There are two distinct types of PDF documents:

  • Regular (Native)
  • Scanned

Regular (Native) documents are usually created using Adobe Acrobat or a special printer driver that prints into a PDF file. These files contain actual text.

Scanned documents, on the other hand, are usually created by scanning a hard copy (paper) document into the computer, and therefore contains only an image of the text.

For scanned documents, PDF2XL Business and Enterprise both use OCR - Optical Character Recognition. This is not available in the PDF2XL Home plan.

The OCR module attempts to read the text inside the images so it can be converted to Excel properly.

When you open a scanned document, PDF2XL will usually recognize it and suggest to turn on OCR Mode. A message box will be displayed, saying that the document is scanned and that it will be displayed in OCR Mode.
You can also check a "Don't ask me again" box, which will make any scanned document you open in the future use OCR Mode automatically without notifying you.

If you are using the PDF2XL Home edition, no alert will pop up, but you may notice that your preview doesn't look quite right, or doesn't show up at all. 

If you're unsure if your PDF is scanned or not, you can send it to [email protected] so our team can test it for you.

To learn more about converting a scanned PDF file, click here.

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