Many courts prefer Text Searchable PDFs—some courts even require them be text searchable.

As a rule, if a filer generates a pleading using a word processor like Microsoft Word, Pages for Mac, or Word Perfect, then one should convert it directly to PDF. Do not print it, and then scan it back to a PDF. Converting documents straight to PDF ensures it’s text-searchable.

However, some documents, such as original wills or exhibits to pleadings, may only exist in paper. Those types require a filer to scan them first in order to convert them to a PDF. By default, when a filer scans a document and then converts it to PDF, that document is NOT text searchable.

Scanning software using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) allows a filer to scan a document while making it text searchable at the same time. This technology, however, can be problematic, unreliable, and even just undesirable. OCR software can make mistakes, and not all words convert correctly 100% of the time. Additionally, documents scanned with OCR can run into formatting problems. In the case of hand-written documents, especially those written in script or cursive, OCR is simply not able read the characters.

Learn more on how to convert documents into text searchable PDFs