I there any PDF preview handler that have SELECT TEXT / COPY capability for Windows (free or paid never mind)? Simply as that :)

Adobe, Foxit, Edge, PDF-XChange, Sumatra PDF don't have that option. Only zoom, page up/down. Funny thing is that Adobe before DC era have this function if i recall correctly.

3 Answers 3


While this suggestion is not specific to a pdf previewer, you might want to check out Microsoft PowerToys to see if it will work for you.

It has tools such as Peek and Text Extracter that might provide the functionality you are looking for. They can be activated by customizable keyboard shortcuts, which makes them pretty handy.

I use it because it is a single solution that works for multiple scenarios rather than a single use previewer for only pdfs.


All of the above should have the ability to copy text in one form or another within their core "Windowed" application.

However the Pre-Viewer is not an area they have control over as it is part of Explorer and AFAIK simply supply renders to it as image thus not selectable text.

Unsure if when windows provided their variation of Foxit code if it had any such ability. Your recollection of Acrobats plug-in ability may have been a side effect of Internet Explorer Trident integration with Windows Explorer.

Certainly "Plain Text" is accessible via preview and one could thus expect the iFilter decoded text also be available as it is when using search. But it seemingly is not. However there are other iFilter search tools such as dnGrep or AgentRansack (recommended) that read the decoded text for fast indexed search and copy.

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Adobe does allow you to select and copy text, providing the pdf has text (not image).

If its an image then you need an OCR. Note that printing to pdf can convert the file to an image. See blue text in screenshot.

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