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I was just wondering if there is a way to display content of a PDF file inside terminal, just like doing less file.txt but with PDF files.

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3 Answers 3

There are tools that allow to extract text from PDF files (Google for it) but IMHO there are cases where this will simply be not possible (imagine a PDF that contains only images).

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You can use less to view pdf text in terminal. It works quite well but garbles do happen.

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At least use strings filename.pdf | less –  Kevin Panko Jan 6 '14 at 20:26
That won't work at all if the streams are compressed. –  Dennis Jan 6 '14 at 20:32

The program pdftotext, which comes as a part of xpdf, can convert a PDF to text. There is also a program called lesspipe, which can be set as a preprocessor for less so that if you have pdftotext or something like it installed, you can just use less with PDF (and many other types of files).

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