RE: Looking for a miracle

Subject: RE: Looking for a miracle
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 08:52:47 -0600

Chiming in late after a 3-day weekend. As others have noted, PDF-to-RTF
is the way to go, and there are a number of tools for going that route,
starting with Adobe Acrobat. I'm using Acro 7 Pro, and it also offers to
Save As .doc or .txt, which are worth trying if .rtf doesn't work for
some reason.

Several people have mentioned OCR. I suppose it's possible that you need
to go that route -- for instance, if the PDF you have consists of
scanned pages (images), not editable text. But some people have
recommended that you print the PDF to paper, then scan the paper pages
back into electronic images, and finally OCR the images into editable
text -- and that makes no sense at all.

If the PDF consists of images, OCR the PDF! Acrobat has the OCR function
built in (at least, Professional does; I can't vouch for Standard). If
you don't have that and are using some other OCR software, surely it can
scan a PDF! If not, Acrobat (and other PDF tools, too, I'm sure) will
save the PDF pages as TIFF images, which is what your scanner software
no doubt creates.

There's simply no reason to convert an electronic image file to paper
and then convert the paper back into an electronic image file. That's
two completely pointless conversions that are a waste of time and paper,
and can degrade the eventual output quality of your OCR process. A bad,
bad idea.

IMHO, of course. :-)


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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