Figma Support Forum

PDF export - text not selectable

Hi all, I created some designs that I exported as PDF. I have two problems with the result:

  1. The text is not selectable (I tried Mac’s Preview and Safari).

  2. The files are rather large (1MB for an A4 size design, no images or vectors, just a few text bozes.

Any ideas how to overcome this? (I would try to avoid bringing it back my design to Sketch.

Yes, I have also run with similar problems for PDF. If you export only the frame, Figma apparently exports it in a way that it is not selectable + quite a large size.

Have you tried to use Export frames to PDF?
I’ll suggest to create a page and add the artboard which you want to export there and use
File > Export Frames to PDF.

This has solved both the issues for me in the past.

hi Shaunak, thanks for the idea. Tried - but didn’t work either :slightly_frowning_face:

Unfortuntally this is a known issue, but not fully true.

You can select text while using Acrobat, Chrome or Firefox, but not Apple preview, Safari or Edge. Not sure why but this has been flagged many times in the Friends of Figma Slack.

About the file sizes, that I feel is the real pain point. I tend to use PDF compressors all the time with Figma PDF files.

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Text selection works fine for me in Apple Preview. That’s weird that it doesn’t work for you, but I heard other people having this issue too. Chrome seems to be working for everyone though.

Text selection works if it’s a single page PDF. As soon it becomes multi-page (even if combining single pages in Preview, not in Figma) it stops working.

What Figma essentially does, it converts the text to outlines/curves. I’m sure there’s a reasoning to it, but I’d certainly vote keeping is as a text. Wish there would be way preserving it.

I have several multi-page designs exported in PDF and Figma never converted my text in outlines.

Are you saying you open it up in Illustrator and the text is editable?

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For anyone watching this topic, and other PDF topics.
PDFs exported from Figma make it difficult or impossible to highlight and copy specific text in the resulting PDF file. Hopefully this will improve over time.

As a work around, I have been using the CopyDoc Text Kit plugin which creates a MS Word document that is much easier to work with.

Screenshots showing a few CopyDoc Text Kit options for Word docs:



The resulting Word doc is fully editable, formatted correctly, and can be saved/exported as a PDF.

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The key issue is that fonts are not embedded, as mentioned by Marke the text is converted to vectors, although obviously with appropriate annotations such that it is possible to select/copy the text appropriately - although not as easily as with a proper embedded font - hence why people are having issues.

This needs resolving as using this method to embed text results in huge size pdfs (with 100,000s+ of vectors) as opposed to simply storing the font and text which reduces the size of the pdf by a factor of 10x/100x.

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Hi All!
I found the answer here very useful and tried it myself and it worked. Hopefully this helps anyone still looking.
https://spectrum.chat/figma/tips-and-tricks/export-to-pdf-and-keep-text-selectable-in-2-steps~9ba0872b-4a24-4ba8-a4ba-647263dc1365

Posting the alternate solution here from @Jane_Kim, since Spectrum is not longer active.

Export to PDF, AND keep text selectable in 2 steps

There is a way I know to convert from Figma to PDF (keeping editability: ability to select, copy and paste the text in the new document)

STEP 1. Simply export your frames as SVG, but be sure to remove the check mark in the “outline text” option, within the options to export SVG (three points, see image).

STEP 2. Now go to CLOUD CONVERT web page, and select convert from SVG to PDF or simply click on this direct link: SVG to PDF | CloudConvert. Then select the SVG files to upload (there is an option to unify several SVG files as a single PDF document) and press the “Start Conversion” button.