PHP Classes


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  Classes of Christian Vigh   PHP PDF to Text   Download  
Role: Auxiliary data
Content type: text/markdown
Description: Auxiliary data
Class: PHP PDF to Text
Extract text contents from PDF files
Author: By
Last change: Updated for version 1.6.1
Date: 7 years ago
Size: 6,983 bytes


Class file image Download


I wanted to warmly thank a whole bunch of people here that helped me to enhance my PdfToText class. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do, but without their help, I could not have achieved anything reliable.


My first thanks go to the following people :

  • The people at Adobe who wrote the Pdf File format reference (I used version 1.7 of this reference, available here : As for all specifications and standards, it leaves room for ambiguity, but this is a high quality document that every people concerned with PDF issues should read first (well, as far as you can spen enough time to walk through the 1300 pages that this document contains...)
  • The site, which allowed me to publish this class and provided me with a medium to help new users of my class to solve issues
  • The "unknown developer" ; when I have been asked for the first time at work to extract text from pdf files, I have been provided with the code referenced here : contributions/pdftotext.php. I don't know who this developer is (the source code did not contain any name), but I would like to really thank him, because his works were able to rapidly give me some knowledge of the PDF file format. Although I developed my class my own way, I borrowed from him the decodeAsciiHex and decodeAscii85 functions.
  • I also would like to thank Adeel Ahmad Khan whose works gave me further understanding of the Pdf file format (
  • The author of the TCPDF package


When I first published the PdfToText class on the site, I already knew that it was not able to handle all the possible situations. The Pdf file format is so versatile that I could not get enough samples to check my class against them.

This is why I clearly asked users to send me sample Pdf files whenever they encountered issues on them, to help me enhance my class ; and every user played the game, so I would like to thank the following people, in completely random order (and hoping that I did not miss anyone of them...) :

  • Pawel Lancucki and Blaine Hilton, who helped me to document more precisely on the fact that the class required a PHP version greater or equal to 5.5
  • Stephen Layton, who provided me with samples and actively tested my new versions
  • Theodis Butler, who also provided me with samples and helped me solve some issues
  • Rafael Rojas Torres, who gave me the idea of handling password-protected pdf files. Although not yet implemented, this definitely is on my roadmap.
  • Rolf Kellner , who had issues with unicode translations on far-east and middle-east languages. I have not yet solved them, but I'm still working on it !
  • Yuri Kadeev, who had issues with data presented in tabular format. I won't be able to solve all of them, but it helped me a lot to solve issues presented by other users.
  • Steve Majors, from, who gave me several samples to work on and even provided me with an access to his bug-tracking system. He also gave me the idea to implement PDF form data extraction.
  • Antonio J¨nior, who gave me a sample using text images encoded in a format I did not handle yet ; still under work...
  • Tom Perro and the user named srizoophari, because they gave me the idea of implementing some features which allow for searching text page by page (and handle page contents separately, instead of a single block of text)
  • Shishant Todi, who gave me pdf samples built in a very strange way. I'm still working on them !
  • Menny Grossmann, for yet another way to write pdf files in tabular format
  • Carin Pretorius, who sent me samples with the biggest character maps I've ever seen
  • Rolf Mast, who sent me samples that (finally) did not use character maps and allowed me to solve more easily a few bugs in the way I was parsing text drawing instructions
  • Rajnish Tatiwala who, among other things, sent me my first sample containing objects encoded with the CCITT FAX standard.
  • Jocemar Varela, who sent me samples that were generated using OCR software
  • Aryan Schmitz, who tried to port the PdfToText class to a system running PHP 5.2. This successful attempt led to long and detailed support exchanges, where I really appreciated his proactivity.
  • Francisco Godoy, who sent me a PDF sample which was enough simple to help me solve a long-time issue I had with PDF files using inline "templates"
  • Patryk, from, who helped me to handle font aliases that are local to a page by providing me with samples easy enough to investigate ; the same samples also helped me to start an experimental support of CID fonts.
  • DL, from, who suggested me to give the option of saving images on-the-fly without storing them into memory, and who gave me samples that helped me to process more cases during image extraction.
  • Kis Balazs, who gave me a sample which helped me understand why sometimes certain accentuated characters where incorrectly translated.
  • Massimo Baglione, who sent me sample covering various artistic domains, and helped me identify and correct
  • Aldo Mariussi, which supplied me a 1-page sample that helped me enhance the way 2-bytes character sequences are decoded when specified between parentheses
  • Jens Kirk and Roshayne Jaimon, who sent me samples containing compound objects, which incited me to entirely review the way I was handling them. As a side-effect, this new way of handling PDF objects solved as a miracle 3 other bugs !
  • Youen Toupin, with a sample containing embedded binary images in regular PDF object streams, which is a feature I was not aware of
  • Javier Diez, who submitted a sample created by Quark XPress and helped me solve basic problems not seen so far
  • Thomas Bourgeois, who sent me a very comprehensive set of small PDF samples showing issues, some of them were existing for long
  • Rob Webster, who sent me my first sample using the LZW compression algorithm
  • Darren Jett for his support in helping me to start implementing page layout rendering
  • Manuel Osuna, who gave me the idea of defining text capture areas inside a PDF file
  • Luis Manuel Reyes, who submitted me samples that helped me improve text layout rendering
  • Piotr Markowski, who gave me links to thousands of documents written in Polish, which helped me to considerably enhance my character maps
  • And much more...

Although I did not solved all the issues yet, I would like to thank you all for your contributions and your help !