How to Extract PDF Text with cURL

Learn how to use pdfRest Extract Text API Tool with cURL to extract all text from a PDF
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Why Extract PDF Text with cURL?

The pdfRest Extract Text API Tool is a powerful feature that allows users to programmatically extract text from PDF documents. This tutorial will guide you through the process of sending an API call to the Extract Text endpoint using cURL, which is a versatile command-line tool used for transferring data with URLs. Utilizing cURL for API interactions is common among developers because of its simplicity and wide support across various platforms.

You might need to extract text from a batch of PDF files to analyze the content, automate data entry tasks, or migrate information to a different format. For instance, a legal firm could use the Extract Text API to extract text from a large number of legal documents for case analysis or to search for specific terms within those documents. This can save hours of manual work and increase productivity.

Extract PDF Text with cURL Code Example

curl -X POST "" \
  -H "Accept: application/json" \
  -H "Content-Type: multipart/form-data" \
  -H "Api-Key: xxxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx" \
  -F "file=@/path/to/file"

This code is sourced from the pdf-rest-api-samples repository on GitHub.

Breaking Down the Code

The cURL command provided is used to interact with the pdfRest Extract Text API. Let's break down each part of the command:


This specifies the HTTP method for the request, which is POST in this case, indicating that data will be sent to the server.


This is the URL of the API endpoint that triggers the Extract Text function.

-H "Accept: application/json"

This header tells the server that the client expects a response in JSON format.

-H "Content-Type: multipart/form-data"

This header indicates that the data being sent in the request is multipart form data, which is typically used for file uploads.

-H "Api-Key: xxxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx"

Here you need to replace the placeholder with your actual API key. This key is used to authenticate the client making the request.

-F "file=@/path/to/file"

This is the form field that contains the file data. The '@' symbol indicates that the following string is a file path, and you should replace "/path/to/file" with the actual file path of the PDF you want to extract text from.

Beyond the Tutorial

By following the steps above, you have learned how to make a multipart API call to the pdfRest Extract Text endpoint using cURL. This allows you to programmatically extract text from PDF documents, which can be a stepping stone to further automation and integration within your projects or workflows.

To explore more capabilities and demo all of the pdfRest API Tools, visit the API Lab. For a comprehensive understanding of the pdfRest API, refer to the API Reference Guide.

Note that this is an example of a multipart API call. For code samples using JSON payloads, you can find them at the pdf-rest-api-samples repository on GitHub.

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