I want to find specific text or word from PDF file and replace it with another text and make a new PDF file from command-line. I tried with sed, find, awk series on text files but I want to get on PDF file. Which command line utility will help me?


Use pdftk to uncompress the file, then edit via sed and finally recompress it.

pdftk input.pdf output uncompressed.pdf uncompress
sed -i 's/foo/bar/g' uncompressed.pdf
# uncompressed.pdf now has all the changes
pdftk uncompressed.pdf output changed.pdf compress

Of course any text in images cannot be changes like this.

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    Even uncompressed PDF does not produce text exactly as you see on the screen. I had to export from Acrobat Pro to Microsoft Word (Tool > Export), unzip the docx, then perform search & replace on document.xml directly. – Sun Oct 12 '18 at 21:15
  • the replaced word should be of the same length, otherwise it doesn't look good :) – Mateo Tibaquirá Jan 25 at 18:26

A possible solution could look like this...

You can convert pdf files to pure text files by using a couple of tools from the poppler-utils package.

It can be installed via:

sudo apt-get install poppler-utils

Convert pdf file to text file

pdftotext /home/USER/Desktop/test.pdf /home/USER/Desktop/test.txt

Now you're able to do the editing and replacing on your pdf file.

After that you can convert it back by using a package called cups-pdf OR text2pdf.

Might be not the perfect solution, but should do its work.

Hope this helps!

  • Will work for text-only pdfs. However, it will most likely ignore any formatting and ignore (thus remove) images. – FelixJN Jul 28 '16 at 6:13

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