Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF files?

  1. #1
    Registered User Rob Ross's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Apple Valley, MN
    Posts
    88

    Default How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF files?

    Hi, this is for the tech folks out there. I've searched the Forum intently, but haven't seen an answer to this. I've been using ABCexplorer for years. It's freeware by Gérard Dumont of France, and it is very useful for creating, editing, collating, playing, and printing various images and files from ABC notation music files. I use it to collate my own tune books for bluegrass, old time, Irish, Scottish, fife and drum, and assorted cats and dogs of tunes and songs. I also use it to print the tune sets used by a pick-up community contra band, a slow fiddle jam, and a currently-covid-canceled Irish session. My problem is that while the PDFs produced by the program are very high quality digital sheet music, the text within the PDF files is not searchable by PDF reading programs, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader, or the iOS app GoodReader.

    I believe there are programs out there that could take the PDF created by ABCexplorer, use OCR to find the text, and somehow embed that searchable text into a finished PDF file that I can distribute to people. Then, when they wish to find a tune quickly, they can use the search for text function on whatever program or app they are using to find the tune. Since some of the files I hand out have over 500 tunes in them, and several are in no way alphabetized, this would be very handy.

    I've tried reading many web pages for all sorts of PDF programs out there, including freeware, shareware, and commercial software, and I am still confused as to what the exact feature or phrase I need to see that indicates that this is possible. Also, while I'll gladly pay an honest amount for good software, I'd rather not drop the very large bundle of cash required to buy Adobe Acrobat for the occasional times I would need it.

    If anyone knows of software that can do this, I'm all ears. If anyone knows of another piece of software that can natively create large tunebooks in searchable PDF format from an existing ABC music file (*.abc), I'd be interested in that also. Sorry, not enough brain cells left to switch over and learn MuseScore, Finale, Sibelius, or any of the other music formatting software out there. ABCexplorer hasn't been updated since 2013, but I've got it running fine under Windows 10, so I'll just keep chugging right along with it.
    Rob Ross
    Apple Valley, Minne-SOH-tah

    1996 Flatiron A5-Performer
    1915 Gibson F-2 (loaned to me by a friend)
    2008 Kentucky Master KM-505 A-Model
    1925 Bacon Peerless tenor banjo (Irish tuning)
    1985 Lloyd Laplant F-5
    and of course,
    the 1970 Suzuki-Violin-Sha Bowl Back Taterbug

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    You don't have to buy Adobe Acrobat. It's in the cloud now and you can get a monthly subscription. We're paying $14.99 a month plus tax for the full version with all the bells and whistles. As long as you are doing the month-to-month, you can cancel whenever you like.
    Gibson Custom Shop F5 MSC Wide Nut (2020) David Harvey
    1972 OMI Dobro Model 66-S
    1958 Fender Stringmaster Triple-Neck Steel Guitar
    Gibson BR-9 Lap Steel
    2003 Martin HD-28V
    2011 Martin GPCPA2
    and a few more....

  3. #3

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    Can you post a sample pdf? I could see if my version of Adobe can read the text.
    I once had a similar issue, years ago now, with about 10,000 text files from the old OLGA site (Online Guitar Archive) before it got shut down.

  4. #4
    Registered User Rob Ross's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Apple Valley, MN
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    OK, just spent a very frustrating few minutes trying to delete the wrong attachment. I really, really, do not like this forum software in regards to pictures and attachments.

    Here's a tune I transcribed after hearing it at a festival. There is plenty of text in it, but no software or app I know can search the text or read the text.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Josie-O.pdf 
Views:	65 
Size:	34.4 KB 
ID:	188129
    Rob Ross
    Apple Valley, Minne-SOH-tah

    1996 Flatiron A5-Performer
    1915 Gibson F-2 (loaned to me by a friend)
    2008 Kentucky Master KM-505 A-Model
    1925 Bacon Peerless tenor banjo (Irish tuning)
    1985 Lloyd Laplant F-5
    and of course,
    the 1970 Suzuki-Violin-Sha Bowl Back Taterbug

  5. #5

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    Sorry Rob, mine doesn’t appear to be able to recognise the text either.

  6. The following members say thank you to Simon DS for this post:


  7. #6
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Palmer, Texas
    Posts
    3,720

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    I was unable to get search function to work there, either, but additionally, when trying to run OCR I got an error message that the page already contains rendered text. I was able to verify that Acrobat can detect the text as well, but search function doesn't work.

    I have Acrobat 8 Professional, but I'm not a whiz with it. Maybe someone with a subscription to latest version could be more help.
    Last edited by Mark Gunter; Aug-28-2020 at 3:35pm.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Collings Mandolins | MandoCymru
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

  8. The following members say thank you to Mark Gunter for this post:


  9. #7
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    Posts
    1,479
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    After dropping that file into a hex editor, I can verify that the text in the submitted pdf does not exist as such in the file itself. The explanation for that seeming paradox can be found here: https://blog.idrsolutions.com/2009/04/pdf-text/ . Basically, the default form of a text pdf file is actually more like a vector graphics file than a text file.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  10. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to HonketyHank For This Useful Post:


  11. #8
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    To search pdf's you need the full version of Adobe Acrobat Pro, not just the reader. PDMan mentioned that it can be purchased as a monthly subscription, Adobe also offers a free trial.

  12. The following members say thank you to Brian560 for this post:


  13. #9
    Registered User Rob Ross's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Apple Valley, MN
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    Is there any software out there besides Adobe Acrobat Pro that can digitally scan the PDF files I produce, perform OCR on any image it finds that represents texts, then overlay that text on the original sheet music and save that as a searchable PDF file? I have found hints that this is possible, but I don't know what this process is called and can't seem to find any software that claims to do this.
    Rob Ross
    Apple Valley, Minne-SOH-tah

    1996 Flatiron A5-Performer
    1915 Gibson F-2 (loaned to me by a friend)
    2008 Kentucky Master KM-505 A-Model
    1925 Bacon Peerless tenor banjo (Irish tuning)
    1985 Lloyd Laplant F-5
    and of course,
    the 1970 Suzuki-Violin-Sha Bowl Back Taterbug

  14. #10

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    ... when trying to run OCR I got an error message that the page already contains rendered text. ...
    Well I thought I'd found a clever solution to the problem, but it creates another problem.

    This part works:
    Export as image, re-import that image to new pdf document, then OCR that and re-save as pdf. Voila, searchable text, even when opened in browsers! Works here anyway, on a non-Acrobat PDF editor.

    Unfortunately, that image-based-pdf method results in larger filesizes. If there were dozens or hundreds of pages, the filesize increase could be a problem. I briefly experimented with seeing how low I could go with the resolution, image type, and 'quality' settings, and even used the pdf editor's "optimize" function on the resulting file, but it still resulted in larger file sizes. Trade-off between nice non-blurry image/print quality, vs unacceptably large file-sizes.

  15. #11
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    2,726

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    I opened the file in Adobe Illustartor and the texts appear to be placed into the score as single characters and not one continuous block of text. That's why it is not searchable. You could replace just the text in Illustrator but that would be lot of typing.
    Adrian

  16. #12

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    Hello, you will find yourself music here, with text recognition:
    https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link...f-427743ab9ece

    Did with my iPhone. Let me know if you want to learn how. But you will need Acrobat, and not just the reader.
    Dean

  17. The following members say thank you to renoyd for this post:


  18. #13
    Registered User Rob Ross's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Apple Valley, MN
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: How can I convert unsearchable PDF files to searchable PDF fi

    First, a very nice thank you to all that offered help, and secondly, I found a solution that works for me! I can now generate my tune books in a PDF file that is entirely searchable by PDF file viewers. This makes searching for one tune amongst hundreds so much easier, especially if the tune is in a set and thus not necessarily in alphabetical order. I was looking for software that could take my non-searchable PDF files and create searchable PDF files from them, or newer ABC software that could generate searchable PDF files. Much, much online searching ensued.

    After much searching through PDF creation software out there, I came to the realization that only the very expensive, business grade software similar to Adobe Acrobat could do what I wanted to existing PDF files. At $14.99 a month, plus tax, I didn't really want to cough up almost $200 a year to produce a few files a month, every month. A program called DocuFreezer got my hopes up; it had a free home version, only a one-time payment of $49 for the paid version, and it promised to generate searchable PDFs from existing files. Unfortunately, it just couldn't do it: it turned each small letter "a" in a tune title to "o", and you wouldn't believe how many a's there are in tune titles. Then I only found one word in one file once, and every other attempt to search numerous converted files failed. Bother.

    I then downloaded almost every ABC program on the internet I could find. Most programs are years or decades old, and have the same problem mine has, the PDF files generated aren't searchable. I use ABCexplorer by Gérard Dumont of France (http://stalikez.info/abc/abcex.php?l...lc=77&zc=1zzuA) , last updated in 2013, but still a very good, robust program in every other regard.

    I installed, ran, printed, and viewed a whole mess of files. Mostly I had failures, but finally success! Both EasyABC and MC Musiceditor programs produce searchable music PDF files. EasyABC (https://www.nilsliberg.se/ksp/easyabc/), was developed in Sweden, and last updated in 2017. MC Musiceditor (https://www.mcmusiceditor.com/) last updated in 2020, is a product by Dutch music educator who is a proponent of an update on ABC notation. Both produce very nice PDF files that are searchable, joy of joys!

    I'm perfectly fine using ABCexplorer to collect, create, edit, and collate ABC tunes into various tunebooks, but now I have two options to print out the resulting files. I checked, and these two programs create files just slightly smaller than the original files I had been making, so that's nice.

    As a reward for your help, here's some of the things I've worked on in ABC collated in one tune book for your enjoyment.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	MandoCafeSearchablePDFtunes.pdf 
Views:	17 
Size:	207.2 KB 
ID:	188461

    tl;dr : Both EasyABC and MC Musiceditor programs can print searchable text PDF files of music scores.
    Rob Ross
    Apple Valley, Minne-SOH-tah

    1996 Flatiron A5-Performer
    1915 Gibson F-2 (loaned to me by a friend)
    2008 Kentucky Master KM-505 A-Model
    1925 Bacon Peerless tenor banjo (Irish tuning)
    1985 Lloyd Laplant F-5
    and of course,
    the 1970 Suzuki-Violin-Sha Bowl Back Taterbug

  19. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Rob Ross For This Useful Post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •