How to Copy and Paste from PDF

July 31, 20231.3K views

Using the Copy and Paste tool can make it simple to put text into PowerPoint slides for a presentation, paste a formula onto an Excel spreadsheet, or copy text from a PDF file to add to a Word document.

Due to security and other permissions, that might not be possible for all PDF files, but there are other approaches to accomplish the same goal.

You must make sure that the other application's security settings do not forbid copying before you may copy text from a PDF to it; otherwise, you won't be able to copy anything. A grayed-out or darkened copy feature in Reader may be a sign of this.

If the PDF you received has a password on it, enter it to open it, and then check the security options to make sure that content copying is permitted.

Steps to Copy and Paste from PDF

Step 1

To do this, right-click the document and select Document Properties.


Step 2

Click the Security tab and look at the Document Restrictions Summary to see if content copying is allowed or not.


Note: A PDF with content restrictions usually has the word “Secured” next to the file name at the top. 

Step 3

Open the PDF in any reader and then copy the text you want using any of the methods below.

Copy & Paste Function

  • This is the standard way to copy text from the majority of documents and files, not just PDFs. You can copy desired text with the CTRL+C keyboard shortcut and paste it into the other document with the CTRL+V keyboard shortcut.
  • On a Mac, press Command-C to copy the text and Command-V to paste it into the currently open document or application.


Step 4

Alternatively, you can use your mouse or touchpad’s right-click button and click Select tool. 


Step 5

Select the text you want to copy on the PDF document by dragging your mouse to highlight the portion you’d like to copy, right click on the selected text, and select Copy.


Step 6

You can also select Edit>Copy from the menu tab. After copying the text, go to the document you want to paste it into, right-click where you want it to go, and then choose Paste, or go to Edit>Paste.




All free PDF readers have an option to insert any in-line text if that option hasn’t been disabled previously. WPS office allows you freely to select and copy any block of text to paste it within the document, right-click and select “Insert Text at Cursor.” WPS Office gives much better results in text insertion compared to others.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.