Read PDF and Word DOC Files Using PHP

Reading PDF Files

To read PDF files, you will need to install the XPDF package, which includes "pdftotext." Once you have XPDF/pdftotext installed, you run the following PHP statement to get the PDF text:

copy$content = shell_exec('/usr/local/bin/pdftotext '.$filename.' -'); //dash at the end to output content

Reading DOC Files

Like the PDF example above, you’ll need to download another package. This package is called Antiword. Here’s the code to grab the Word DOC content:

copy$content = shell_exec('/usr/local/bin/antiword '.$filename);

The above code does NOT read DOCX files and does not (and purposely so) preserve formatting. There are other libraries that will preserve formatting but in our case, we just want to get at the text.

A special thank you to Jeremy Parrish for his help and insight with this task.

Leave a comment