In the comments to my blog post about ScanSnap on Sierra, awesome DocumentSnap reader Alex writes this:
Since updating to macOS 10.12.2 I have found that Preview destroys the OCR layer of PDFs scanned and OCR’d with the latest ScanSnap Manager software if you make any sort of edit with Preview (e.g. deleting or reordering pages). After editing and saving with Preview, the PDF is no longer searchable and text is not selectable. Managed to replicate the problem on another Mac running 10.12.2. Doesn’t seem to affect PDFs scanned and OCR’d with other scanners or applications. Just wanted to warn everyone to perhaps wait before updating, and check that they haven’t unwittingly destroyed their OCR if they have already updated.
As you can see, it seems to be something to do with Preview on macOS Sierra 12.12.2. Alex said that he didn’t see the issue with other scanners, but I ran into it with both ScanSnap and Doxie. Both of those scanners use ABBYY for OCR, so that may be relevant.
I ran into a lot of PDF bugs in macOS 10.12.0. None have been fixed, as far as I can tell, and I’ve already filed two Radars for new issues in 10.12.2. It’s sad that basic functionality remains broken for so long—especially given that PDF was an area where Apple used to excel.
Update (2017-01-02): Adam C. Engst:
It pains me to say this, speaking as the co-author of “Take Control of Preview,” but I have to recommend that Sierra users avoid using Preview to edit PDF documents until Apple fixes these bugs. If editing a PDF in Preview in unavoidable, be sure to work only on a copy of the file and retain the original in case editing introduces corruption of any sort. Smile’s PDFpen is the obvious alternative for PDF manipulation of all sorts (and for documentation, we have “Take Control of PDFpen 8” too), although Adobe’s Acrobat DC is also an option, albeit an expensive one.
In the meantime, we’ll be watching closely to see which of these PDF-related bugs Apple fixes in 10.12.3, which is currently in beta testing.
On the bright side, when this happened with the iWork suite, the Mac apps eventually gained back most of the functionality that was removed for parity with iOS. But it sure seems like Apple pulled the trigger on this at least a year before it was ready.
Update (2017-01-03): Chuq Von Rospach:
“parity with IOS took priority” over backward compatibility. As it did with Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, Photos… Very Apple.
Update (2017-01-05): Lloyd Chambers:
[Data] loss supports the “disdain and contempt” theory, but does not rule out sheer incompetence.
Note the “common core” thing—a very dangerous trend for future APIs in terms of reliability, compatibility and data integrity particularly since Apple seems to have no idea what unit testing is.
Whose data of any kind is safe when Apple has no qualms about rewriting APIs that damage user files?
Update (2017-01-23): David Sparks:
I am receiving a lot of email lately from readers encountering PDF problems on the Mac. If that’s you, you’re not alone.
Update (2017-03-28): macOS 10.12.4 fixes some of the PDF display bugs.
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