to copy text.


5. Copied Text is Scrambled or Out of Order

  • Problem: When copying text from a PDF, it may not follow the intended reading order, resulting in jumbled or out-of-order text.
  • Fix: Manually adjust the order after pasting or use the "Reading Order" tools in PDF editing software to select text in the correct order before copying. Some PDF readers offer advanced copying options that better preserve the reading order.

"With PDF Reader Pro, the ability to convert, edit, and sign PDFs has never been more accessible and user-friendly."
Johan Müller
B2B SaaS Content Writer
Source: LinkedIn

How to Copy and Paste from a PDF: FAQs

Can I copy and paste directly from a PDF document?

Yes, you can copy and paste from most PDF documents. Select the desired text or content, right-click, and choose the "Copy" option. Then, go to the destination application or document and right-click to choose "Paste.

How do I copy images or tables from a PDF?

Copying images or tables from a PDF may require additional steps. Right-click on the image or table and choose "Save Image As" or "Copy Image" to save or copy it. For tables, you might need to use an online tool or dedicated software that can extract tables from PDFs.

What should I do if the content is incomplete or distorted after copying and pasting?

Incomplete or distorted output can be caused by limitations in the PDF viewer or restrictions set by the document author. In such cases, using specialized PDF converters with optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities can help ensure accurate content extraction.

Can I copy content from a password-protected or encrypted PDF?

If a PDF is password-protected or encrypted, you may not be able to copy its content without the correct password or decryption key. In such cases, contacting the document owner or obtaining the necessary permissions is necessary.

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