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Last active December 20, 2021 21:03
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Extracts annotations and highlighted passages in all .pdf files in a folder recursively and outputs them as text files with the same name and modification date
#!/usr/bin/env python
# see
myxkfolder="/home/steve/xk/" #you need to set this to where you want your to-dos to appear
import poppler, os.path, os, time, datetime
for root, dirs, files in os.walk('./'):
for lpath in files:
fullpath=os.path.realpath(os.path.join(root, lpath))
# print("Opening: ..."+fullpath)
## check if size is not less than 0 bytes
## needs to be TOLOWER
if lpath.endswith('.pdf') :#& os.stat(fullpath).st_size>0:
path = 'file://%s' % fullpath
# print("Found PDF:..."+fullpath)
# print "Size: ... "+os.stat(fullpath).st_size
doc = poppler.document_new_from_file(path, None)
print "some pdf problem"
pages = [doc.get_page(i) for i in range(doc.get_n_pages())]
for page_no, page in enumerate(pages):
items = [i.annot.get_contents() for i in page.get_annot_mapping()]
items = [i for i in items if i]
for j in items:
# print "Found annotation: ... " + j
print path
j = j.replace("\r\n"," ")
j = j.replace("\r\n"," ")
x= x+"\n\n"+"'%s' (page %s)" % (j,page_no + 1)
# print xk
if "xk" in j:
#xk= xk+"\n\n"+"'%s' (page %s)" % (j,page_no + 1)
print j
g = open(myxkfolder+j+" "+lpath+" p. "+str(page_no)+'.txt', 'w')
if x!='':
f = open(os.path.splitext(fullpath)[0]+'.annotations.txt', 'w')
os.utime(os.path.splitext(fullpath)[0]+'.annotations.txt', (mtime,mtime))
# This is based on code from Marwan Alsabbagh,, thanks
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Hey, zotfile developer here. Does this also extract highlighted text? Just curious because I am always looking for other implementations that also extract highlighted text and they are pretty rare.
Thanks for the useful script!

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yes it usually extracts highlighted texts but it depends on the application used to make the highlights, I think, and also some other factors like the weather I think.

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I'm not a python person but based on the errors I'm getting, the script may need updating for Python3 and/or Ubuntu 20:

  • the print commands fail because they don't have parenthesis (but making this change results in no output)
  • complains about missing poplar (I was about to research how to install poplar/add poplar module/whatever but then I hit the next error)
  • complains about missing sys (hunh?! ... that sounds like a default install... WHAT!?)

I'm not sure if this a bug report or a complaint about how some scripting languages are often not functional without additional work that entails becoming a minor expert in setup of said scripting language before it will so much as output hello world.

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