PDF Text Extraction

PDF documents are rich in data. With the PDF text extraction tools from Visual Integrity, you can count on high-performance, accurate results with full Unicode support. Using our PDF Conversion SDK or PDF Conversion Server, you can unlock the valuable data in your PDF files:

  • Completely strip the text from white space, non-printing characters, etc
  • Extract text while preserving the placement of all characters on a page
  • Generate excepts or abstracts
  • Pull data from forms, invoices, statements and other workflow documents.
  • Define the data you want to extract based on a template
  • Automate text extraction using the command-line tool or API

Can formatted text be extracted?

When we think of formatting, we think of pretty fonts and well chosen colors. With plain text, “formatted” means that the characters are in certain positions on a page. That’s it. It’s also called layout-aware text extraction. There’s no bold, underline, italic or alignment. A few examples would be:

  • when text is printed on a check, the text must be in specific areas for the check to print accurately
  • when spreadsheets are saved as text, the data fits in columns based on character counts or delimiters like commas or tabs
  • if reports are converted to ASCII, the data should be in the correct tables
  • if a form is converted to text, the descriptions must align with corresponding fields for data

Is OCR used for Text Extraction?

OCR shouldn’t be used for text extraction unless you have a scanned document. In this case, it’s your only option. Although OCR has come a long way, there’s still room for error, especially if the original scan is poor quality.

Any computer-generated PDF file is a vector format. This means that it already includes all the searchable text and information about the characters and their layout. OCR would be a redundant step which reduces the quality of the results. Use tools like our PDF Conversion Server to extract the text directly from the PDF file. Working directly with the original PDF text increases accuracy and provides a true result.

If you need to extract text from a PDF file, please contact us to explore how we can help. Our tools are time-tested (25+ years!) and very robust.