The easiest way to create a searchable PDF

Free online OCR. No download required. Files deleted after 60 minutes.

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What is a searchable PDF?

A searchable PDF is a PDF file that lets you search for keywords in the text, and use copy/paste to extract text from the PDF. Unfortunately, many PDFs created from scanned documents aren’t searchable by default. This service converts those files into searchable PDFs.

Why isn't my PDF searchable?

The most common reason a PDF isn't searchable is that it was created from a scanned document. Scanners often capture the contents of the document as an image stored inside of a PDF file, without any understanding of the text in the document. This service reads the text in these "image-only" PDF files, and adds a text layer to allow searching and copy/pasting.

How does this service work?

We use a process called OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to recognize text in your PDF document. This is the same technology used in handwriting recognition systems, or automated license plate recognition systems. Once we've "read" the text in the PDF document, we embed a text layer in the PDF, which then allows the PDF to become searchable. To learn more about how OCR works, this excellent blog post provides a gentle introduction.

How big of a file can I upload?

The OCR process is very resource intensive, and since we operate this as a free service, we can only support uploading files up to 5mb at this time. We hope to increase this limit in the future.

How long are files stored?

Files are stored securely on our servers for up to 60 minutes to make sure you have time to download the converted file. After that period, files are permanently deleted, and can't be recovered under any circumstances.


If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at [email protected] — we'd love to hear from you! If you'd like to report a problem, please include a link to your browser information from — this will help us identify the issue and resolve it faster.

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