I recently downloaded a programming book. All pages are in image format. If I want to run a code, I'm unable to copy it from that ebook. How to convert these kind of pdfs to normal pdf. I google but I didn't understand what they are saying. They are telling about some OCR and something which I can't understand. Is there any tool or software for it.(I'm using windows and linux (ubuntu) operating systyems)

  • These are normal PDF files. PDF is just not good format for storing scanned data and there is nothing that forces scanned images of text to have selectable regions with those text assigned. I recommend you convert this to DjVu, decreasing the file size to 5% of the PDF file and apply OCR on the fly to that
    – Anthon
    May 26, 2014 at 10:56

2 Answers 2


It sounds like the pages you've looked at are telling you the right thing. If you have an image-based PDF, then there is no text in it, just pictures of text. In order to convert the pictures of text to actual text, you have two options: have a human do the conversion, or have the computer do the conversion. Having a human do it would mean someone sitting down and typing out your book for you. Having the computer do it for you involves Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. If you have Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader), it has built-in OCR software. Other than that, I know that ABBYY Fine Reader has an excellent reputation. There may be other options as well.

Bear in mind that whatever OCR software you use, the conversion will not be perfect, particularly if you're dealing with a bad scan. Even in a best-case scenario where you've got 99.9% accuracy on the conversion, you'll still have about one error every thousand characters—two or three typos per page. That will mean that you'll have to be careful cutting and pasting code; the whole process may not save you any effort over just typing stuff in.

  • any free software?
    – gangadhars
    May 23, 2014 at 6:52
  • 1
    There may well be some out there, but I don't know what it is. You'd probably be able to find it by Googling "free OCR software" though.
    – Tom
    May 23, 2014 at 6:53
  • Second recommendation for ABBY Fine Reader. It might be cheaper to find a copy of the book in epub format. May 24, 2014 at 3:31
  • "Google OCR" is definitely the correct advice here. Maybe more can be found/asked on Super User and/or Software Recommendations?
    – Raphael
    Jun 6, 2014 at 11:04

Open your PDF file in Google Chrome and use Project Naptha extension to select and copy text.

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