How to Convert a PDF file to text in Shell Script

Using the WhatsMate PDF-to-Text REST API

This article shows you how to extract text from an online PDF document using a shell script.

Here’s how:

  1. Copy the following source code to your script.
  2. Specify the URL of your online PDF document on line 9.
  3. Replace the Client ID and Secret on lines 4 and 5 if you have your own credentials.
  4. Make your script executable: chmod 755
  5. Run the script to see the result: ./

If your PDF file is larger than 1 MB, you will need to call the asynchronous API instead. See an example in Shell Script.

The trial account only allows you to call the PDF-to-Text API up to 20 times for learning purpose. Upgrade to a Premium plan to use the API seriously.

Want to extract PDF text in another programming language? Check out the PDF-to-Text API page.