Currently Being ModeratedOct 5, 2011 5:35 AM (in response to Tools&Keys)
Most PDFs are scanned paper documents stored as an image rather than text format.
Searchable PDFs need an additional text layer beneath the 'image'.
But these require additional steps to create which is why there aren't that much of them.
PDFPen is one application to create searchable PDFs.
Currently Being ModeratedOct 5, 2011 8:00 PM (in response to Fortuny)
Well, you are correct, many PDFs are scanned documents that are not searchable. But the problem I've been having is with the text-based PDFs. I can highlight each individual word or character, which would not be possible in a scanned document. But your reply started me thinking, and I ran a test. When I copy and paste a word from the section of the PDF that is not searchable, I get the following illegible characters: ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣ . When I copy and paste from the section that is searchable, I get the original word correctly copied.
So I went back to the original website and downloaded the manual. Doing nothing more, that document was actually searchable, and correctly supported copy and paste. Selecting Save As, I saved the document to my desktop (the original was in the Downloads folder), and lo and behold, that version of the document was no longer searchable. So something is going on with the Save As command. When I threw out the non-searchable version, and went back to the Downloads copy and simply moved it to the desktop, that version was still searchable.
So I can't say I fully understand it, but I've learned that I don't want to do Save As after downloading a PDF manual - something in the saving puts the main portion of the document (but not the text in the figures) into a corrupted format that makes it unsearchable.
Currently Being ModeratedOct 5, 2011 8:13 PM (in response to Tools&Keys)
I admit that I haven't really given much or any thoughts about the PDFs I have to be searchable or not.
I simply haven't cared about it.
Essentially it is up to the creator of the PDF whether they make the additional step/work to get their PDF searchable or not.
Plus given the possibilty to allow or forbid certain user-actions when creating a PDF it may be that they can be a reason too.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 28, 2012 3:59 AM (in response to Tools&Keys)
I have the same problem. I can search a PDF document, and Preview will find some occurances of the word, and not others. I tried copy-paste of an occurance that it did not find, and it copy-pastes fine, unlike in your case. I also did not do any "safe as" on the document, it is the original as downloaded from the internet.
Do you have any updated info on this?
Currently Being ModeratedNov 30, 2012 10:30 PM (in response to Tools&Keys)
I was having the same problem - with no search results coming up. Then I clicked on the button in the top left corner (below the red X) and selected Table of Contents, and oddly enough search results started popping up. Weird, I know, but that's what happened. I'm not sure what would happen if there was no table of contents. This file was a textbook that I downloaded. Hope this helps!
Currently Being ModeratedFeb 25, 2013 11:27 PM (in response to Tools&Keys)
This is a very frustrating problem, and it's sad to see it has persisted so long.
But, after finding and reading this thread, i retraced my steps, and found that it was indeed related to a Mac OS X "Save as" glitch — sort of.
Whenever i download a document i intend to work on directly, adding annotations and highlights, etc., i sometimes choose to work on a copy, leaving another untouched (i'm an obsessive academic); sure enough: Preview was not finding text in the *copy* i had made (by clicking "duplicate" in the contextual menu after selecting the pdf in Finder). The original document was perfectly fine; only the duplicate copy is corrupted.
What's interesting though is that when i tried to highlight text in the original, Preview (of course) told me it is "locked" and asked if i wanted to unlock it or work on a copy; i clicked copy, and voila: the duplicate version created by Preview actually seems to work fine.
So long story short: i guess i can't trust Finder to duplicate pdf documents for me; from now on i'll do it through Preview.
BTW: Being paranoid, i checked and double-checked. So far so good. (Which is to say: not great, really, because we shouldn't be having this problem in the first place... sigh.) Anyway, good luck, i hope maybe this helps someone.
Currently Being ModeratedMay 21, 2013 3:03 PM (in response to Tools&Keys)
I started having a similar problem with an all-text PDF document. I use this document very often and I typically use the search a lot. Well, searches just stopped working in *this* file. Other files are OK. Anything I searched, no occurrences found.
I noticed there was a greyed "Locked" legend next to the file name in the Preview window. I checked the Lock flag in the Info window and also looked for the padlock icon, and no, they were not there.
I added a Speech Bubble annotation and then it changed to "Edited". I removed the bubble, and Voilá! searches are back. Happy again
Currently Being ModeratedJun 10, 2013 2:07 AM (in response to Tools&Keys)
Preview - goodreader - copy/paste - search: Not working
I have a very similar problem with preview where I can't copy/ paste and search documents. It has occurred with most documents that I saved in a dropbox folder and opened/ edited with goodreader on my iPad....
I access most of my academic stuff as well as work related stuff with goodreader on the go.
It must be something the way goodreader or dropbox saves the files, I guess. But I'm no techy and just can't get my files working again.
Thankful for all suggestions