How to Extract Text from PDF File on Windows & Mac

Written By Kumar Raj
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh  
Published On December 5th, 2023
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

To reuse the content of a PDF document, it becomes necessary to extract text from PDF file. Sometimes, the text is locked in the PDF document and users are unable to copy them. Fortunately, there are reliable methods to effortlessly pull text from PDF files whether the PDF is secure or not. In this guide, we will explore various scenarios and methods to extract text from PDF files without any hassle.

Table of Contents:

When it comes to exporting text from PDF files, you have a few dependable options. Let’s dive into these methods suitable for both Windows and Mac users.

Extract Text from PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a powerful PDF editing tool. It provides a simple way to extract text from PDF files. Here’s how:

  1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Pro.
  2. Go to the File menu, select Export to, and choose the format you desire.

choose export and format

  1. Choose a location to save the extracted text, give it a name, and click Save.

save the text from pdf

Best Solution to Extract Text from PDF Offline

For an efficient offline solution, you can turn to SysTools PDF Extractor Tool. This user-friendly tool offers a range of features for extracting text from PDF with formatting. It allows batch extraction of text from multiple PDF files. It also has the option to extract text from specific pages. Plus you get all the text with formatting intact in TXT file.

Before using the tool, make sure to download the free demo version to check it’s working. After you are satisfied with the results, purchase the full version.

Steps to Extract All Text from PDF file:

Step 1 – Run the PDF Text Extractor. Click on Add File.

click add file

Step 2 – Select and import multiple PDF files to extract text.

import multiple pdf files

Step 3 – Go to the next window. Here, click on the Text tab.

click text tab

Step 4 – Now, choose if you want to maintain formatting. Also, select the pages from which you want to extract text.

maintain formatting

Step 5 – Make sure to deselect all other tabs to ensure only text is exported.

Step 6 – Finally, click the Extract button to pull out text from PDF document.

extract text from pdf file

Prominent Features of PDF Text Extractor Software

1. Pull out Text from PDF Files

It allows users to export PDF text and save it in (.txt) file format. The tool provides the Add Files / Add Folder option to insert multiple documents at once.

2. Provides Option to Apply Text Settings

Under the Apply Text Settings option, the tool provides two options i.e. Maintain Formatting & Maintain Page Number. Selecting the “Maintain Formatting” option helps in maintaining the formatting of the extracted text. With the Maintain Page Number option, maintain the page number on the top or bottom page of the extracted text file(s).

3. Apply Page Settings

The software provides the option “Apply Page Settings” to extract specific data from PDF files.

  • All Pages: With this option, the software will save text from all pages.
  • Even Pages: Selecting this option helps in extracting text from all even pages.
  • Odd Pages: Using this option pull text from all odd pages of PDF files
  • Page Range: With this option, users can save data from PDF according to page range. For ex: if user input is 1-3 5-7,,2-5. With this, the tool will extract text from 1 to 3 & 5 to 7 pages of 1 PDF file, all pages from 2 PDF files & 2 to 5 pages of 3 PDF files.
  • Page Numbers: This option helps in extracting data from selective page numbers. For ex: if user input is 1 3 6,,2 4. With this, the tool will extract text from 1,3,6 pages of 1 PDF file, all pages of 2 PDF file, and 2,4 pages of 3 PDF file.

4. Support Secured PDF Files

With this tool, users can extract text from password-protected PDF documents or restricted files. However, if the file is having user-level password security then the respective password must be known to the user.

Methods Based on Other Scenarios

Let’s explore different scenarios when users may need to extract text from PDF files:

I – Extract Text from PDF to Another Document

To extract text from PDF to Word, Excel, or CSV formats, you can use Adobe Acrobat Pro’s “Export to” feature:

  • Select File > Export to > Microsoft Word > Word Document.
  • Select File > Export to > Spreadsheet > Microsoft Excel Workbook.
  • There is no CSV option, but you can export to Excel and then rename the file as CSV.

II – Extract Text from PDF Image

If the PDF

  • is a scanned document,
  • an image PDF,
  • or contains images with text,

Users can extract text from PDF by using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Adobe Acrobat Pro offers OCR capabilities. Users can also find standalone OCR software for this purpose. Here are the steps:

  1. Open your scanned PDF or image-based PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro.
  2. Go to the ‘Tools‘ menu.
  3. Select ‘Recognize Text‘ depending on your version of Acrobat.
  4. Choose ‘In This File‘ to apply OCR to the current document.
  5. After OCR is applied, you can select and copy the text directly from Acrobat.

III – Extract Highlighted Text from PDF

1. Using Adobe:

If the PDF file has no restrictions, Users can manually copy and paste the highlighted text into another document.

  1. Open the PDF file with highlighted text in Adobe Acrobat Pro.
  2. If the PDF is not restricted, you can simply select the highlighted sections and copy them.
  3. Right-click on the selected text and choose Copy.
  4. Paste the text into your desired document format like Word or a text editor.

2. Using Professional Utility:

Within the PDF Text extraction tool, users can find the “Comment” tab. There is the option to extract highlighted text into PDF, Doc & Docx format. This method works for both protected and non-protected PDF files.

  1. Upload your PDF in the software.
  2. Go to the Comment tab and choose to extract text from PDF that is highlighted.
  3. Finally, click the Extract button.

IV – Extract Text from PDF with Formatting:

To retain formatting, the professional utility is the best bet. It preserves styles and layout as closely as possible. Users can also use Adobe to get the job done as long as the exported document is not a plain format.

  1. Open the professional tool.
  2. Upload the PDF documents.
  3. Go to the Text tab and choose Maintain formatting.
  4. Click the Extract button to extract text from PDF with formatting.


In this guide, we’ve explored various methods to extract text from PDF files on both Windows and Mac platforms. Whether users prefer the flexibility of Adobe Acrobat Pro or the convenience of SysTools’ professional utility, exporting text from multiple PDF documents has never been easier. With these solutions, users can efficiently retrieve and work with the text of both secure and unsecured PDF documents.


Q) Can I extract text from password-protected PDF?

A) It depends on the level of protection. If the PDF is password-protected for viewing, you’ll need to enter the password first. For editing or copying restrictions, text extraction is still possible.

Q) Are there any limitations to text extraction from scanned PDFs?

A) Scanned PDF files require OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for text extraction. The accuracy will vary depending on the quality of the scan.

Q) Can I extract text from a specific range of pages in a PDF file?

A) Yes, if you use the recommended professional utility. you can specify a range of pages to extract text from PDF.

Q) Will extracted text retains its original formatting?

A) It depends on the method used. The professional utility provides the option to maintain original formatting. Adobe Acrobat Pro will preserve the formatting in some formats while removing it in others.

Q) How to extract text from PDF online?

  • Open a reliable online PDF to text converter like ILovePDF, or Adobe’s online PDF tool.
  • Drag and drop the PDF file to upload it.
  • Click on the Convert/Extract button.
  • Finally, download the file.
  • Check the extracted text.