In this article:

How to OCR a PDF (Easiest Way in 2024)

In this article, we will show you how to OCR a PDF document using Lido’s PDF importer tool. Simply follow the process below!

How to OCR a PDF Document

OCR stands for “optical character recognition”, which means extracting text from images. You might need to OCR a PDF if the PDF was scanned or formatted as an image and you need to extract text from it.

To OCR a PDF document, we will use Lido, a tool designed to simplify and automate repetitive spreadsheet tasks. You can create an account here for free:

Step 1: Create a new Lido spreadsheet.

Log into your Lido account and start with a new spreadsheet from the Files section. This new document will be where the extracted text from the PDF will be organized.

Step 2: Launch the PDF Importer tool from the File menu.

Navigate to the File menu at the top of your Lido interface and select "Import from PDF" to open the PDF Importer tool. This tool is equipped to handle OCR by extracting text from image-based PDF documents and translating it into editable text in your spreadsheet.

how to ocr a pdf

Step 3: Upload the PDF document you want to OCR.

Use the PDF Importer's upload feature to select and upload the image-based PDF file from which you need to extract text. Ensure that this is the correct PDF.

how to apply OCR to a PDF

Step 4: Adjust the selected area to the text you want to OCR and click "Extract data".

After your PDF is uploaded, a preview will appear allowing you to select the specific area containing the text you want to OCR. Adjust the selection box to cover only the relevant text, ensuring precision, and then click "Extract data" to start the OCR process.

OCR a PDF tutorial

Step 5: Confirm that the text displayed is correct and click "Insert at active cell".

The PDF Importer is configured to format data into tables, assigning each line of text to a separate cell when the selected PDF area holds plain text. The text that has been extracted is now situated in the active cell of the spreadsheet.

At this point, you can click "Back" if you need to extract additional text from the PDF. If you're done, simply close the modal by clicking the X button at the top right corner.

how to OCR PDF documents

Step 6: The OCRed text is now in the spreadsheet. 

After the text has been successfully inserted into the spreadsheet, you can manipulate it as needed within Lido or transfer it to another application. To copy the text, use Cmd-C on a Mac or Ctrl-C on Windows, and paste it using Cmd-V or Ctrl-V respectively into any application that supports text input.

process to OCR a PDF

We hope you now have a better understanding of how to OCR a PDF.

Schedule a free automation consult
Learn more

Level up your Google Sheets skills with our free Google Sheets automation guide

Wasting too much time doing things manually in spreadsheets? Want to spend more time doing what you love? Our 100% free, 27-page Google Sheets automation guide is full of new tips and tricks that will save you time and money!