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Extract Text From Password Protected PDF: macOS Image-to-Text Feature

Please respect all copyright laws. Copyright also allows for “fair use”.

Sometimes I want to quote a short passage in an article in PDF form. But I run into a problem—copying even a single word is blocked. I don’t want to type things in as that is tedious and leads to errors.

Consider the following user manual section:

Attempting to copy this text in Preview or Adobe Acrobat results in being blocked:

Manual note (screem capture) — locked 

Solution — Image to Text 

Recent versions of macOS have a nifty image-to-text feature: you can now select the text within the image as plain text, like this:

  1. Take a screen capture of the text.
  2. Save it as a JPG or PNG somewhere,
  3. Open it in Preview or Safari.
  4. Select the text, the copy it.
  5. Paste the text where needed. TIP: paste into an editor like BBEdit to clean up any gremlins.
Text selected within screen grab in Preview.app

Resulting text from Fujifilm Digital Camera GFX100S FF200003 Owner’s Manual p148:

The following restrictions apply when the electronic shutter is used:
• Sensitivity is restricted to values of ISO 12800-100
• Long exposure noise reduction has no effect.
• The flash will not fire unless pixel-shift multi-shot is enabled.

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