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How to extract text from a PDF using PDFKit

Swift version: 5.4

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

PDFKit comes with a built-in class called PDFDocument, which allows us to load and parse PDF documents. It’s used when you want to put your PDF into a PDFView, but it’s also useful when you just want to read text from the PDF: you can loop over each page in the PDF, read its attributedString property, then append it to an attributed string containing all the text from the PDF.

First, add import PDFKit in the Swift file you’re using, then add the following example code to read out the text contents of a file:

if let pdf = PDFDocument(url: yourDocumentURL) {
    let pageCount = pdf.pageCount
    let documentContent = NSMutableAttributedString()

    for i in 0 ..< pageCount {
        guard let page = pdf.page(at: i) else { continue }
        guard let pageContent = page.attributedString else { continue }
        documentContent.append(pageContent)
    }
}

It’s an attributed string, so it will retain formatting from the PDF as best as it can.

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