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Is there a command line program for linux that will let me read the text of PDFs? I'll willing to live with a lack of pictures.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

There are several pdf2text tools in Ubuntu. For example, the poppler-utils package contains /usr/bin/pdftotext.

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Howto Open a PDF file under Linux / FreeBSD (lower part of article give you the options you are looking for)

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zathura is the tool you are looking for =>

For Ubuntu and Arch Linux, just use the package management tools apt-get install zathura or pacman -S zathura to install.

To view PDF in CLI/Terminals, just run zathura /path/to

NOTE: zathura depends on x11 client libraries, it cannot run without them. So if you ssh to a remote host and run zathura on it, you'll have to do X11 Forwarding (which means you need to run a X Server - Ubuntu Desktop will do).

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One can use less PDFFILE.pdf, which shows the text of the pdf. It requires pdftotext from xpdf. I think it works pretty well for pdf's with a lot of text.

Also if you want to be able to see the actual pdf file (in low quality) you can use the fbi, the linux framebuffer imageviewer.

sudo fbi PDFFILE.pdf

Small problem is that it needs root privileges.

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