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6. Dynamic PDF > 80. Decipher and Navigate PDF at the Text Level

Decipher and Navigate PDF at the Text Level

Turn obfuscated PDF code into transparent data so you can work with it directly.

PDF uses an element framework for organizing data. When editing PDFs at the text level, it helps to know how to navigate these nodes. The data itself usually is compressed and unreadable. pdftk [Hack #79] can uncompress these streams, making the PDF more interesting to read and much more hackable.

First, uncompress your PDF document using pdftk:

            pdftk   
            output   
            uncompress

Next, fire up your text editor. A good text editor enables you to inspect any document at its lowest level by reading its bytes right off of the disk. Not all text editors can handle the mix of human-readable text and machine-readable binary data that PDF contains. Other editors can read and display this data, but they can’t write it properly. I recommend using gVim [Hack #82] .


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