Python module for converting PDF to text

The Question :

394 people think this question is useful

Is there any python module to convert PDF files into text? I tried one piece of code found in Activestate which uses pypdf but the text generated had no space between and was of no use.

The Question Comments :
  • I was looking for similar solution. I just need to read the text from the pdf file. I don’t need the images. pdfminer is a good choice but I didn’t find a simple example on how to extract the text. Finally I got this SO answer (stackoverflow.com/questions/5725278/…) and now using it.
  • Since the question got closed I reposted it on the Stack Exchange dedicated to software recommendations in case someone wants to write a new answer: Python module for converting PDF to text
  • The only solution that worked for me for UTF-8 content: Apache Tika
  • I would like to update the available options list for PDF to Text conversion in Python, GroupDocs.Conversion Cloud SDK for Python converts PDF to text accurately.

The Answer 1

147 people think this answer is useful

Try PDFMiner. It can extract text from PDF files as HTML, SGML or “Tagged PDF” format.

The Tagged PDF format seems to be the cleanest, and stripping out the XML tags leaves just the bare text.

A Python 3 version is available under:

The Answer 2

138 people think this answer is useful

The PDFMiner package has changed since codeape posted.

EDIT (again):

PDFMiner has been updated again in version 20100213

You can check the version you have installed with the following:

>>> import pdfminer
>>> pdfminer.__version__
'20100213'

Here’s the updated version (with comments on what I changed/added):

def pdf_to_csv(filename):
    from cStringIO import StringIO  #<-- added so you can copy/paste this to try it
    from pdfminer.converter import LTTextItem, TextConverter
    from pdfminer.pdfparser import PDFDocument, PDFParser
    from pdfminer.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, PDFPageInterpreter

    class CsvConverter(TextConverter):
        def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
            TextConverter.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)

        def end_page(self, i):
            from collections import defaultdict
            lines = defaultdict(lambda : {})
            for child in self.cur_item.objs:
                if isinstance(child, LTTextItem):
                    (_,_,x,y) = child.bbox                   #<-- changed
                    line = lines[int(-y)]
                    line[x] = child.text.encode(self.codec)  #<-- changed

            for y in sorted(lines.keys()):
                line = lines[y]
                self.outfp.write(";".join(line[x] for x in sorted(line.keys())))
                self.outfp.write("\n")

    # ... the following part of the code is a remix of the 
    # convert() function in the pdfminer/tools/pdf2text module
    rsrc = PDFResourceManager()
    outfp = StringIO()
    device = CsvConverter(rsrc, outfp, codec="utf-8")  #<-- changed 
        # becuase my test documents are utf-8 (note: utf-8 is the default codec)

    doc = PDFDocument()
    fp = open(filename, 'rb')
    parser = PDFParser(fp)       #<-- changed
    parser.set_document(doc)     #<-- added
    doc.set_parser(parser)       #<-- added
    doc.initialize('')

    interpreter = PDFPageInterpreter(rsrc, device)

    for i, page in enumerate(doc.get_pages()):
        outfp.write("START PAGE %d\n" % i)
        interpreter.process_page(page)
        outfp.write("END PAGE %d\n" % i)

    device.close()
    fp.close()

    return outfp.getvalue()

Edit (yet again):

Here is an update for the latest version in pypi, 20100619p1. In short I replaced LTTextItem with LTChar and passed an instance of LAParams to the CsvConverter constructor.

def pdf_to_csv(filename):
    from cStringIO import StringIO  
    from pdfminer.converter import LTChar, TextConverter    #<-- changed
    from pdfminer.layout import LAParams
    from pdfminer.pdfparser import PDFDocument, PDFParser
    from pdfminer.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, PDFPageInterpreter

    class CsvConverter(TextConverter):
        def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
            TextConverter.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)

        def end_page(self, i):
            from collections import defaultdict
            lines = defaultdict(lambda : {})
            for child in self.cur_item.objs:
                if isinstance(child, LTChar):               #<-- changed
                    (_,_,x,y) = child.bbox                   
                    line = lines[int(-y)]
                    line[x] = child.text.encode(self.codec)

            for y in sorted(lines.keys()):
                line = lines[y]
                self.outfp.write(";".join(line[x] for x in sorted(line.keys())))
                self.outfp.write("\n")

    # ... the following part of the code is a remix of the 
    # convert() function in the pdfminer/tools/pdf2text module
    rsrc = PDFResourceManager()
    outfp = StringIO()
    device = CsvConverter(rsrc, outfp, codec="utf-8", laparams=LAParams())  #<-- changed
        # becuase my test documents are utf-8 (note: utf-8 is the default codec)

    doc = PDFDocument()
    fp = open(filename, 'rb')
    parser = PDFParser(fp)       
    parser.set_document(doc)     
    doc.set_parser(parser)       
    doc.initialize('')

    interpreter = PDFPageInterpreter(rsrc, device)

    for i, page in enumerate(doc.get_pages()):
        outfp.write("START PAGE %d\n" % i)
        if page is not None:
            interpreter.process_page(page)
        outfp.write("END PAGE %d\n" % i)

    device.close()
    fp.close()

    return outfp.getvalue()

EDIT (one more time):

Updated for version 20110515 (thanks to Oeufcoque Penteano!):

def pdf_to_csv(filename):
    from cStringIO import StringIO  
    from pdfminer.converter import LTChar, TextConverter
    from pdfminer.layout import LAParams
    from pdfminer.pdfparser import PDFDocument, PDFParser
    from pdfminer.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, PDFPageInterpreter

    class CsvConverter(TextConverter):
        def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
            TextConverter.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)

        def end_page(self, i):
            from collections import defaultdict
            lines = defaultdict(lambda : {})
            for child in self.cur_item._objs:                #<-- changed
                if isinstance(child, LTChar):
                    (_,_,x,y) = child.bbox                   
                    line = lines[int(-y)]
                    line[x] = child._text.encode(self.codec) #<-- changed

            for y in sorted(lines.keys()):
                line = lines[y]
                self.outfp.write(";".join(line[x] for x in sorted(line.keys())))
                self.outfp.write("\n")

    # ... the following part of the code is a remix of the 
    # convert() function in the pdfminer/tools/pdf2text module
    rsrc = PDFResourceManager()
    outfp = StringIO()
    device = CsvConverter(rsrc, outfp, codec="utf-8", laparams=LAParams())
        # becuase my test documents are utf-8 (note: utf-8 is the default codec)

    doc = PDFDocument()
    fp = open(filename, 'rb')
    parser = PDFParser(fp)       
    parser.set_document(doc)     
    doc.set_parser(parser)       
    doc.initialize('')

    interpreter = PDFPageInterpreter(rsrc, device)

    for i, page in enumerate(doc.get_pages()):
        outfp.write("START PAGE %d\n" % i)
        if page is not None:
            interpreter.process_page(page)
        outfp.write("END PAGE %d\n" % i)

    device.close()
    fp.close()

    return outfp.getvalue()

The Answer 3

70 people think this answer is useful

Since none for these solutions support the latest version of PDFMiner I wrote a simple solution that will return text of a pdf using PDFMiner. This will work for those who are getting import errors with process_pdf

import sys
from pdfminer.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, PDFPageInterpreter
from pdfminer.pdfpage import PDFPage
from pdfminer.converter import XMLConverter, HTMLConverter, TextConverter
from pdfminer.layout import LAParams
from cStringIO import StringIO

def pdfparser(data):

    fp = file(data, 'rb')
    rsrcmgr = PDFResourceManager()
    retstr = StringIO()
    codec = 'utf-8'
    laparams = LAParams()
    device = TextConverter(rsrcmgr, retstr, codec=codec, laparams=laparams)
    # Create a PDF interpreter object.
    interpreter = PDFPageInterpreter(rsrcmgr, device)
    # Process each page contained in the document.

    for page in PDFPage.get_pages(fp):
        interpreter.process_page(page)
        data =  retstr.getvalue()

    print data

if __name__ == '__main__':
    pdfparser(sys.argv[1])  

See below code that works for Python 3:

import sys
from pdfminer.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, PDFPageInterpreter
from pdfminer.pdfpage import PDFPage
from pdfminer.converter import XMLConverter, HTMLConverter, TextConverter
from pdfminer.layout import LAParams
import io

def pdfparser(data):

    fp = open(data, 'rb')
    rsrcmgr = PDFResourceManager()
    retstr = io.StringIO()
    codec = 'utf-8'
    laparams = LAParams()
    device = TextConverter(rsrcmgr, retstr, codec=codec, laparams=laparams)
    # Create a PDF interpreter object.
    interpreter = PDFPageInterpreter(rsrcmgr, device)
    # Process each page contained in the document.

    for page in PDFPage.get_pages(fp):
        interpreter.process_page(page)
        data =  retstr.getvalue()

    print(data)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    pdfparser(sys.argv[1])  

The Answer 4

51 people think this answer is useful

Pdftotext An open source program (part of Xpdf) which you could call from python (not what you asked for but might be useful). I’ve used it with no problems. I think google use it in google desktop.

The Answer 5

44 people think this answer is useful

pyPDF works fine (assuming that you’re working with well-formed PDFs). If all you want is the text (with spaces), you can just do:

import pyPdf
pdf = pyPdf.PdfFileReader(open(filename, "rb"))
for page in pdf.pages:
    print page.extractText()

You can also easily get access to the metadata, image data, and so forth.

A comment in the extractText code notes:

Locate all text drawing commands, in the order they are provided in the content stream, and extract the text. This works well for some PDF files, but poorly for others, depending on the generator used. This will be refined in the future. Do not rely on the order of text coming out of this function, as it will change if this function is made more sophisticated.

Whether or not this is a problem depends on what you’re doing with the text (e.g. if the order doesn’t matter, it’s fine, or if the generator adds text to the stream in the order it will be displayed, it’s fine). I have pyPdf extraction code in daily use, without any problems.

The Answer 6

21 people think this answer is useful

You can also quite easily use pdfminer as a library. You have access to the pdf’s content model, and can create your own text extraction. I did this to convert pdf contents to semi-colon separated text, using the code below.

The function simply sorts the TextItem content objects according to their y and x coordinates, and outputs items with the same y coordinate as one text line, separating the objects on the same line with ‘;’ characters.

Using this approach, I was able to extract text from a pdf that no other tool was able to extract content suitable for further parsing from. Other tools I tried include pdftotext, ps2ascii and the online tool pdftextonline.com.

pdfminer is an invaluable tool for pdf-scraping.


def pdf_to_csv(filename):
    from pdflib.page import TextItem, TextConverter
    from pdflib.pdfparser import PDFDocument, PDFParser
    from pdflib.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, PDFPageInterpreter

    class CsvConverter(TextConverter):
        def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
            TextConverter.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)

        def end_page(self, i):
            from collections import defaultdict
            lines = defaultdict(lambda : {})
            for child in self.cur_item.objs:
                if isinstance(child, TextItem):
                    (_,_,x,y) = child.bbox
                    line = lines[int(-y)]
                    line[x] = child.text

            for y in sorted(lines.keys()):
                line = lines[y]
                self.outfp.write(";".join(line[x] for x in sorted(line.keys())))
                self.outfp.write("\n")

    # ... the following part of the code is a remix of the 
    # convert() function in the pdfminer/tools/pdf2text module
    rsrc = PDFResourceManager()
    outfp = StringIO()
    device = CsvConverter(rsrc, outfp, "ascii")

    doc = PDFDocument()
    fp = open(filename, 'rb')
    parser = PDFParser(doc, fp)
    doc.initialize('')

    interpreter = PDFPageInterpreter(rsrc, device)

    for i, page in enumerate(doc.get_pages()):
        outfp.write("START PAGE %d\n" % i)
        interpreter.process_page(page)
        outfp.write("END PAGE %d\n" % i)

    device.close()
    fp.close()

    return outfp.getvalue()


UPDATE:

The code above is written against an old version of the API, see my comment below.

The Answer 7

17 people think this answer is useful

slate is a project that makes it very simple to use PDFMiner from a library:

>>> with open('example.pdf') as f:
...    doc = slate.PDF(f)
...
>>> doc
[..., ..., ...]
>>> doc[1]
'Text from page 2...'   

The Answer 8

9 people think this answer is useful

I needed to convert a specific PDF to plain text within a python module. I used PDFMiner 20110515, after reading through their pdf2txt.py tool I wrote this simple snippet:

from cStringIO import StringIO
from pdfminer.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, process_pdf
from pdfminer.converter import TextConverter
from pdfminer.layout import LAParams

def to_txt(pdf_path):
    input_ = file(pdf_path, 'rb')
    output = StringIO()

    manager = PDFResourceManager()
    converter = TextConverter(manager, output, laparams=LAParams())
    process_pdf(manager, converter, input_)

    return output.getvalue() 

The Answer 9

6 people think this answer is useful

Repurposing the pdf2txt.py code that comes with pdfminer; you can make a function that will take a path to the pdf; optionally, an outtype (txt|html|xml|tag) and opts like the commandline pdf2txt {‘-o’: ‘/path/to/outfile.txt’ …}. By default, you can call:

convert_pdf(path)

A text file will be created, a sibling on the filesystem to the original pdf.

def convert_pdf(path, outtype='txt', opts={}):
    import sys
    from pdfminer.pdfinterp import PDFResourceManager, PDFPageInterpreter, process_pdf
    from pdfminer.converter import XMLConverter, HTMLConverter, TextConverter, TagExtractor
    from pdfminer.layout import LAParams
    from pdfminer.pdfparser import PDFDocument, PDFParser
    from pdfminer.pdfdevice import PDFDevice
    from pdfminer.cmapdb import CMapDB

    outfile = path[:-3] + outtype
    outdir = '/'.join(path.split('/')[:-1])

    debug = 0
    # input option
    password = ''
    pagenos = set()
    maxpages = 0
    # output option
    codec = 'utf-8'
    pageno = 1
    scale = 1
    showpageno = True
    laparams = LAParams()
    for (k, v) in opts:
        if k == '-d': debug += 1
        elif k == '-p': pagenos.update( int(x)-1 for x in v.split(',') )
        elif k == '-m': maxpages = int(v)
        elif k == '-P': password = v
        elif k == '-o': outfile = v
        elif k == '-n': laparams = None
        elif k == '-A': laparams.all_texts = True
        elif k == '-D': laparams.writing_mode = v
        elif k == '-M': laparams.char_margin = float(v)
        elif k == '-L': laparams.line_margin = float(v)
        elif k == '-W': laparams.word_margin = float(v)
        elif k == '-O': outdir = v
        elif k == '-t': outtype = v
        elif k == '-c': codec = v
        elif k == '-s': scale = float(v)
    #
    CMapDB.debug = debug
    PDFResourceManager.debug = debug
    PDFDocument.debug = debug
    PDFParser.debug = debug
    PDFPageInterpreter.debug = debug
    PDFDevice.debug = debug
    #
    rsrcmgr = PDFResourceManager()
    if not outtype:
        outtype = 'txt'
        if outfile:
            if outfile.endswith('.htm') or outfile.endswith('.html'):
                outtype = 'html'
            elif outfile.endswith('.xml'):
                outtype = 'xml'
            elif outfile.endswith('.tag'):
                outtype = 'tag'
    if outfile:
        outfp = file(outfile, 'w')
    else:
        outfp = sys.stdout
    if outtype == 'txt':
        device = TextConverter(rsrcmgr, outfp, codec=codec, laparams=laparams)
    elif outtype == 'xml':
        device = XMLConverter(rsrcmgr, outfp, codec=codec, laparams=laparams, outdir=outdir)
    elif outtype == 'html':
        device = HTMLConverter(rsrcmgr, outfp, codec=codec, scale=scale, laparams=laparams, outdir=outdir)
    elif outtype == 'tag':
        device = TagExtractor(rsrcmgr, outfp, codec=codec)
    else:
        return usage()

    fp = file(path, 'rb')
    process_pdf(rsrcmgr, device, fp, pagenos, maxpages=maxpages, password=password)
    fp.close()
    device.close()

    outfp.close()
    return

The Answer 10

1 people think this answer is useful

PDFminer gave me perhaps one line [page 1 of 7…] on every page of a pdf file I tried with it.

The best answer I have so far is pdftoipe, or the c++ code it’s based on Xpdf.

see my question for what the output of pdftoipe looks like.

The Answer 11

1 people think this answer is useful

Additionally there is PDFTextStream which is a commercial Java library that can also be used from Python.

The Answer 12

1 people think this answer is useful

I have used pdftohtml with the -xml argument, read the result with subprocess.Popen(), that will give you x coord, y coord, width, height, and font, of every snippet of text in the pdf. I think this is what ‘evince’ probably uses too because the same error messages spew out.

If you need to process columnar data, it gets slightly more complicated as you have to invent an algorithm that suits your pdf file. The problem is that the programs that make PDF files don’t really necessarily lay out the text in any logical format. You can try simple sorting algorithms and it works sometimes, but there can be little ‘stragglers’ and ‘strays’, pieces of text that don’t get put in the order you thought they would. So you have to get creative.

It took me about 5 hours to figure out one for the pdf’s I was working on. But it works pretty good now. Good luck.

The Answer 13

0 people think this answer is useful

Found that solution today. Works great for me. Even rendering PDF pages to PNG images. http://www.swftools.org/gfx_tutorial.html

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