Convert a Scanned PDF into a Searchable PDF in Python

Here’s a quick step-by-step tutorial where you will learn to convert PDF to searchable PDF using Web API in Python. Find more tutorials about data extraction in Python. And let’s go straight to the workflow.

Convert Scanned PDF to Searchable PDF

  1. Add Folder Files
  2. Requests Module Installation
  3. Your API Key
  4. Source File and PDF File Name
  5. Run Python Program
  6. PDF Make Text Searchable Web API Demo
  7. Convert into Searchable PDF – Video

In this demonstration, we will convert a scanned PDF to a searchable PDF in Python. We will use this /v1/pdf/make searchable endpoint to make the text searchable. Here’s the GIF of a sample scanned PDF and converted searchable PDF.

Sample Scanned PDF and Converted Searchable PDF
Sample Scanned PDF and Converted Searchable PDF

Step 1: Add Folder Files

First, let’s start by adding our sample scanned PDF to our Python program folder. You can download our sample PDF and Python sample code here.

Step 2: Requests Module Installation

Next, if you don’t have the requests module yet, type in python -m pip install requests in your command line and it will install the requests module.

Step 3: Your API Key

Now, open the Python sample code and proceed to line 6. Then, add your API key inside the double quote. You can get the API key in your dashboard. API Key

Step 4: Source File and PDF File Name

In lines 12 and 20, enter the source file PDF and type the PDF file name.

Source File and PDF File Name

Step 5: Run Python Program

Let’s run the program and check your folder to see the result.

Run Python Program

Step 6: Sample Demo

Here’s the Python code in action. Web API Demo in Python Web API Demo in Python

In this tutorial, you learned how to convert PDF into searchable PDF in Python using the Web API. You learned how to use the PDF Make Text Searchable Web API to convert non-searchable to searchable PDF. You also learned how to install the requests module.

Convert into Searchable PDF – Video

PDF to Searchable PDF – Main Challenges

Converting scanned PDFs to searchable PDFs can be a challenging task due to several reasons:

Lack of Text Recognition

Scanned PDF files are essentially images of text, and they do not contain searchable text that can be selected or copied. To make these files searchable, the text in the images must be recognized using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.

Poor Image Quality

The quality of the scanned document image can impact OCR accuracy. Poor image quality, including low resolution, faded or blurry text and inconsistent lighting can make it difficult for OCR software to recognize the text accurately.

Multiple Languages and Fonts

If the scanned PDF file contains text in multiple languages and fonts, the OCR software must be able to recognize and accurately convert each language and font type.

Complex Document Structure

Some scanned PDF files may contain complex document structures, such as tables, columns, or graphs, which can make it challenging for OCR software to accurately recognize and convert the text.

Time and Resource Intensive

Converting scanned PDFs to searchable PDFs can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, especially for large and complex documents. It may require a significant amount of computing power and processing time.