Create a Preflight profile to detect when a document is not searchable?

There is an existing check that finds hidden text and gives an error when it is found. How do I create a profile that gives an error when it is not found?

Deanna Bates

3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

There is a property in Acrobat Preflight "Non-empty page contains no text" which allows you to easily detect all pages that do not contain text.

Simply go to "Edit -> "Preflight", click on the middle small icon looking like a magnifying glass (to the left of the little wrench icon), use the fly-out menu in the upper right of the Preflight window, choose "Create New Preflight Check...": dialog opens where you can configure the newly created check. Here, in the search field in the upper right enter "no text", and the property "Non-empty page contains no text" will be shown. Click on the inline "Add" button of that entry, and make sure (this is very important and easily overlooked) set the popup from "is not true" to "is true". Give this newly configured check a suitable name, save, and then run it from the list of checks in the Preflight main window.


Not searchable means the is no content text in the document or the document is entirely and image or photograph of text. One can use JavaScript to get the number of words an each page of the PDF. If any page is found to have a word then the PDF is searchable.

Hidden text is whole different issue. This includes the metadata of the PDF, JavaScript within the PDF, etc. There is also the issue of Steganography or hidden messages within an image.

You might even need to develop a program in a computer language like C using a PDF Developers Library to access all the objects within the PDF structure that you cannot access using Acrobat JavaScript.

George Kaiser   

You edit the existing preflight profile and save it to a new profile name. You can combine several overlapping profiles to identify many text related issues.

Acrobat Pro's preflights let you configure within the 3 "flags" that can be "tossed" The icon used for each is set but it is the actual under the hood profile configure that you care about. The icon is just a quick visual to reflect that a specified condition has been satisfied.

Be well...

David Austin   

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