Tips for searching scanned PDFs

With Evernote, you can search PDFs created from:

  • Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, or other office and word processing applications (Evernote Premium and Business only)
  • Scanned documents

Which types of scanned PDFs are searchable?

  • Scanned PDFs with clear, typed text (handwriting is not searchable inside PDFs)
  • PDFs that do not already contain text that you can select or copy
  • PDFs with at least one page with a small image (1025 pixels of image data)
  • PDFs less than 100 pages long
  • PDFs less than 25 MB in size
  • PDFs that are not password-protected
  • PDFs that are not corrupted or unreadable

Troubleshooting: If scanned PDFs are not appearing in your search results

  1. Sync Evernote. It can take up to 4 hours for Evernote to recognize text in newly attached PDFs. If you encounter sync errors, check here for troubleshooting suggestions. Note: If you are working with a local notebook, PDFs inside that notebook are not synced and will not be searchable. Move the note into a synced notebook.
  2. Search Evernote for a word you know is inside the scanned PDF. If the word isn't found, the file is not indexed for search.
  3. Open the PDF in Adobe Reader or your PDF viewer and try selecting text in the file. If the text is selectable, it should show up in Evernote search. If text is not selectable, your PDF is probably scanned images and you need Evernote Premium for the text to be recognized.
  4. Contact us for additional help.



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