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Converting a PDF to a text file

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Richard van Kampen

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Posted: 11 Aug 2005

Ever been in a bind where you need to retrieve the text from a PDF file, but are unable to do so because of the PDF's inability to let you? You might be interested in a little program called pdftotext.

getting it

pdftotext is part of the xpdf package, so in order to use it you'll have to have xpdf installed.

using it

To change a pdf file to plain text, type in your console:

pdftotext [options] file.pdf file.txt

To break down the previous line, pdftotext is the command, [options] are optional parameters for the program (you can type 'man pdftotext' for a list of options), file.pdf is the pdf file you want to convert to text and file.txt is the filename you want to use to output the plain text to.

And there you have it! Easily copied plain text straight from an uncopyable PDF file.

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