Nitro in Action: How to OCR a PDF

Nitro trial user James* recently emailed us to find out how he could use OCR– that’s Optical Character Recognition— for one of his daily business workflows.

James writes:

I’m interested in the scanning function of Nitro Pro—can your software do this:

  • Scan vehicle titles
  • Look for data on the titles (in this case the VIN)
  • Create a PDF of each title, and give the file the name of the VIN

James, we’re happy to report that Nitro Pro 9 can help optimize your workflow with just a few clicks. Here’s how we’d go about tackling the process:

Step 1: Open the scanned titles with Nitro Pro.

You can do this either by right-clicking the document from your desktop and selecting “Open with > Nitro Pro 9”, or by opening Nitro Pro and browsing for your scans from within the application.

(Our tabbed browsing feature allows you to open and navigate through multiple documents in a single Nitro window—sounds like doing so could really help speed up your process!)

Step 2: Make documents Searchable/Editable.

Upon opening your scanned title, Nitro Pro 9 will automatically identify the file as a scanned document. You will see a notification at the top of the document that looks like this:

Click the “Make Searchable/Editable” button to start the OCR process.

Step 3: Choose between Searchable,  or  Searchable and Editable

You’ll be prompted with the option to make the document searchable, or searchable and editable. Because your workflow does not require you to make edits to the titles, select “Make Searchable,” and click “OK.” (Should you want to make edits, simply select  “make searchable and editable.”)


Voilà! Your document is now more than just a scanned title.

Step 4: Next, you’ll want to search the text for data—the VIN, in your case.

On your keyboard, press Ctrl+F to prompt the “Find” field, and enter your search term(s) in the text box in the bottom left corner of the application.

The VIN will appear highlighted in the file when it is found. Right-click the highlighted text and select “Copy Text” to add the numbers to your clipboard. (When you right-click, you can add notes and other annotations to the highlighted text, too!)

Step 5: Save the file, using the VIN as the filename.

With the VIN still on your clipboard, click “File” to initiate the “Save As” function. Select the file’s destination folder, and use Ctrl+V to paste the VIN into the file name field. One more click of the save button, and you’re good to go!

Our OCR video tutorial, available at Nitro University, also provides a quick, general overview of how to OCR a PDF. Watch it now.

Have more questions about how you can use Nitro to simplify your daily document tasks? Send us a tweet @NitroHQ or leave a comment below. Who knows, your workflow issue may be the next one we tackle!

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.