Acrobat 8.1 Update: Fix for Renderable Text Issue

NOTE: Acrobat DC now can OCR documents with renderable text or vector elements anywhere on the page. I am keeping this older article here for reference.

Normally, a dot release to one of Adobe’s major product offerings isn’t that exciting.

Besides offering support for Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007, the latest dot release to Acrobat 8 (v8.1) offers an OCR enhancement that will be very welcome indeed!

Acrobat 8.1 offers a fix to a most vexing OCR problem— the dreaded renderable text error:

Renderable Text Error Warning Dialog

Renderable Text is vector (computer generated) text that is placed on top of an image layer.

You may encounter this error if when you try to OCR an image-only PDF containing a Bates stamp. In some federal court districts, stamped image-only PDFs are commonly distributed.

The Acrobat 8.1 Update offers a fix that works for just about every file that has Bates stamps.

For a complete list of fixes in the 8.1 Update, check out this Adobe Knowledge Base Article. (Opens in a new window)

Read on to learn how to get the Acrobat 8.1 Update and some limitations of the fix.

Obtaining the Acrobat 8.1 Update

The easiest way to obtain the Acrobat 8.1 Update is to use the built-in updater.

Choose Help—>Check for Updates

Check for Updates Menu in Acrobat

A downloadable updater is available on the Acrobat Support Site. (Opens in a new window)

Large organizations can patch their install and deploy it out using the free Adobe Customization Wizard for Acrobat 8.
(Opens in a new window)

Fix for Renderable Text Error and Some Limitations

Acrobat 8.1 will ignore renderable text objects within a margin defined as 20% of the width or height of the page.

For example, for a standard 8.5″ by 11″ page:

Here’s a PDF version of the above illustration which you can use to check your own files.

Acrobat should be able to OCR just about any file that has been Bates stamped. Most Bates stamps are within 1 inch from the top or bottom of the page.