Why Cant I Copy And Paste From a PDF (The Ultimate Guide)

October 20, 2023 1.2K views

Copying and pasting from a PDF can be a lifesaver, but it can also be a headache. In this article, we'll show you the best ways to copy and paste from a PDF, even if it's protected or has limitations on copying. Read on to learn how to copy and paste from a PDF in any situation, so you can get your work done quickly and easily.

Why Can’t I Copy and Paste From a PDF? (Causes & Solutions)

#1 Password Protection

When PDFs are locked with passwords, it's to restrict access. If you've downloaded a password-protected PDF and don't have the password, check the download source or contact the author for access.

Solution: Unlock the PDF File

Step 1: Access PDFgear Online Unlocker

Go to the PDFgear online unlocker platform.

Click on the "Choose files" button to select the password-protected PDF file you want to unlock.

select file

Step 2: Download the Unlocked PDF

Wait for a few moments while the unlocking process takes place.

Once the process is complete, you will be presented with the option to download the PDF file without a password.

download pdf

#2 Restrictions on Accessibility

Even without a password, some PDFs restrict text copying. Authors may limit copying and editing permissions. To gain access, you'll need the author's permission or password.

Solution:  Remove Restrictions

Step 1:Open the PDF document you wish to copy text from using UPDF.

In the right panel, locate and select the "Protect Using Password" tool.

Choose the "Remove Security" feature from the menu.

Enter the password used to restrict the editing of the PDF document.

remove security

Step 2: After providing the correct password, click "Remove."

UPDF will promptly eliminate all restrictions from the PDF document.

Now, navigate to "Edit PDF" to freely copy the desired text.

click remove

#3 Scanned Documents

Text copying isn't possible from scanned documents as they're image-based. Convert them to editable PDFs using OCR tools for text extraction.

Solution: OCR PDF File

Step 1: Choose the OCR Tool

Launch UPDF and import your PDF document using the "Open File" button.

On the right-side toolbar, select the "Recognize Text Using OCR" option. A mini window will appear, prompting you to configure OCR settings.

Step 2: Start Applying OCR

In the OCR settings, designate the document type as "Searchable PDF."

Select either "Text and Pictures Only" or "Text over the page image" as the layout option.

Specify additional settings, such as document language, image resolution, and page range, as needed.

Once you've configured the settings to your satisfaction, initiate the OCR process by clicking "Perform OCR."

Observe the OCR progress on the screen, and once it's completed, you can begin copying the text from your scanned PDF, now transformed into editable text.

follow step

How to Copy and Paste From a PDF (Other Easy Ways)

Convert PDF to an Editable Word

Copying text from a PDF can sometimes be challenging, but here's a simple alternative using PDFgear's online converter:

Step 1: Access PDFgear Online Converter

Visit PDFgear's online converter.

Drag and drop your PDF file into the upload box.

 upload file

upload file

Step 2: Download and Open in Word

After uploading, click "Download" to obtain the Word file converted from your PDF.

Open the converted Word document in your preferred word processing application.

click download

click download

This is a good option if you need to edit the text in the PDF. However, it is important to note that converting a PDF to Word may change the formatting of the text.

Use a PDF Reader

Step 1: Open PDF in PDF Reader

Download and install a PDF Reader on your desktop if you don't already have one.

Launch the PDF Reader on your device.

Click on "Open files" to import the PDF document you want to work with.

 open file

open file

Step 2: Copy the Text and Paste

After importing the PDF document into the PDF Reader, use your mouse to select the text you want to copy.

Once you've highlighted the desired text, right-click with your mouse.

From the context menu, select "Copy Text" or use the shortcut CTRL+C to copy the text to your clipboard.

 copy text

copy text

Now, you can easily paste the copied text into any other document or application using the paste shortcut CTRL+V or the right-click context menu.

This is a good option if you need to copy and paste text from a PDF without editing it. There are many different PDF readers available, both free and paid. Some popular PDF readers include Adobe Acrobat Reader, WPS PDF, Foxit Reader, and Nitro PDF Reader.

Free Office Suite for Word, Excel, PowerPoint - WPS Office

wps office

wps office

Looking to seamlessly copy and paste from a PDF? Look no further than WPS Office, and here's why:

  1. Searchable Text: WPS Office ensures your PDF text is easily searchable, simplifying your information retrieval.

  2. Spell Check: Enjoy the convenience of built-in spell check, helping you maintain accuracy in your copied text.

  3. Editing: WPS Office offers robust editing capabilities, enabling you to customize your content effortlessly.

  4. Ease of Use: With its user-friendly interface, WPS Office makes the copy-and-paste process a breeze for everyone.

Best of all, it's free to download and use. Elevate your PDF text extraction experience with WPS Office today!

Download Website:

WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

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Algirdas Jasaitis

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to convert secured PDF to unsecured?

In 2023, you can utilize Google Chrome or Adobe Acrobat as free methods to transform your secured PDFs into unsecured ones.

Why is a PDF document asking for Document Security password?

PDFs prompt for Document Security passwords to safeguard against unauthorized access, ensuring data protection.


In this comprehensive guide, we've dived deep into the ins and outs of copying and pasting from PDFs. We've provided solutions for a range of scenarios, whether you're dealing with password-protected files, encountering accessibility restrictions, or working with scanned documents.

And through it all, one standout solution shines: WPS Office. With features like searchable text and seamless editing, WPS Office makes handling PDFs a breeze. It's not just efficient, but also ensures accuracy in your document handling. So why wait? Elevate your PDF text extraction experience with WPS Office - it's free, intuitive, and just a download away!

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.