I have a PDF file (this Mazda owner's manual to be precise) with font issues. Therefore I cannot search within. For instance, if you search for the word electric, Okular cannot find it (I've also tried xpdf to no avail). But if you copy the word electric from the file and paste it (Okular's search bar for instance), it is shown as Äíá2

I can see that the file has some funky fonts which might be the cause of this issue:

funky fonts

How can one fix this issue, so that I can search within this PDF file?

  • Without knowing anything about it, you have an 8 letter word which is presented as a 4 letter word to you. This sounds like a 8-bit/character (common to us), 16-bit/character (common to asians) issue. First thing to test is whether Adobe Acrobat does it as you expect, because you may have hit a bug in Okular May 20, 2023 at 13:45
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen unfortunately Acrobat also fails. At least with Okular I can copy and search for those garbled chars. Acrobat just shows boxes and cannot even search within the file.
    – şaloma
    May 20, 2023 at 14:22
  • Sounds like this is a “for print only” PDF. I do not have a technical solution but you may reach out to customer service and ask if they have a searchable version. May 20, 2023 at 16:01
  • 1
    FWIW I used qpdfview on Ubuntu, and could search for and copy/paste "electric" with no issues.
    – Jos
    May 20, 2023 at 16:23
  • @jos nice find! May 20, 2023 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


I would maybe check out a tool called Xournal++ they have a pretty extensive PDF tool set. If that doesn't work LibreOffice Draw has some good tools as well. Under the file properties check things like International Language settings, check MIME is us-ascii.

When making changes remember to export when saving, it will encode the PDF with your new settings and keep your original intact when you are testing.

You could also just run your PDF through a OCR tool and make a new document which should fix your issue. I've used a tool called ocrpdf before.

ocrpdf - Runs PDFs through OCR and saves the output as a text searchable PDF with the same name.

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