How can I stop text copied from a PDF file being so narrow?

Dan Matt March 2, 2013

Often I like to copy excerpts from PDFs to post on forums, but oftentimes when I paste the excerpt into a text editor the text is very narrow – like 6 words on each line.

Is there some setting I can use that will automatically make the text wider?

My main text editors are Microsoft Word 2010 and Notepad++.

  1. EL
    March 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    After pasting, do a find and replace. Replace all ^l (the caret symbol followed by lowercase l) with a space.

  2. Justin Pot
    March 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Control-Shift-V pastes without formatting, and is now your favorite keyboard shortcut. Use this to paste and you should be set.

    Command-Shift-V on Macs.

    March 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I would save it in notepad with a different format and then copy paste it into where ever you want it.

  4. ha14
    March 3, 2013 at 9:26 am
  5. ha14
    March 3, 2013 at 9:26 am
  6. Dhaval Patel
    March 3, 2013 at 9:10 am

    at the time of pasting in word you can choose the option to keep the destination format which will formatted the copied text to destination format.

  7. Manuel Guillermo López Buenfil
    March 3, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Do these line breaks match the ones in your original PDF? Maybe the text is being copied exactly as it was in your PDF, including every newline. If you want to remove them quickly in notepad++, go to Replace, in "Search mode" select "Extended", and replace the characters rn for an empty string. Usually, a newline is represented as rn so that will delete all of them. If that fails, try replacing only r or n with an empty string.

    • Manuel Guillermo López Buenfil
      March 4, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Replace \r\n with an empty string.
      The characters got stripped. What you should replace is "Backslash" "r" "Backslash" "n" with an empty string, or if that fails, only "Backslash" "r", or only "Backslash" "n".
      These "Backlash" characters were stripped in my previous comment.

  8. Junil Maharjan
    March 3, 2013 at 4:15 am

    you can try converting the pdf files into doc format and see if the words are still narrower. but the format of the doc may change a bit when converting.

  9. Bruce Epper
    March 3, 2013 at 4:14 am

    It is probably a result of soft line breaks in the content. Try pasting it into Notepad first, copy it out of Notepad and then paste it into the text editor. The intermediate step of using Notepad (not Notepad++ or other similar extended editors) will normally strip out these types of characters and should resolve the issue.

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