How to Extract Text Coordinates for Specific Characters in a PDF Using PyMuPDF

Finding Character Positions in PDF Documents with PyMuPDF

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the process of locating the coordinates of specific text within a PDF document using the versatile Python library PyMuPDF. This tutorial aims to equip you with the skills needed to identify text positions accurately, enabling tasks such as text highlighting, data extraction based on location, and automation of document processing.

What You Will Learn

By the end of this tutorial, you will master the art of retrieving the position (coordinates) of given character ranges within a PDF file using PyMuPDF. We will cover fundamental concepts and provide a practical code example to solidify your understanding.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

Working with PDFs programmatically can pose challenges due to their intricate structure and varied formats. However, pinpointing text positions is crucial for tasks like data extraction and annotation. To tackle this challenge effectively, we turn to PyMuPDF (also known as fitz), a robust Python library that offers extensive functionalities for reading, writing, and manipulating PDF files.

The solution involves loading the target PDF into PyMuPDF and iterating through its pages to locate our desired text. For each instance of this text found, we extract its bounding box coordinates�a rectangle that encapsulates it. These coordinates serve as valuable assets for further processing or analysis tailored to your requirements.


import fitz  # Importing PyMuPDF

def find_text_coordinates(pdf_path, search_string):
    # Open the provided PDF file
    doc =

    results = []  # List to store results

    # Iterate through each page in the document
    for page_num in range(len(doc)):
        page = doc.load_page(page_num)

        # Search for occurrences of search_string on current page
        text_instances = page.search_for(search_string)

        # For each occurrence found...
        for inst in text_instances:
            coords = {'page': page_num+1,
                      'x0': inst[0], 'y0': inst[1],
                      'x1': inst[2], 'y1': inst[3]}

    return results

# Copyright PHD


The function find_text_coordinates accepts two parameters: pdf_path, which denotes the path to your target PDF file; and search_string, representing the characters you aim to locate within the document.

  • Loading Document: The process commences by opening our target document using
  • Iterating Pages: Each page is traversed using doc.load_page() method.
  • Searching Text: On every page, .search_for() method is employed on our page object with our search string input. This yields a list of rectangles (text_instances) where each rectangle corresponds to an occurrence of our search string.
  • Extracting Coordinates: For every identified instance (inst), a dictionary storing its bounding box’s coordinates (x0, y0, x1, y1) alongside its respective page number is created.

Subsequently, these dictionaries are appended into our result list which is returned upon function completion encompassing all instances’ locations across all pages.

  1. How do I install PyMuPDF?

  2. To install PyMuPDF, execute the following command:

  3. pip install pymupdf
  4. # Copyright PHD
  5. Can I highlight texts using these coordinates?

  6. Yes! Utilize these coordinates along with corresponding page numbers to highlight texts by drawing rectangles around them on their respective pages.

  7. Is there any limitation regarding font sizes or styles?

  8. No limitations exist concerning font size or style variations across documents�the process remains consistent as it focuses on locating rather than interpreting individual character appearances.

  9. Can I extract images based on their proximity to searched texts?

  10. Absolutely! Post obtaining positions of specific texts utilizing this method�you can explore surrounding areas including potential images near those specified locations for extraction purposes.

  11. Is it possible to modify extracted content directly from python code after finding its position?

  12. While direct content modification via coordinate retrieval alone isn’t supported�overlaying new contents atop existing ones could effectively “modify” perceivable content.

  13. Does order matter when specifying multiple words as my search string?

  14. Order specificity holds significant importance when defining multi-word searches as PyMuPDF searches exactly what�s provided without altering word sequences.

  15. Can I specify case sensitivity when searching?

  16. Certainly! The .search_for() method incorporates an argument allowing toggling case sensitivity based on user preference during searches.

  17. What formats does PyMuPDF support besides pdf?

  18. PyMuPDF extends support beyond just pdfs encompassing formats like XPS/OXPS/EPUB/CBZ/FictionBook/WebP offering versatility in document handling capabilities.

  19. Can I perform OCR operations through PyMUPDF?

  20. Direct OCR operations aren’t directly supported; however, integrating third-party OCR libraries alongside positional data acquired here can enhance data extraction endeavors significantly.

  21. How accurate are textual coordinates retrieved?

  22. Textual coordinate accuracy hinges largely upon underlying pdf structures ensuring precise positioning facilitating reliable usage scenarios especially within automated workflows.


This tutorial has elucidated how one can acquire textual positions within PDFs leveraging Python’s potent PyMUPDF library�a valuable skill set applicable across diverse scenarios ranging from annotations to advanced automated parsing projects!

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