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Microsoft Edge ‘Find on page’ feature not working in PDF file

Microsoft Edge ‘Find on page’ feature not working
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Find on Page is a feature that allows Microsoft edge to search for a word or phrase inside a web page. This feature can be opened from the "More" button ( 3 dots on the right side) on the right side of the screen.

Microsoft Edge, the default web browser in Windows 10 can also be used to open PDF files. Recently, I came across a problem where the customer complained about Find on Page not working on some PDF files. Here are more details about the problem and resolution.

The customer was trying to jump to a section directly by typing the keywords. However, the search feature refused to work after the keywords were entered. The customer could clearly see those keyword texts inside the PDF file, but Edge refused to find the keywords using Find on Page feature.

The solution is applicable to any program that is used to open a PDF file.

Solution:

  1. Check if PDF file is created using searchable text or images

PDF files are either created using searchable text like a normal document or as a screenshot of the page saved as an image. If the PDF file was created using the image, you won’t be able to search for the text.

It is easy to find which one was used. Simply highlight the text inside PDF and right click on it. If you have the option to select text or copy text, the PDF was created using text. If the text is not selectable, it was created using images.
check if pdf text can be selected

  1. Convert PDF to searchable text

A PDF created using image can be converted to the text version. To achieve this, you need to use an optical character recognition tool. This software scan through the contents of a scanned document, photos or image and convert it to machine-encoded text.

There is a number of optical character recognition (OCR) software in the market. The most accurate ones are premium versions – Adobe Acrobat DC, OmniPage Standard, ABBYY FineReader etc. There is also a free version which is worth trying – FreeOCR, SimpleOCR etc. There are also free online tools such as Free-OCR and OnlineOCR.net.

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