Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

How to extract text from PDF files in Java

1 min read

jpedal

PDF files are not directly supported by Java. This tutorial shows you how to extract text from a PDF file in simple steps using JPedal PDF library.

Why use a third party library to handle PDF files?

PDF files are a very complex binary/text hybrid data structure. The data needs to be parsed and assembled from many sources to create the text in a PDF file.  In this example, we will use our JPedal PDF library to make this task simple.

Extract Unstructured Text from a PDF file

If a PDF contains unstructured, extractable text,  this API will allow it to be extracted from the page (Javadoc).

ExtractTextInRectangle extract=new ExtractTextInRectangle("C:/pdfs/mypdf.pdf");
 //extract.setPassword("password");
 if (extract.openPDFFile()) {
     int pageCount=extract.getPageCount();
     for (int page=1; page<=pageCount; page++) {
 
        String text=extract.getTextOnPage(page);
     }
 }
 
 extract.closePDFfile();

Extract Structured Text from a PDF file

If a PDF was correctly created with structured, extractable text, then this API will allow the text content to be extracted from the page as Structured content in a Java Document (Javadoc).

ExtractTextInRectangle extract=new ExtractTextInRectangle("C:/pdfs/mypdf.pdf");
 //extract.setPassword("password");
 if (extract.openPDFFile()) {
     int pageCount=extract.getPageCount();
     for (int page=1; page<=pageCount; page++) {
 
        String text=extract.getTextOnPage(page);
     }
 }
 
 extract.closePDFfile();

Extract Wordlist from a PDF file

Many customers use JPedal to pre-index the text content of their PDF files in a database. This API makes it easy to extract all the words from a PDF file with their text positions onscreen  (Javadoc).

ExtractTextAsWordlist extract=new ExtractTextAsWordlist("C:/pdfs/mypdf.pdf");
 //extract.setPassword("password");
 if (extract.openPDFFile()) {
      int pageCount=extract.getPageCount();
      for (int page=1; page<=pageCount; page++) {
 
        List wordList=extract.getWordsOnPage(page);
      } 
 }
 
 extract.closePDFfile();

Extract Document outline from  PDF files

PDF file often contain a Document outline to provide a Table of Contents (Javadoc).

ExtractOutline extract=new ExtractOutline("C:/pdfs/mypdf.pdf");
 //extract.setPassword("password");
 if (extract.openPDFFile()) {
     Document pdfOutline=extract.getPDFTextOutline();
 }
 
 extract.closePDFfile();



Do you need to work with PDF files in Java?

Java PDF SDK for working with PDF filesJava PDF SDK for working with PDF files

Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

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