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I routinely copy and paste text from Acrobat to any number of other Adobe CC applications (Illustrator, PS, InDesign). When I do this, it creates line breaks where they were visually represented on the pdf, meaning when pasted into a new doc there is no flow to the text.

Is there a way in any of the programs to clear this and "concatenate" the words back together into a flowing block?

  • I'd try to past into google drive text document->Remove formatting and then copy-pasting to any app you want – Ilan Jul 11 '14 at 22:00
  • Have you tried File > Save As > More Options > Text (plain) from within Acrobat? And by "line break" you mean a line feed or a break and separate point text objects? – Scott Jul 11 '14 at 22:12
  • Run it through the awesome TextSoap, by Unmarked Software. unmarked.com Seriously one of the dandiest little programs out there. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Jul 11 '14 at 23:52
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You can't really get there in one step. Although InDesign could strip out the unwanted line breaks using a grep find/replace in some cases, that won't work at all for Ps or Ai.

The smoothest way to accomplish this is to export the PDF from Acrobat to Word, plain text or even Rich Text, or to use a converter like TextSoap (as Lauren recommends) or PDF2ID, from Recosoft, which does an almost magical job of creating editable, well-formatted InDesign documents from PDFs. (Their PDF2Office product does the same thing for MS Office Word, Excel and Powerpoint.)

Once you have text, you can copy and paste without the forced line breaks.

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The free alternative I ended up using is textfixer.com.

There are two simple options, which is exactly what I was looking for. You can either remove line breaks and paragraph breaks, or just line breaks.

Because I'm usually "re-styling" all text I input into the new program, I really only need a plain text source with paragraphs intact. I hope this helps anyone else in this situation.

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The problem with saving the PDF file as rich text or plain text is that is strips out manual hyphens, replacing them instead with discretionary ones. This is huge problem. I have to convert dozens of 300-600 page books to be re-published for a client so after massive amounts of trail and error have come up with this method which is 95% perfect and far outweighs the loss of punctuation, etc.

  1. Open original PDF. First check to see if it is a "Tagged" PDF.
  2. Go Control D or Command D, look at Description Tab, look at "Tagged PDF" at bottom left. It will be yes or no, and worth noting.
  3. Next. If it has headers, footers or page numbers, you need to get rid of these.
  4. Use Crop tool in Acrobat to crop all pages to same size, removing unnecessary details.
  5. File > Save as > More Options > Post Script > close the PDF.
  6. Click on the new Post Script file and should automatically open in Acrobat Distiller, which will automatically after a few seconds, re-save the Post Script as a new PDF. Once that's complete, close Distiller.
  7. Open new PDF file and give it a new name so you don't confuse it with any others.
  8. Now if your original PDF was not a "Tagged PDF", then you need to Tag it now. If it was Tagged, then ignore this Number 9, and go straight to number 10.
  9. Go Tools > Accessibility > Add Tags to Document. Just ignore any Tagging reports that may show up in the left-hand pane.
  10. Save under name if you wish. The important thing is this file MUST be closed and re-opened again after Tags are inserted.
  11. Now comes the best bit. Select all text (Control A / Command A), and Paste into your InDesign file, flowing all text as it comes in. Use InDesign's Autoflow to add pages automatically to the end of the Story.

All your text should appear as normal. You will find that all hard end-of-line returns have disappeared, and that all manual hyphens remain in place as they should be. There are two issues with this method:

  1. InDesign will add an additional Return character (Paragraphs break) where, in the original text, pages end and begin, in other words, where text runs from the bottom of one page to the start of the next. It's a case then of manually deleting these. In a 600 page document this can be irksome, but for short documents, not a problem. The results far outweigh the usual conflicts.
  2. You will lose ALL original manually entered breaks between paragraphs, i..e gaps of one line or more between paragraphs. So for lengthy documents, this can be irksome. It took me an hour today to manually re-insert these breaks into a 400 page document and I can live with that any day of the week.

Good luck - Graham.

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You can do a Find/Change to delete them all. Find: ^n (that’s the code for a forced line break) and leave the Change blank. Choose Document in the dropdown so it does the find/change in all the stories, rather than only the active one.

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