PDF: Pretty Darn Frustrating?
The Translator’s Tool Box - © International Writers’ Group, LLC
Image-based files, on the other hand, do not allow copying or searching
because what appears to be text is actually part of an image. A scanned or
faxed document that has been saved as a PDF file is an example of an image-
based file. To convert these types of files to an editable file format, one needs
to use an OCR (optical character recognition) program, and the result depends
on the clarity of the image.
The third type, the searchable image-based file, is kind of a hybrid between
the two other types. It’s an image file that is searchable, i.e., you can search
text even though it’s an image. A searchable image-based file can be created
from an image-based file using the Edit PDF (or: Text Recognition) function
in Adobe Acrobat (not available in the Reader version). As with any OCR
program, the results depend on the clarity of the text in the image. If you
have a hard time reading the text, don’t think that the program can read it
any better. You can also copy and paste text from a searchable image file, but
again the resulting text depends on how accurately the OCR program
recognizes the text.
Why do we need to talk about PDF files and related tools? The better we
understand the possibilities and limitations of these files and the related tools,
the easier it is to find the best and most efficient ways to handle them. For
example, knowing proper tools can save hours of tedious manual editing when
converting PDF files to an editable format.
Adobe Reader is probably already in almost everyone’s computer. It allows
you to view and search PDF files and also comment on files that have been
enabled for commenting (more under Enabling Extended Features for Adobe
Reader on page 376).
In addition to the free Reader version, the Adobe Acrobat product family also
includes Adobe Acrobat Standard and Adobe Acrobat Pro versions.
Note that here the name "Adobe Acrobat" refers to these three paid versions and
"Adobe Reader" to the free Reader version.