How AI Can Make Analyzing and Reading PDFs Easier

How AI Can Make Analyzing and Reading PDFs Easier

Whether you’re a knowledge worker combing through vast documents or a student studying for a research paper, people from all walks of life find themselves wading through large PDFs to get the information they need. The process is tedious and time-consuming, as people often need only a snippet of information that’s located within these documents, but finding what they need can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Thankfully, AI can help.

Just as it’s empowering people for greater productivity across every industry, AI is now being used to make reading PDFs more efficient. From responding to voice commands and scanning for critical information to creating highlights and citations that validate its own findings, the capabilities of AI assistance within document management software are making it easier than ever to move from knowledge to action. 

Both professionals and everyday consumers are leveraging these capabilities to improve their productivity and glean the most valuable insights from PDFs that were once too expansive to read. The result isn’t just greater efficiency — it’s the ability to articulate that knowledge to others, and ultimately create a more democratic information economy for all. Here’s a look at who’s using AI to break free from lengthy PDFs, and what features are helping them do it.

How AI makes reading PDFs easier: Features and applications

Whether it’s consumers sifting through the terms and conditions of a warranty or students scanning a document for research, AI isn’t just for professionals. The technology is certainly most common in the business world, but its intuitive use has made it available to anyone to get the most from documents they once found inaccessible. Here’s how AI helps everyone navigate vast PDFs. 


One of the things AI does best is sift through large datasets fast. That makes it ideal for analyzing large PDF documents, as it can find needed information much more quickly than humans — and deliver actionable insights, as well. Some of the main AI features for PDFs include: 

  • AI assistants: After scouring massive PDFs for the information you need, AI assistants provide an intuitive, conversational interface that gives prompts for users to inquire about other topics that could benefit their search. It also lets them pose their questions through simple voice commands, letting users interact with their documents with ease. 
  • Generative summaries: When knowledge seekers must slog through lengthy PDF documents just to answer a single question, it slows their productivity down. Generative summaries give a concise yet relevant overview of large documents so that readers can get straight to the point.
  • Intelligent citations: If organizations hope to use AI wisely, they need to be able to validate the knowledge that its analytics provide. AI can also create citations in the form of clickable links to direct the reader to the information that its generative summaries were based on. 
  • Content creation: After gathering that needed data, users can leverage AI to format the top takeaways in their PDFs and turn them into content for use in the next presentation, email, or message. 
  • Ethical data: Proper ethics and governance are essential for AI best practice. If a document management solution uses AI in its functionalities, it should protect user data and only use it with customer consent.

As helpful as these features are, today’s mobile nature of work means that end-users must be able to access AI’s functionalities from anywhere. 

How AI Can Make Analyzing and Reading PDFs Easier


With so many functionalities, nearly every industry is being transformed by AI. And it’s not just the business world that’s taking advantage of the technology — everyday end-users are becoming increasingly AI-proficient. Some applications of AI for PDFs are:

Knowledge Workers

  • Legal assistants reviewing court proceedings transcripts for key testimony and evidence
  • Medical researchers analyzing patient consultations transcripts to identify patterns in symptoms and diagnoses


  • Financial analysts presenting quarterly earnings reports highlighting revenue growth and market trends
  • Environmental analysts sharing a report on pollution levels, emphasizing areas of concern and proposed solutions


  • Legal researchers delving into case law to analyze precedents for a pending court case
  • Healthcare researchers conducting a literature review to explore the effectiveness of a new treatment method

Project Managers

  • Construction project managers looking for RFPs for a new infrastructure project in a specific region
  • IT project managers scanning and annotating proposal details quickly and accurately

Sales Teams

  • Retail sales representatives gathering customer feedback through surveys and in-store interactions to understand preferences and improve the shopping experience
  • Insurance sales agents compiling demographic data and risk profiles to target potential clients for specific insurance products


  • Digital advertisers reviewing client proposals and campaign performance reports in PDF format, annotating key insights for internal collaboration and client presentations
  • Email marketers reading and annotating industry research reports or trend analyses to inform email content creation and campaign messaging.
  • Paralegals reviewing and highlighting contracts for specific clauses related to any case
  • Legal researchers analyzing case law to prepare briefs for upcoming trials


  • Hospital administrators analyzing patient satisfaction surveys to improve healthcare services
  • Physicians and nurses quickly scanning through patient charts and medical records for vital patient diagnoses and history

Human Resources

  • HR personnel reviewing and annotating resumes and job applications in PDF format to highlight key qualifications and candidate evaluations during the recruitment process
  • Training managers reading and annotating employee training manuals and instructional materials in PDF format to customize training programs and address specific learning needs within the organization


  • Chief Information Officers evaluating cybersecurity measures to protect company data from potential breaches
  • Chief Technology Officers researching emerging technologies to enhance product development processes

Commercial Manufacturing

  • Supply chain managers analyzing and annotating supplier contracts and agreements in PDF format to track delivery schedules, pricing terms, and performance metrics for strategic sourcing decisions
  • Quality control inspectors reviewing and annotating product specifications and inspection reports in PDF format to ensure compliance with quality standards and identify areas for improvement in manufacturing processes

Scanning for information, summarizing lengthy reports, linking citations for context — these applications have made AI an excellent asset for anyone reading PDFs to gain knowledge. And what sector doesn’t that apply to?

Reading PDFs: What AI can (and can’t) do

As the scope of AI expands, it’s important to remember what the technology can and can’t do. AI is meant to come alongside the end-user by taking on the most time-consuming tasks. It’s not meant to replace the critical thinking that humans do best.

That’s especially true when using AI to read PDFs. AI functionalities can help users locate important information faster and process their knowledge in an easily digestible form. It can’t replace the problem-solving and deep thinking that human workers perform, so it’s still essential that users participate in the knowledge acquisition process — and fact-checking is always a must. 

Struggling with lengthy PDFs? Foxit can help 

From large written transcripts to warranties that customers only read if they need them, much of the world’s information is found inside PDFs. They’ve become a staple in the knowledge economy, but the sheer size and volume of these documents has made extracting the information therein a painful process. Thanks to the AI capabilities of document management software, that pain is now all but gone. 

At Foxit, we offer a suite of document management solutions to help organizations of all types navigate their most important records with ease. Our flagship product PDF Editor not only helps users create, edit, store, and share their PDFs and other documents, but possesses a host of AI-powered functionalities to process the mission-critical knowledge found inside all their records. If you’d like to see how the AI functionalities found within document management software can help streamline your knowledge processes, contact us to request a free trial today.

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