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If I copy text from a PDF and a word is hyphenated and spans two lines, the copied text contains the "-". For example:

Examp-
le 

should be copied as

Example

not

Examp-le

The problem is that hyphens from source text must be conserved

bug-
proof

must be

bug-proof

in copied form.

How can I achive this?

I think this question is related to Make ligatures in Linux Libertine copyable (and searchable)

Edit: I am sorry, my initial question was not well phrased. I typeset documents in LaTeX and compile them to PDF by PDFlatex (Miktex). Is it possible for PDFLaTeX to distinguish between 'line break' and 'interword' hyphens? Does the definition of PDF allows such different hyphens, so that a PDF reader, which respects the difference copies text that contains 'interword' hyphens, but not the 'line break' hyphens and the belonging line break?

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2  
Sounds like putting toothpaste back in the tube. One possibility: If you could make TeX use a different character for hyphenation-hyphens than for non-hyphenation-hyphens, you could run a search&replace on the hyphenation-hyphens afterwards. –  dhst Jun 21 '12 at 12:38
1  
In my (limited) experience with trying to copy-and-paste text containing hyphens back into a .tex text file, I've noticed wide differences in outcomes: With some documents, words broken across lines are rejoined automatically by my text editor, while in other documents this is not the case at all. These differences are likely caused by differences across method(s) that were used to render the documents in .pdf format in the first place. Without specific knowledge of these methods, it's probably impossible to come up with a general solution to your needs. –  Mico Jun 21 '12 at 14:11
    
@Mico The glyphtounicode works fine for ligatures, and the outcome (PDFLaTeX as PDF-producer, Foxit or Acrobat as PDF-viewer) is perfect for ligatures and special characters. So I wonder if the TeX-internals have tho logic to distinguish between the different forms of hyphens. –  Jürgen G. Jun 22 '12 at 7:43
    

1 Answer 1

Worst case scenario, the PDF has the hyphens at the end of the line rendered as the same hyphen that sits between words, let's call them 'line break' and 'interword' hyphens for now.

That would mean they are indistinguishable automatically (an interword hyphen might coincide with a line break; impossible to detect). In which case, search & replace (with nothing) to get rid of all of them, then S&R for words that are now known to miss a hyphen. Sorry.

Better case scenario is that the actual characters inside the PDF are different, even though they might look the same. Copying & pasting, depending on your PDF reader, tends to lose that distinction, if it was there in the first place. Same issue makes for 'end of line' (EOL) characters for every visible line in the PDF, rather than one at the end of a paragraph. LaTeX doesn't mind (it looks for empty lines) but your other text editing needs or tooling might.

On the assumption you have been copying&pasting, you might be able to get more results to work with by extracting the text from the PDF automatically. Google for 'PDF to text'; there are a number of options available, from Windows GUI tools, to OS X builtin PDF handling (look into Automator) to command line tooling for UNIX/Linux/Cygwin environments.

The output would be plain text. Some tools perform or allow for some manipulation of the extracted text, preserving only actual line endings rather than merely the ones shown, etc.

For text manipulation perse, the typical command line tools in a UNIX environment would be able to get the bulk of your issues out of the way. That may or may not be useable advice to you, but I would reach for Vim, sed and a sprinkling of regular expressions all wrapped in some Bash.

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I am sorry, my initial question was not well phrased. I typeset documents in LaTeX and compile them to PDF by PDFlatex (Miktex). Is it possible for PDFLaTeX to distinguish between 'line break' and 'interword' hyphens? Does the definition of PDF allows such different hyphens, so that a PDF reader, which respects the difference copies text that contains 'interword' hyphens, but not the 'line break' hyphens and the belonging line break? –  Jürgen G. Jun 29 '12 at 19:48

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