Xpdf and Pdftops (Version 3.00)

Running xpdf

Xpdf is an open source viewer for Portable Document Format (PDF) files. (These are also sometimes also called "Acrobat" files, from the name of Adobe's PDF software.) The Xpdf project also includes a PDF text extractor, PDF-to-PostScript converter, and various other utilities.

Xpdf runs under the X Window System on UNIX, VMS, and OS/2. The non-X components of the package (pdftops, pdftotext, etc.) also run on Win32 systems and should run on pretty much any system with a decent C++ compiler.

Xpdf is designed to be small and efficient. It can use Type 1, TrueType, or standard X fonts.


  • Man Pages: xpdf(1), xpdfrc(5), pdftops(1), pdftotext(1), pdfinfo(1), pdffonts(1), pdftoppm(1), pdfimages(1).

Running xpdf

To run xpdf, simply type:

% xpdf file.pdf

To generate a PostScript file, hit the "print" button in xpdf, or run pdftops:

% pdftops file.pdf

To generate a plain text file, run pdftotext:

% pdftotext file.pdf

There are four additional utilities (which are fully described in their man pages):

dumps a PDF file's Info dictionary (plus some other useful information)
lists the fonts used in a PDF file along with various information for each font
converts a PDF file to a series of PPM/PGM/PBM-format bitmaps
extracts the images from a PDF file

Command line options and many other details are described in the man pages (xpdf.1, etc.).

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