how do i export to PDF with selectable text?

I have a collection of .doc files. [I would like to roll them all into one while retaining formatting, but for the moment I am taking them on individually.] They are mostly text with some formatting, but there are a few embedded graphics.

Oops! And I’m running LO on Windows at the moment, but if memory serves I saw the same problems under Linux.

How can I Export → PDF such that the text is selectable in the PDF? The files I get now appear to be images of pages, and I can’t mouse anything.


Export as PDF don’t convert text to images. What program are you using to open the PDF files? What version of LibreOffice are you using? See in menu Help - About LibreOffice.

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@LeroyG thanks for the poke. I have FoxIt Phantom PDF on this little tablet.
I’m glad to hear that it should work! I will have to try different PDF viewers, from the browser to a viewer app to thick applications, to see if I can track down any differences.

UPDATE – whether it was Export this time instead of Export Directly last time, some strange hiccup, or my just not holding my tongue right, all seems better now. I wiped everything and started over and now have selectable text (Drive PDF viewer, browser on two platforms, and even FoxIt) as expected; yay! @LeroyG, you deserve the answer credit if you want it. Perhaps you won’t even have to say “Don’t be such an idiot, David” in your post :wink:


Glad to hear you solved it.

Selecting something when displaying a PDF file in a PDF viewer has nothing to do with LO Writer.

Remember that PDF is a page description language and, indeed, you get images of pages.

But a PDF viewer can make a smart use of this description language provided you ask it to do so. My default PDF viewer on my system is Okular with a Tools menu. By default , the “navigate” tool is selected. I can choose “text selection”. The mouse cursor then changes in a caret-like one and I can drag this tool over text to select a range.

Note that PDF is akin to some graphic scene and a viewer cannot make any difference between line wrap and paragraph boundary. Consequently when you paste copied text from PDF, you get a sequence of paragraphs and you must remove paragraph marks in order to restore original paragraphs.

The answer to your question is: no need to enable some exotic option in Writer; just select the adequate tool in your PDF viewer.

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(Nothing new in the edit: I just removed a typo)

Thanks for the input, @ajlittoz. There is definitely a lot I don’t know about PDF internals :slight_smile: However, I do know from having generated them dynamically in software that they don’t have to just be page images and can definitely have text as distinctly identifiable objects. If someone as dumb as I can do it in PHP then I’m sure LO should be able to do the same thing … if I tell it the right thing to do, since “Garbage In” is not the software’s fault :slight_smile: