6 Best Searchable PDF Converter 2020 (Free, without Acrobat)

6 Best Searchable PDF Converter 2020 (Free, without Acrobat)

2020-01-21 14:11:00 / Posted by to OCR PDF Follow @ lily jones

There are 2 types of PDF, native and image-based PDF. A native PDF allows users to search and edit freely, while an image-based PDF, which can be a scanned document or PDF file created from images, cannot be searchable or editable. In this case, we need to convert such a PDF to searchable PDF for searching or editing.

To make a PDF searchable, a searchable PDF converter, be it free or paid, is required for such a conversion. And today, we are going to share 6 best searchable PDF converter in this 2020. For sure, you will find a good way to make pdf searchable even without Adobe Acrobat, as many other users want to.

Best Searchable PDF Converter for Mac 2020

When looking for a piece of searchable PDF software, many users are expecting a tool that packs in both a searchable PDF converter and a searchable PDF creator. In addition, the price, conversion quality and output format support are key factors for decision making on the searchable PDF tool.

And it seems to many users, Enolsoft PDF Converter with OCR is a good choice. It is a Mac PDF tool designed to make PDF searchable in PDF and other searchable/editable formats, also create searchable PDF files from images. You can find the reasons why Enlosoft PDF Converter with OCR becomes a hit on the market.

How to Convert PDF to Searchable PDF without Adobe on Mac?

  1. Download and install Enolsoft PDF Converter with OCR on your mac.
    Free Trial
  2. Add single or multiple PDFs into the program by drag&drop. Also, you can click the “+” or “-“ button to add or remove files.enolsoft searchable pdf converter 01
  3. Prepare for OCR to make PDF searchable on mac.
    Turn OCR button ON, choose file language or page range for conversion. Then choose output as PDF or others as needed.
    If you upload user-password-protected PDF for conversion, enter the password first, then convert. This program supports to remove owner-password-protected PDFs automatically. enolsoft searchable pdf converter 02
  4. Click “Convert” to turn PDFs into searchable PDF.

How to Create Searchable PDF with Enolsoft?

Also, with its searchable PDF Creator, users can create searchable PDF from images by using Enolsoft.

  1. Download and install Enolsoft PDF Converter with OCR on your mac.
    Free Trial
  2. Add images to the program by drag&drop.
  3. Prepare for OCR to create seachable PDF from images on mac.
    As you may notice, the OCR function is ON by default when uploading images. You just need to choose file language, and select output as PDF. Also, you can click the lock icon on the right to add password to your PDF. enolsoft searchable pdf converter 03
  4. Click “Convert” to create searchable PDF from images.

Best Searchable PDF Converter for Windows

PDFMate PDF Converter Professional is an outstanding PDF converter with OCR feature for Windows users. It allows users to convert scanned PDFs into searchable PDF, ePub, Txt, Doc, HTML, SWF and image. Also, it enables users to create PDF from other documents.

Steps to Make PDF Searchable without Adobe on Windows

  1. Download and install PDFMate PDF Conveter Professional on your Windows PC.
  2. Click “Add PDF” to upload PDFs for conversion.pdfmate searchable pdf converter
  3. Go to Advanced Setting and turn OCR ON.
  4. Then choose output as PDF.
  5. Click “Convert” to turn PDFs into searchable PDF format.

How to Make PDF Searchable without Adobe Online Free?

To make PDF searchable free, there are online searchable PDF converters available, you just need to search online PDF converter with OCR feature in Google. Here, according to the test results, we pick 2 online searchable PDF converters for you.

Option 1. Online2pdf

It is always one of my favorite online tools to manage PDF files. You can use its online free service to edit, compress, unlock, protect, merge and convert both native and image-based PDFs. It supports batch conversion and allows users to export PDFs as 10+ formats, including searchable PDF, Word, Text ,etc. However, it supports recognizing only 6 languages (German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese).

Even, there is a limit on file size and quanltiy.

Steps to Make PDF Searchable Online Free with Online2pdf

  1. Go to Online2pdf
  2. Click “Select files” to upload PDFs for conversion.
  3. Choose output in “convert to” as searchable PDF
  4. Choose file language as English or others.
  5. Click “Convert” to make PDF searchable online free.online2pdf searchable pdf converter

Option 2. Online-Convert

Online-Convert offers different converters to perform conversion as archive, audio, device, documents, eBook and image. Though there is cluttered information or ads on the webpage, it does helps to make PDFs searchable. User can upload PDF from Mac, Dropbox, Google Drive or directly input an URL.

Steps to Make PDF Searchable Online Free with Online-Convert

  1. Go to Online-Convert.
  2. Click “Choose Files” to upload PDFs, or choose other options to add your PDF.
  3. Go to Optional Settings, check the box before “Optical character recognition”.
  4. Choose file language as English or others.
  5. Click “Start conversion” to turn your PDF into searchable PDF. online-convert searchable pdf converter

Disadvantages of Using Online Free Searchable PDF Converter:

  • Potential risk of information leakage;
  • Unstable conversion quality, formatting will be messed up

Top Searchable PDF Converter to Turn Scans to Searchable PDF

Sometimes, we just need to turn some papers into searchable PDF for filing or editing. In this case, we will need a powerful tool supports to convert scans directly to searchable PDF. Generally, such a tool won't be low in price, but powerful enough to get you an excellent experience on PDF conversions.

Here we also recommend 2 tools converting scans directly to searchable PDF. Maybe you’ve heard them before, they both are leaders in OCR field.

Readiris 17

Readiris 17 is a professional OCR tool to convert PDFs and scans into searchable PDF or other Microsoft formats. In addition, it supports to merge, split, edit, annotate, protect and sign PDFs. Comparing to other PDF tools, it gives out a higher-quality OCR performance. Especially for users who need to scan very often, its feature of turning scans to searchable PDF brings users great convenience to create searchable digital copies. It is available both for Windows PC and Mac.

Steps to Make PDF Searchable from Scans with Readiris 17

  1. Download and install Readiris 17 on your computer.
  2. Click “Scan”>”Scan” for Readiris to detect your scanner and import the scans.readiris searchable pdf converter 01
  3. Once the scans show in Readiris, click the PDF icon to export as searchable PDF. readiris searchable pdf converter 02

ABBYY FineReader 15

ABBYY FineReader 15 is another OCR program but with more extended features to manage PDFs. In other words, ABBYY FineReader not only allows you to convert PDF and scans to searchable PDF, but also allows you to edit the PDF text, annotate, compare, protect and share.

Steps to Make PDF Searchable from Scans with ABBYY FineReader 15

  1. Download and install ABBYY FineReader on your computer.
  2. Click on “Scan” to import files from your scanner.abbyy searchable pdf converter
  3. Then choose to “Convert to PDF”, and rename or save the searchable PDF.

Extended: How to Make PDF Searchable in Adobe if You Have

As above, we share 6 ways to make PDF searchable without Adobe Acrobat, but if you have installed Adobe or are considering about subscribing this tool, you can utilize this tool as a searchable PDF converter. But before going to the steps, we have one thing to clarify.

Can Adobe Acrobat Reader Convert PDF to Searchable PDF?


Adobe Acrobat only allows users to open, view, annotate, highlight, print, search, fill and sign PDFs for free, if you want use other features, you will have to pay for the Adobe Acrobat version.

How to Make PDF Searchable in Adobe Acrobat DC?

  1. Right click on the PDF file to open with Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Once added, Adobe will perform OCR on the file automatically.
  3. Then save the file as searchable PDF.

For users who are using Adobe versions earlier Adobe Acrobat DC, follow the steps: open>View>Tools>Recognize Text in This File>Save.


To most of PDF users, a searchable PDF converter is powerful enough to convert their PDFs. But if you require high, you can try an advanced OCR tool, even professional PDF editor with OCR feature. So, what’s your choice?