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tabula-java is a library for extracting tables from PDF files — it is the table extraction engine that powers Tabula (repo). You can use tabula-java as a command-line tool to programmatically extract tables from PDFs.

(This is the new version of the extraction engine; the previous code can be found at tabula-extractor.)

© 2014-2018 Manuel Aristarán. Available under MIT License. See LICENSE.


Download a version of the tabula-java's jar, with all dependencies included, that works on Mac, Windows and Linux from our releases page.

Usage Examples

tabula-java provides a command line application:

$ java -jar target/tabula-1.0.2-jar-with-dependencies.jar --help
usage: tabula [-a <AREA>] [-b <DIRECTORY>] [-c <COLUMNS>] [-d] [-f
       <FORMAT>] [-g] [-h] [-i] [-l] [-n] [-o <OUTFILE>] [-p <PAGES>] [-r]
       [-s <PASSWORD>] [-t] [-u] [-v]

Tabula helps you extract tables from PDFs

 -a,--area <AREA>           Portion of the page to analyze. Example: --area
                            269.875,12.75,790.5,561. Accepts
                            top,left,bottom,right i.e. y1,x1,y2,x2 where all
                            values are in points relative to the top left
                            corner. If all values are between 0-100
                            (inclusive) and preceded by '%', input will be
                            taken as % of actual height or width of the page.
                            Example: --area %0,0,100,50. To specify multiple
                            areas, -a option should be repeated. Default is
                            entire page
 -b,--batch <DIRECTORY>     Convert all .pdfs in the provided directory.
 -c,--columns <COLUMNS>     X coordinates of column boundaries where values
                            are in points and relative to the left of the
                            page. Example --columns 10.1,20.2,30.3
 -d,--debug                 Print detected table areas instead of
 -f,--format <FORMAT>       Output format: (CSV,TSV,JSON). Default: CSV
 -g,--guess                 Guess the portion of the page to analyze per
 -h,--help                  Print this help text.
 -i,--silent                Suppress all stderr output.
 -l,--lattice               Force PDF to be extracted using lattice-mode
                            extraction (if there are ruling lines
                            separating each cell, as in a PDF of an Excel
 -n,--no-spreadsheet        [Deprecated in favor of -t/--stream] Force PDF
                            not to be extracted using spreadsheet-style
                            extraction (if there are no ruling lines
                            separating each cell)
 -o,--outfile <OUTFILE>     Write output to <file> instead of STDOUT.
                            Default: -
 -p,--pages <PAGES>         Comma separated list of ranges, or all.
                            Examples: --pages 1-3,5-7, --pages 3 or
                            --pages all. Default is --pages 1
 -r,--spreadsheet           [Deprecated in favor of -l/--lattice] Force
                            PDF to be extracted using spreadsheet-style
                            extraction (if there are ruling lines
                            separating each cell, as in a PDF of an Excel
 -s,--password <PASSWORD>   Password to decrypt document. Default is empty
 -t,--stream                Force PDF to be extracted using stream-mode
                            extraction (if there are no ruling lines
                            separating each cell)
 -u,--use-line-returns      Use embedded line returns in cells. (Only in
                            spreadsheet mode.)
 -v,--version               Print version and exit.

It also includes a debugging tool, run java -cp ./target/tabula-1.0.2-jar-with-dependencies.jar technology.tabula.debug.Debug -h for the available options.

You can also integrate tabula-java with any JVM language. For Java examples, see the tests folder.

JVM start-up time is a lot of the cost of the tabula command, so if you're trying to extract many tables from PDFs, you have a few options for speeding it up:

  • the drip utility
  • the Ruby, Python, R, and Node.js bindings
  • writing your own program in any JVM language (Java, JRuby, Scala) that imports tabula-java.
  • waiting for us to implement an API/server-style system (it's on the roadmap)

Building from Source

Clone this repo and run:

mvn clean compile assembly:single


Interested in helping out? We'd love to have your help!

You can help by:

  • Reporting a bug.
  • Adding or editing documentation.
  • Contributing code via a Pull Request.
  • Spreading the word about tabula-java to people who might be able to benefit from using it.


You can also support our continued work on tabula-java with a one-time or monthly donation on OpenCollective. Organizations who use tabula-java can also sponsor the project for acknowledgement on our official site and this README.

Special thanks to the following users and organizations for generously supporting Tabula with donations and grants:

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation The Shuttleworth Foundation

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