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Xpdf - Convert PDF Files to Plain Text Files - Part 3

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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
50+ yrs in computer industry. Everything from programming to sales. OS kernel dev on mainframes. CIO. Document imaging. EE MVE 2015 & 2016.
In this third video of the Xpdf series, we discuss and demonstrate the PDFtoText utility, which converts PDF files into plain text files.

Video Steps

1. Download and install the software.

You may have already downloaded and installed the Xpdf tools while watching the first  or second video in the Xpdf series , but if you haven't, then visit the Xpdf website at:

http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/

Click the Download link and then click the pre-compiled Windows binary ZIP archive to download the Xpdf utilities for Windows.
precompiled binaries

2. Locate the documentation folder for the Xpdf utilities.

Go to the folder where you unzipped the downloaded ZIP file and find the <doc> folder.
documentation folder

3. Read the documentation for the PDFtoText tool.

Go into the <doc> folder and find the plain text file called <pdftotext.txt>.

Open it with any text editor, such as Notepad, and read it. This is the documentation for the PDFtoText tool.
read me

4. Set up a test folder.

Create a test folder.

Copy <pdftotext.exe> from the unzipped <bin32> folder into your test folder.

Copy a sample PDF file into your test folder (in the video and the screenshots below, the file is called <RMP.pdf>).
test folder

5. Set up a command prompt for testing.

Open a command prompt window.

Navigate to your test folder.

Issue a DIR command in the command prompt to be sure that only two files are in it - the PDFtoText executable and the sample PDF file.
cmd prompt dir

6. Run the PDFtoText utility on the sample PDF file.

In the command prompt window, enter the following command:

pdftotext -layout samplefilename.pdf
command line

7. Verify that the text file that was created.

Issue a DIR command in the command prompt to show that the text file was created. There should be one text file with the same file name as the PDF file, but with a file type of TXT.
cmd prompt dir 2

8. View the text file that was created.

Open the text file with whatever text editor you prefer, such as Notepad or WordPad.

That's it! If you find this video to be helpful, please click the thumbs-up icon below. Thank you for watching!
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2 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:James Powell
Awesome tool!  Thank you for posting this.  Very useful.
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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
You're welcome, James. I'm glad you find it useful. And thanks to you for the comment — authors really appreciate hearing words like that! Regards, Joe
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