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Examples of converting PDF to HTML using command-line

PDFTron's PDF2HTML is a command-line application designed to convert PDF documents to HTML files while preserving the contents of the PDF. This section covers the basic usage of PDF2HTML, explaining all of the available options.

linkBasic Syntax

The basic command-line syntax is:

pdf2html [options] -in inputfile -out outputfile

The '-in' parameter can be abbreviated as '-i', and the '-out' parameter can be abbreviated as '-o'.

If you are calling PDF2HTML from the console or a BAT file, you may use relative file names. However, if you are calling it from an application or a server, you should be using absolute file names.

See more options in Command-Line Summary for PDF2HTML.

linkGeneral Usage Examples

linkExample 1. The simplest command line: Convert PDF to HTML.


  • Converts 'my.pdf' to 'my.html' located in the current working folder.

pdf2html -in my.pdf -out my.html

linkExample 2. Convert PDF to a specific output file name.


  • The '-in' (or '-i') parameter is used to specify the input file. You can use relative and/or absolute file name.
  • The '-out' (or '-o') parameter is used to specify the output file. You can use relative and/or absolute file name.

pdf2html -in my.pdf -out myOut.html

linkExample 3. Convert PDF to HTM.


  • Use ".htm" as the file extension when specifying the output file name.

pdf2html -in my.pdf -out outHTM.htm

linkExample 4. Convert a password-protected PDF.


  • The '-password' parameter is used to specify the master password required to open the protected document.
  • The password provided must give unrestricted content extraction permissions.

pdf2html -password MyPDFPassword -in my.pdf -out myOut.html

linkExample 5. Convert specific pages in PDF.


  • The '-pages' parameter is used to specify which page(s) to convert.
  • You can specify a single page, e.g. '-pages 1' or a range of pages, e.g. '-pages 1-2'.

pdf2html -pages 1-2 -in my.pdf -out my.html

linkExample 6. Batch convert PDF files.


  • The '-in' (or '-i') parameter supports multiple input file names. Separate each input file name with a space.
  • Output files will be generated in the same folder as the input, e.g. 'a.html', 'b.html' and 'c.html'.
  • The number of input file names must match the number of output file names.
  • For Windows (not available for Linux and Mac), you can also use wildcards with the '-in' parameter and omitting the '-out' parameter to tell the application to auto-generate the output file names based on the input file names, e.g. 'pdf2html -in *.pdf'.

pdf2html -in a.pdf b.pdf c.pdf -out a.html b.html c.html

linkExit Codes

To provide additional feedback, PDF2HTML returns exit codes after completing processing. The exit codes can be used to provide user feedback, for logging, etc. This is particularly important for applications running in an unattended environment.

The following table lists possible exit codes and their descriptions:

Exit Code       Description
--------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------
0               All files converted successfully.
1               Invalid parameter. One or more parameters were invalid.
2               License problem. Invalid license; license or evaluation
                expired; the feature you are trying to use is not enabled with
                the license you have.
3               Cannot open input. Input file name is invalid; file does not
                exist; network is unavailable; drive was ejected; not enough
                permissions to access the input file.
4               Cannot create output. Output file name is invalid; network is
                unavailable; drive was ejected or full; another application has
                opened the same file; not enough permission to create the
                output file.
5               Invalid input. Input file exists, but it is invalid. Usually
                indicates an invalid or corrupt PDF, or any other input file
                parsing problem, other than password problems.
6               Invalid output. Output file was created, but it is invalid.
                There were some problems, such as fonts could not be embedded,
                some issues that make the output corrupt.
7               Encrypted input. Input file is encrypted, and there is no
                password, or the password is invalid, or the password does not
                give permission to complete the requested operation.
8               Timeout. The whole or part of the operation has timed out. You
                may get better luck by increasing the timeout, because some
                operations take a lot of time to complete.
9               Cancelled. The operation has been cancelled. This is very
                unlikely in an SDK, which has no user interaction.
10              Access denied. Temporary file could not be created; registry
                could not be accessed; any other system-level denial of access.
                Exception: If the input or output file cannot be accessed, the
                error codes 3 and 4 are used instead.
17              Invalid setup. The product is not set up correctly. Files or
                registry got corrupted. Please reinstall.
18              Out of memory. There was not enough memory to complete the
                operation. Note: It is not guaranteed that you get this error
                when you run out of memory. You could also get 19 - Internal
19              Internal error. Invalid operation; unknown error; crash; access
20              Page too large. PDF page is too large for HTML.

All codes other then '0' indicate that there was an error during the conversion process.

The following illustrates a sample Windows batch script that processes exit codes:

@echo off
rem convert my.pdf to my.html in the current working folder
pdf2html -in my.pdf -out my.html
if errorlevel 19 goto othererror
if errorlevel 3 goto inputerr
if errorlevel 0 goto exit

echo No input files specified.
goto exit

echo An error encountered during processing.
goto exit


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