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Use Google Docs to OCR Scanned PDF

If you only use Google as a search engine, you need to change. Google will boost your productivity with his innovative technology if you can have a good command of it.

Have you ever tried Google Docs? You can upload documents online and easily work with others. Can Google Docs deal with scanned PDF? Yes, to be honest, better than many professional PDF solution providers. Here are two tips that you might not know.

Tip 1 View scanned PDF as searchable plain HTML webpage.

Here is how it works. When you search and find some scanned PDF on Google. For example, you search "Keyword filetype:pdf" on the Google search bar, it returned some result in PDF format.

View scanned PDF as searchable plain HTML webpage

You can click Quick View to view this PDF in Google Docs. The scanned PDF is not searchable, and you can't copy from it. What could you do if you want to modify the content or quote it to your Word doc without retyping all the content?

Quick View


Click Views, then PlainHTML, Google OCR will automatically recognize the text from PDF. Then you can view the searchable HTML file in seconds.

OCR PDF with searchable HTML

Tip 2 Use Google Docs to convert scanned PDF into editable Word document
Sign in your Google account and launch Google Docs. When you upload files to Google Docs, you'll notice an option that tells Google to convert the text from PDF and image files to Google Docs documents. This is the OCR function of Google Docs.

Use Google Docs to convert scanned PDF into editable Word document

If you choose the OCR option, you will see "This document contains text automatically extracted from a PDF or image file. Formatting may have been lost and not all text may have been recognized," in the yellow field after uploading.

OCR PDFs with Google Docs

The content in the frame is the original PDF, and you can see some text without any formats below the frame. 90% of the text is correctly converted.

OCR PDFs with Google Docs

IF you want to export the converted document as Word document, just click File on the top menu, and click Download as Word. A few steps turn Google docs into an OCR PDF Converter, amazing, isn't it?

OCR PDFs with Google Docs

Note: The Google OCR only supports English, French, Italian, German and Spanish right now.