MATLAB Answers

Quickly Search Strings inside PDF files

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Michael B
Michael B on 11 Apr 2016
Answered: Sarah Palfreyman on 30 Apr 2018
I have ~25,000 PDF files that I want to classify based on the presence of keywords in their text. I know there's a PDF Toolbox that provides MATLAB with an interface for reading PDF text, but the fact that it comes from Sourceforge makes it difficult to obtain (this is for work) and the reliance on java seems to me like it would make the process very slow -especially for searching so many files. Is there a simpler, faster way to parse these documents if all I want to do is basically strfind on the text to check for keywords?
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Michael B
Michael B on 18 Apr 2016
@jgg: That's a good explanation. If you'd made this an official answer I'd accept it. Sounds like I'll have to figure out a clever way to get PDFBox on my work machine without breaking the rules...
@Walter Roberson: Thank you sir, that is tremendously helpful. You are truly a font of knowledge and support. I can only hope that one day I might possess a fraction of your wit.

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Accepted Answer

Jan
Jan on 11 Apr 2016
PDFs are designed to guarantee an equal output on different machines. You want to create a catalogue of the contained strings. These two jobs do not match.
What about converting the PDFs by one of the many pdf2text tools and work on the text files? E.g. http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf, http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/14170/Extract-Text-from-PDF-in-C-NET
  1 Comment
Michael B
Michael B on 18 Apr 2016
Since I have to parse 25,000 files, using an external converter really isn't a viable option unless it has batch capability. Alright, I guess there really isn't anything simpler than the PDFBox tool for a MATLAB interface. Thanks.

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