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pdftotext is an open source command-line utility for converting PDF files to plain text files —i.e. extracting text data from PDF-encapsulated files. It is freely available and included by default with many Linux distributions, and is also available for Windows as part of the Xpdf Windows port. Such text extraction is complicated as PDF files are internally built on page drawing primitives, meaning the boundaries between words and paragraphs often must be inferred based on their position on the page.

$ pdftotext file.pdf

This usage produces a text file with the same name as the input file. Wildcards (*), for example $ pdftotext *pdf, for converting multiple files, cannot be used because pdftotext expects only one file name.

pdftotext is part of the Xpdf software suite. Poppler, which is derived from Xpdf, also includes an implementation of pdftotext. On most Linux distributions, pdftotext is included as part of the poppler-utils package.[1]

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