How To: Convert PDF Files to Text in Mac OS X

Convert PDF Files to Text in Mac OS X

Automator is a built-in Mac utility found in Mac 10.4+ and can be used to convert a PDF file to text format.

Below is the process of converting a PDF file to text format.

  1. Launch Finder -> Applications -> and double-click on the Automator application to open.
  2. Choose the option ''Workflow".
  3. Drag the PDF you want to convert to text in the Automator interface.
  4. Use the search bar and type "text" for a quick search and select "Extract PDF Text" option.
  5. Hit the "Play" button to initiate the process.

Once the process is finished, a text file is generated containing all the PDF's text-based information.

4 Comments

Where does the text file that automator created end up?

The default preset in "Extract PDF text" is that the new file (with the extension .txt or .rtf, respectively) will be created in your desktop folder. You can change this preset in the "Extract PDF text" action - there is an option "Save Output to: ...".

Note that you should check the "Replace existing Files" box if you intend to run the workflow consecutively.

However, the above described procedure doesn't seem to work with all PDF files. In my opinion this must have something to do with Copyright issues.

Hopefully this was helpful.
gl :)

btw in cases you're not sure where your Automator output ends up simply add the "Reveal Finder Items" action to your workflow - a Finder window will then be opened with the output (if any ;) visible in its folder.

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