Best way to extract text from a Word doc without using COM/automation?


Is there a reasonable way to extract plain text from a Word file that doesn’t depend on COM automation? (This is a a feature for a web app deployed on a non-Windows platform – that’s non-negotiable in this case.)

Antiword seems like it might be a reasonable option, but it seems like it might be abandoned.

A Python solution would be ideal, but doesn’t appear to be available.


I use catdoc or antiword for this, whatever gives the result that is the easiest to parse. I have embedded this in python functions, so it is easy to use from the parsing system (which is written in python).

import os

def doc_to_text_catdoc(filename):
    (fi, fo, fe) = os.popen3('catdoc -w "%s"' % filename)
    retval =
    erroroutput =
    if not erroroutput:
        return retval
        raise OSError("Executing the command caused an error: %s" % erroroutput)

# similar doc_to_text_antiword()

The -w switch to catdoc turns off line wrapping, BTW.

Answered By – codeape

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published