Acrobat has become a jack of all trades, with many unexpected features. For example, OCR (optical character recognition). Recent versions let you scan a document from within Acrobat, or open a scanned document, and then invoke its text recognition feature. In Acrobat 9, choose Document> OCR Text Recognition; in Acrobat X and above, open the Tools panel and choose Text Recognition.
Beginning with Acrobat 9, OCR is vastly improved — we tried it on a 72 ppi scan of the back of a CD cover, and it worked remarkably well.
It can even recognize text in multiple PDFs at the same time:
Acrobat’s dictionary can also help you find words that were improperly recognized by OCR. Just click Find First Suspect in the Text Recognition panel (above) and you’ll see this:
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.