[reportlab-users] Reportlab text not searchable in Apple OSX Preview.App? but searchable in Acrobat and google-pdf viewer ?

Robin Becker robin at reportlab.com
Wed Aug 5 13:03:36 EDT 2009

Tim Roberts wrote:

> Robin Becker wrote:

>> ........

>> It seems that preview is actually looking at the rendered image to

>> find the characters.


> I agree that this matches the symptoms, but as a programmer, how would

> you do that? The rendered image is just a matrix of pixels. How would

> you search for words, or even letters, for that matter?


> When I encounter a bug, I always like to put myself in the mind of the

> programmer to figure out what thinking would have led to the bug. I'm

> having a hard time coming up with an implementation that would trigger

> this. Maybe they are converting the PDF to some kind of intermediate

> language (like a Windows EMF), where strings that aren't horizontal get

> converted into a series of smaller strings that ARE horizontal, and they

> are searching that intermediate format. I'd call that "overthinking the

> problem".


I saw some related Preview search problems on one of the tex lists when I was
googling. They seemed to be recommending the use of standard fonts and the like
to improve searchablity; that would come down to some kind of OCR like weakness.
Mac people: are gifs searchable?
Robin Becker

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