How to Extract Text from PDFs (Free Tools Included )

By ComPDFKit | 2024 Mar 21
Data Extraction Conversion SDK

PDF has been the most commonly used document format for sharing and saving information in the modern digital world. However, there might be some requirements that need to extract text from PDFs, such as data analysis, data republishment, or for Large Language Models (LLMs). 


There are multiple methods to extract text from PDFs or scanned documents. In this article, we introduce three efficient ways to extract text from PDF files, catering to different preferences and needs: utilizing online free PDF tools, employing offline PDF software, and leveraging PDF data extraction SDKs for flexible integration in your own applications or systems. 


Method 1: Online PDF to Text Converters


When it comes to extracting text from PDFs online, there's a plethora of web-based tools available. These platforms offer features like converting PDFs to Word or text (TXT) formats, making the process hassle-free. Most importantly, they come with user-friendly interfaces, ensuring ease of operation.


Free Online PDF Tools


One notable example is ComPDFKit's online PDF tools. With ComPDFKit, there's no need to download any applications or register an account—all services are 100% free. Here's how simple it is to convert your PDFs to text:


Step 1: Upload: Select your files from your computer or simply drag and drop them into the converter.


Step 2: Convert: Customize any additional properties like allowing OCR  if needed, then click the "Convert" button. The conversion process will commence instantly, requiring only a moment of your time.


Step 3: Download: Once the conversion is complete, download your converted files with ease.


pdf to txt online conversion - before and after


You have a range of options when it comes to selecting the desired output format using PDF tools. For example, if you need to save text as Word format, simply utilize the PDF to Word tool. Alternatively, for text saved in TXT format, the PDF to TXT tool serves the purpose. Moreover, ComPDFKit also provides a PDF to JSON tool for those requiring JSON format output. 


Online PDF Extract Tool


Please be aware that currently, ComPDFKit's online PDF to JSON tool provides options for text-only or table-only conversion but does not support extracting images separately. However, if you require simultaneous extraction of text, tables, and images, you can utilize ComPDFKit's PDF Extract Demo. The process is incredibly simple:


Step 1: Upload your PDFs, and the tool will automatically process data extraction.


Step 2: Save the extracted data in your desired format.


PDF extract Demo - pdf to json


With a straightforward registration process, you can extract up to 1,000 documents per month for free. This tool not only supports regular PDFs but also excels in extracting text from scanned PDFs with highly accurate OCR capabilities.


Method 2: Offline PDF Software for Text Extraction


Offline PDF software offers another convenient method for extracting text from PDF files, providing both basic and advanced options for users. Here's how you can extract text using offline PDF software:


Copy and Paste Method


1. Open your preferred PDF reader or editor, such as PDF Reader Pro.


2. Open the PDF document containing the text you want to extract.


3. Select the desired text by clicking and dragging over it.


4. Right-click on the selected text and choose the "Copy" option.


5. Open a text editor or word processing software, like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.


6. Paste the copied text into the text editor by right-clicking and choosing the "Paste" option or using the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+V" (or "Command+V" on Mac).


This method is suitable for extracting small amounts of text or when the PDF file lacks formatting issues. It's ideal for tasks without frequent or routine text-extraction needs.


Advanced PDF Converter Features:


1. Open the PDF document with your PDF software, such as PDF Reader Pro.


2. Look for the "PDF to Text" or similar options within the software, typically found under the "Tools" or "Converter" menu.


3. Click on the conversion option and specify any additional settings if available, such as output format or page range.


4. Initiate the conversion process and wait for the software to extract the text from the PDF file.


5. Once the conversion is complete, save the extracted text as a separate text file or copy-paste it into a text editor for further use.


Conversion software provides a more reliable and accurate extraction method, particularly for complex or multi-page PDF documents. However, they lack automation capabilities for routine or complex text-extraction processes and cannot streamline workflows effectively.


Method 3: Extract Text with PDF SDK


For those comfortable with programming, ComPDFKit offers a PDF data extraction SDK tailored for developers to seamlessly integrate into their applications or systems. This SDK facilitates the automatic extraction of text from PDF documents, enabling further data analysis, utilization in Large Language Models (LLMs), or other purposes. 


ComPDFKit PDF data extraction SDK is compatible with various platforms, including Windows, Mac, Web, Android, iOS, and Server. Moreover, it provides multiple PDF libraries such as C++, Java, Python, and PHP, ensuring versatility across different programming environments.


pdf to json


Integrating ComPDFKit and extracting text from PDF documents is straightforward, requiring just a few simple steps:


Step 1: Create a New Project and Install ComPDFKit PDF Library:


Begin by creating a new project in your preferred development environment.


Install the ComPDFKit PDF library by following the provided installation instructions tailored for your chosen platform and programming language.


Step 2: Apply the License:


Obtain the necessary license for ComPDFKit PDF SDK and apply it within your project. This step ensures proper authorization to utilize the SDK's functionality.


Step 3: Implement Text Extraction Code:


Utilize the ComPDFKit PDF library to implement several lines of code for extracting text from PDF documents.


For example, here is a sample to extract text content from a PDF using C++.


ConvertOptions opt;
// Extract PDF Text.
PDFToOffice::StartExtractPDFText("text.pdf", "password", "path/output", opt, progress);


Here is a sample to extract text content from a PDF using Python.


options = ConvertOptions()
error_code = PDFToOffice.start_extract_pdf_text("sample.pdf", "", "path/to/output", options, callback)
if error_code == ErrorCode.Success:
    print("Convert success")


Depending on the programming language and platform, the code may vary slightly, but ComPDFKit offers comprehensive documentation and examples to guide developers through the process.


By following these easy steps, developers can seamlessly integrate ComPDFKit PDF SDK into their projects and leverage its capabilities to extract text from PDF documents efficiently. Whether for data analysis, integration with LLMs, or any other application, ComPDFKit simplifies the extraction process and empowers developers to enhance their applications with PDF data extraction functionality.




This post has outlined various methods for extracting text from PDFs, catering to different needs. For quick extraction of small amounts of text, simple methods like copy and paste suffice. However, for handling large volumes of files, online PDF tools or converter software offer practical solutions. For seamless automation and workflow streamlining, we recommend integrating a PDF SDK like ComPDFKit into your applications or systems.


ComPDFKit provides comprehensive PDF SDK solutions for developers, enabling extensive manipulation and creation capabilities. From editing content to converting files, extracting data, applying digital signatures, and filling forms, ComPDFKit simplifies complex PDF tasks.


Whether you're a developer crafting enterprise solutions or aiming to streamline document workflows, ComPDFKit empowers you to focus on delivering high-quality applications while leveraging the full capabilities of the PDF format. Contact us now to get a free licensey key!