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Linux / Unix Command: pdftotext
Command Library


pdftotext - Portable Document Format (PDF) to text converter (version 2.01)


pdftotext [options] [PDF-file [text-file]]


Pdftotext converts Portable Document Format (PDF) files to plain text.

Pdftotext reads the PDF file, PDF-file, and writes a text file, text-file. If text-file is not specified, pdftotext converts file.pdf to file.txt. If text-file is '-', the text is sent to stdout.


Pdftotext reads a configuration file at startup. It first tries to find the user's private config file, ~/.xpdfrc. If that doesn't exist, it looks for a system-wide config file, typically /etc/xpdfrc (but this location can be changed when pdftotext is built). See the xpdfrc(5) man page for details.


Many of the following options can be set with configuration file commands. These are listed in square brackets with the description of the corresponding command line option.
-f number
Specifies the first page to convert.
-l number
Specifies the last page to convert.
Maintain (as best as possible) the original physical layout of the text. The default is to 'undo' physical layout (columns, hyphenation, etc.) and output the text in reading order.
Keep the text in content stream order. This is a hack which often "undoes" column formatting, etc. Use of raw mode is no longer recommended.
Generate a simple HTML file, including the meta information. This simply wraps the text in
and prepends the meta headers.
-enc encoding-name
Sets the encoding to use for text output. The encoding-name must be defined with the unicodeMap command (see xpdfrc(5)). This defaults to "Latin1" (which is a built-in encoding). [config file: textEncoding]
-eol unix | dos | mac
Sets the end-of-line convention to use for text output. [config file: textEOL]
-opw password
Specify the owner password for the PDF file. Providing this will bypass all security restrictions.
-upw password
Specify the user password for the PDF file.
Don't print any messages or errors. [config file: errQuiet]
-cfg config-file
Read config-file in place of ~/.xpdfrc or the system-wide config file.
Print copyright and version information.
Print usage information. (-help and --help are equivalent.)


xpdf(1), pdftops(1), pdfinfo(1), pdffonts(1), pdftopbm(1), pdfimages(1), xpdfrc(5)

Important: Use the man command (% man) to see how a command is used on your particular computer.

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