Converting PDF files to HTML

It's a shame that we don't still have a decent PDF reader in Linux, I was in need of a PDF reader that let me copy and paste without messing all the formatting (the Firefox PDF reader didn't worked well) and I didn't want to install a PDF reader with lots of dependencies, I like things simple, that's why I don't use any Desktop Environment, just i3-wm, simple applications, some scripts I've been made and other scripts that I find online.

I've tried XPDF, it's a decent PDF reader but the copy and paste operation is a little weird.

I was tired of PDF readers and I needed a solution, that's when I found poppler, it's a PDF renderer who let's you convert PDF files to other formats.

You can install poppler package in Arch Linux with pacman -S poppler.

I've made a simple script that uses poppler to convert the file to HTML, saves it in /tmp/<filename> and then opens it in your default browser.

#! /bin/bash
# Copyright (C) 2016 Bruno Jesus (aka strang3quark) <>
# Distributed under terms of the MIT license.

PDFFILE=$(basename $PDFPATH);

if [ "$2" == "--format" ]; then

mkdir /tmp/$PDFFILE;

pdftohtml -p $FORMAT $PDFPATH /tmp/$PDFFILE/index.html


The usage is very simple: myfile.pdf - this will remove all the weird formatting myfile.pdf --format - this will keep all the formatting

If you have some alternatives or suggestions please contact me.


This section is still in development.

If you want to share any thoughts drop me a line at