How To Convert PDF To Ascii


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How To Convert PDF To Ascii

Overview of Converting PDF to ASCII

Converting a PDF to ASCII text involves transforming the content within a PDF file into plain text characters that are part of the ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) set. ASCII is a character encoding standard for electronic communication, representing text in computers and other devices that use text. This conversion is particularly useful for extracting readable text from PDFs for use in text editors, coding environments, or terminal interfaces where rich formatting is not needed or supported.

Benefits of Converting PDF to ASCII

  • Universality: ASCII text files can be opened and edited with virtually any text editor across different operating systems.
  • Lightweight: ASCII files are generally smaller in size compared to PDFs, which makes them easier to handle and quicker to load.
  • Searchability: Plain text files are easily searchable, allowing for quick data retrieval without the need for specialized software.
  • Compatibility: ASCII is highly compatible with programming environments, making it suitable for including text in code or scripting contexts.

Preparing to Convert Your PDF to ASCII

Before you begin the conversion process, make sure you have the necessary tools. You’ll need access to a PDF file and a conversion tool or software that can extract text from a PDF and save it as an ASCII text file. There are various online converters, command-line utilities, and desktop applications available for this purpose. Choose a method that suits your needs and ensure your PDF file does not contain sensitive information if using an online converter.

How to Convert PDF to ASCII Text

Step 1: Choose a Conversion Tool

Select an appropriate tool or software that can convert PDF files to plain ASCII text. Options include online converters like Zamzar or Convertio, desktop applications such as Adobe Acrobat, or command-line tools like pdftotext in Linux.

Step 2: Upload Your PDF File

Using your chosen tool, upload the PDF file you wish to convert. For online tools, this typically involves clicking a “Upload” button and selecting the file from your device. For desktop applications, you may need to open the file within the program.

Step 3: Convert the PDF to ASCII Text

Initiate the conversion process by selecting the option to convert the PDF to text. For online tools, look for a “Convert” button. Desktop applications may have an “Export” or “Save As” feature where you can select plain text as the output format.

Step 4: Download or Save the ASCII Text File

Once the conversion is complete, download the resulting ASCII text file to your device. Online services typically provide a download link, while desktop applications will allow you to save the file directly.

Step 5: Verify the Conversion

Open the converted text file in a text editor to ensure that the content has been correctly converted into ASCII format. Check for any conversion errors or formatting issues that may need correction.

Troubleshooting Conversion Issues

  • If the text is garbled or contains strange characters, it may be due to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) errors in scanned documents.
  • Complex layouts and embedded images in the original PDF can lead to formatting problems in the converted text.
  • If using command-line tools, ensure that you have the correct permissions and syntax to execute the conversion commands.


Converting a PDF to ASCII format is a straightforward process when using the right tools. By following these steps, you can extract text from your PDFs and create versatile, lightweight ASCII files suitable for various applications.

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