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A Python binding to poppler-cpp

Project description

Python build and tests Code style: black


python-poppler is a Python binding to the poppler-cpp library. It allows to read, render, or modify PDF documents. More specifically, it currently allows to:

  • read an modify document meta data;
  • list and read embedded documents;
  • list the fonts used by the document;
  • search or extract text on a given page of the document;
  • render a page to a raw image;
  • get info about transitions effects between the pages;
  • read the table of contents of the document.

How to build

This package is currently distributed as source only, and is currently tested on Linux only. It requires poppler 0.62 or higher (but 0.87 or higher is recommended). I will provide a WIndows build once I figure out how to compile poppler for Windows.

You need poppler-cpp with headers, python (3.7 or 3.8) with headers, and cmake. On Arch linux, you need the poppler package. On Ubuntu, you need to install libpoppler-cpp-dev.

The whole build process is handled by the file.

For instance, to install in the current environment:

$ python install

This will compile the binary packages, and install the library.

Tests are run using tox:

$ tox

Building from Poppler sources

$ git clone
$ cd poppler
$ git checkout poppler-0.89.0
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake \
    -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
$ make
$ mkdir ../dist
$ make DESTDIR=../dist install

You can omit the git checkout step if you want to work on HEAD. Instead of using a custom DESTDIR, you could also install to /usr/local by omiting the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX option and using sudo make install to install it.

To compile python-poppler using a custom location for Poppler, set the env var POPPLER_DIR to the installation prefix you used. In our example, it would be something like:

$ export POPPLER_DIR=/path/to/poppler/dist
$ cd python-poppler
$ python bdist_wheel

To build the wheel, you need the wheel package, if not already installed. Alternatively, you could simply do python install, preferabily in a virtual environment.

You now need to tell the system where to find the Poppler shared libraries.

$ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/path/to/poppler/dist/usr/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
$ python
>>> import poppler
>>> poppler.version()
(0, 89, 0)


The package is installed as poppler. It follows the interface of poppler-cpp. Therefore, you can refer to the documentation of the C++ library.


from poppler import load_from_file, PageRenderer

pdf_document = load_from_file("sample.pdf")
page_1 = pdf_document.create_page(0)
page_1_text = page_1.text()

renderer = PageRenderer()
image = renderer.render_page(page_1)
image_data =

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