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Ask Roger

Thursday brings the Guardian‘s Technology supplement, a curious mixture of news and reviews of computer games, mobile phones and government computerisation projects. There’s always something interesting in it, though.

This morning it was the Ask Jack column, in which Jack Schofield acts as agony aunt for people having trouble with their computers: what does this file do, is this virus a serious threat, how do I…?

Sometimes we haven’t a clue what the answer is, but sometimes we have. And when someone wrote in last week and asked how to convert a PDF file to Word – well, we do this all the time. At least, we are very accustomed to extracting text from the various forms in which clients send us the content for their web sites. So when Jack suggested that if all else failed, you could always print out the PDF onto paper, and then scan it back and use OCR software (Optical Character Recognition – and I persist in regarding it as magic!) to turn it into text – yes, you could, but Roger was ahead of him.

And here’s the original query with Roger’s response, just as it appeared in this morning’s paper.

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