How to Extract Text From PDF in Python

Updated July 4, 2023

PDF (Portable Document Format)

PDF is a widely used file format for presenting and exchanging documents across different platforms and devices. These files preserve the layout, formatting, fonts, and images of a document, making them ideal for sharing documents while ensuring their integrity and consistency. PDFs are commonly used for a variety of purposes, including business reports, e-books, invoices, legal documents, user manuals, and more.

However, working with the content of PDF files programmatically can be challenging due to the complexity of the format. There are various popular python libraries available and one of them is IronPDF, a powerful Python library.

In this article, we will learn how to extract all the text from PDF files using IronPDF in Python, and provide you with the knowledge and the python code snippets to accomplish this task efficiently.

IronPDF - Python Library

IronPDF for Python is a powerful Python PDF library that allows developers to extract text from PDF documents. With IronPDF, you can automate the data extraction part of textual content from PDF files, making it easier to process data from and analyze the information contained within PDF documents.

IronPDF provides Python programmers with the ability to manipulate, extract data from, and interact with PDF files using Python, making it easier to automate various PDF-related tasks. Whether you need to generate PDFs, modify existing PDFs, extract data from content extracting images, or perform other PDF operations, IronPDF simplifies the process with its intuitive API and powerful capabilities.

Key Features

Some features of the IronPDF Python library include:

  • Creating PDF files from scratch
  • Editing existing PDF files
  • Extracting text and images from PDF files
  • Converting PDF files to other formats
  • Securing PDF files with passwords and permissions


Before proceeding with text extraction using IronPDF, ensure that you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. Python Installation: Make sure you have Python installed on your system. IronPDF is compatible with Python 3.x versions, so ensure that you have a compatible Python installation.
  2. IronPDF Library: Install the IronPDF library using pip, the Python package manager. Open your command-line interface and execute the following command:

     pip install ironpdf

    Note: Python must be added to the PATH environment variable, in order to use pip commands.

  3. Integrated Development Environment (IDE): While not strictly necessary, using an IDE can greatly enhance your development experience. It provides features like code completion, debugging, and a more streamlined workflow. One popular IDE for Python development is PyCharm. You can download and install PyCharm from the JetBrains website
  4. Text Editor: Alternatively, if you prefer to work with a lightweight text editor, you can use any text editor of your choice, such as Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, or Atom. These editors provide syntax highlighting and other useful features for Python development. You can also use python's own IDLE App.

Creating a Python Project using PyCharm

After installing PyCharm IDE, create a PyCharm python project by following the below steps:

  1. Launch PyCharm: Open PyCharm from your system's application launcher or desktop shortcut.
  2. Create a New Project: Click on "Create New Project" or Open an existing Python project.

    How to Convert PDF to Text in Python (Tutorial): Figure 1

  3. Configure Project Settings: Provide a name for your project and choose the location to create the project directory. Select the Python interpreter for your project. Then click "Create".

    How to Convert PDF to Text in Python (Tutorial): Figure 2

  4. Create Source Files: PyCharm will create the project structure, including a main Python file and a directory for additional source files. Start writing code and click the run button or press Shift+F10 to execute the script.

Extracting Text from PDF in Python using IronPDF

Now let's dive into the steps involved in extracting plain text from PDF files using IronPDF in Python programming language.

Import the Required Libraries

To begin, import the necessary libraries in your Python script. In this case, we need to import the IronPDF library, which provides the functionality for working with PDF files.

import ironpdf

Set the License Key

In order to extract full text from a PDF file using IronPDF, we need to have IronPDF licensed. Apply the license or trial key using following command:

# Apply your license key
License.LicenseKey = "YOUR-LICENSE-KEY-HERE"

Note: Without a license key, IronPDF extracting data is restricted to few characters only from the PDF extension file. Obtain a license key by purchasing IronPDF or by signing up for a free trial.

Load the PDF Document

Next, load the PDF file using the document using the PdfDocument.FromFile() method from IronPDF. Provide the path to the PDF file as the argument to this method. This will load the PDF file into a PdfDocument object.

pdf = ironpdf.PdfDocument.FromFile("path/to/your/pdf_file.pdf")

Input File

To extract text from input PDF file print it on screen, the following document is used:

How to Convert PDF to Text in Python (Tutorial): Figure 3

Extract Text from PDF files

Once the PDF document is loaded, you can extract the text content using the ExtractText method. This method returns the extracted text as a string.

text = pdf.ExtractText()

Process and Utilize the Extracted Text

Now that you have extracted the text from the PDF, you can process and utilize it according to your requirements. You can perform tasks such as parsing the text, analyzing it, storing it in a database, or using it for further data processing.

# Process and utilize the extracted text
# Perform other operations with the extracted text


How to Convert PDF to Text in Python (Tutorial): Figure 4

Extract Text from Specific Page in PDF File

IronPDF also provides a convenient method to extract text from specific pages within a PDF file. In this section, we will explore how to extract text from a specific page using the ExtractTextFromPage method provided by IronPDF.

The following code demonstrates how to extract text from a specific page:

# Extract text from specific page in the document
page_2_text = pdf.ExtractTextFromPage(1)

In the above sample code, pdf represents the PdfDocument object obtained after loading the PDF document. The ExtractTextFromPage() method is used to extract text from a specific page when reading PDFs, indicated by the page index passed as an argument. In this case, we are extracting text from the second page or page number 2, which corresponds to page index 1.

How to Convert PDF to Text in Python (Tutorial): Figure 5


In this article, we explored how to extract text from PDF files using IronPDF in Python. We covered the necessary steps, including importing the required library or libraries, loading the PDF document, extracting the text content, and processing the extracted text.

With IronPDF's powerful text extraction capabilities, you can automate the extraction and further processing of text from PDFs, enabling you to process and analyze the textual information within PDF documents easily. Its intuitive API and extensive capabilities make it an ideal choice for a wide range of PDF-related tasks in Python development.

IronPDF is free for development purposes, but it needs to be licensed for commercial use. To use it in production mode for testing, obtain a free trial. Download and install the latest version of IronPDF Python and give it a try.

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