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A more complete example of programming with PDFMiner, which continues where the default documentation stops
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PDFMiner (http://www.unixuser.org/~euske/python/pdfminer/index.html) is a pdf parsing library written in Python by Yusuke Shinyama. In addition to the pdf2txt.py and dumppdf.py command line tools, there is a way of analyzing the content tree of each page programmatically. This is a more complete example of programming with PDFMiner, which continues where the default documentation (http://www.unixuser.org/~euske/python/pdfminer/programming.html#layout) stops. This code is still a work-in-progress, with room for improvement. Usage: import layout_scanner and call get_toc() for a list of the table of contents, and get_pages() for the full text. Here are some examples using the Python shell: >>> import layout_scanner >>> toc=layout_scanner.get_toc('/path/to/your/pdf-file.pdf') >>> len(toc) ... should return the number of elements in the pdf document's table of contents (or 0 if there is no TOC) >>> toc ... a tuple containing the ordinal sequence and the title string, for example: (1, u'Introduction') >>> pages=layout_scanner.get_pages('/path/to/your/pdf-file.pdf') >>> len(pages) ... should return the number of pages in the pdf document >>> pages ... a string of all the text on the first page Room for Improvement * Column Merging - while the fuzzy heuristic I described works well for the pdf files I've parsed so far, I can imagine more complex documents where it would break-down (perhaps this is where the analysis should be more sophisticated, and not ignore so many types of pdfminer.layout.LT* objects). * Image Extraction - I'd like to be able to be at least as good as pdftoimages, and save every file in ppm or pnm default format, but I'm not sure what I could be doing differently * Title and Heading Capitalization - this seems to be an issue with PDFMiner, since I get similar results in using the command line tools, but it is annoying to have to go back and fix all the mis-capitalizations manually, particularly for larger documents. * Title and Heading Fonts and Spacing - a related issue, though probably something in my own code, is that those same title and paragraph headings aren't distinguished from the rest of the text. In many cases, I have to go back and add vertical spacing and font attributes for those manually. * Page Number Removal - originally, I thought I could just use a regex for an all-numeric value on a single physical line, but each document does page numbering slightly differently, and it's very difficult to get rid of these without manually proofreading each page. * Footnotes - handling these where the note and the reference both appear on the same page is hard enough, but doing it when they span different (even consecutive) pages is worse.