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catdoc(1) DragonFly General Commands Manual catdoc(1)
catdoc - reads MS-Word file and puts its content as plain text on
catdoc [-vlu8btawxV] [-m number] [ -s charset] [ -d charset] [ -f
catdoc behaves much like cat(1) but it reads MS-Word file and produces
human-readable text on standard output. Optionally it can use latex(1)
escape sequences for characters which have special meaning for LaTeX.
It also makes some effort to recognize MS-Word tables, although it
never tries to write correct headers for LaTeX tabular environment.
Additional output formats, such is HTML can be easily defined.
catdoc doesn't attempt to extract formatting information other than
tables from MS-Word document, so different output modes means mainly
that different characters should be escaped and different ways used to
represent characters, missing from output charset. See CHARACTER
catdoc uses internal unicode(4) representation of text, so it is able
to convert texts when charset in source document doesn't match charset
on target system. See CHARACTER SETS below.
If no file names supplied, catdoc processes its standard input unless
it is terminal. It is unlikely that somebody could type Word document
from keyboard, so if catdoc invoked without arguments and stdin is not
redirected, it prints brief usage message and exits. Processing of
standard input (even among other files) can be forced using dash '-' as
By default, catdoc wraps lines which are more than 72 chars long and
separates paragraphs by blank lines. This behavior can be turned of by
-w switch. In wide mode catdoc prints each paragraph as one long line,
suitable for import into word processors which perform word wrapping
-a - shortcut for -f ascii. Produces ASCII text as output.
Separates table columns with TAB
-b - process broken MS-Word file. Normally, catdoc checks if first
8 bytes of file is Microsoft OLE signature. If so, it processes
file, otherwise it just copies it to stdin. It is intended to
use catdoc as filter for viewing all files with .doc extension.
- specifies destination charset name. Charset file has format
described in CHARACTER SETS below and should have .txt
extension and reside in catdoc library directory (
/usr/local/share/catdoc ). By default, current locale charset
is used if langinfo support compiled in.
- specifies output format as described in CHARACTER
SUBSTITUTION below. catdoc comes with two output formats -
ascii and tex. You can add your own if you wish.
-l Causes catdoc to list names of available charsets to the stdout
and exit successfully.
Specifies right margin for text (default 72). -m 0 is
equivalent to -w
Specifies source charset. (one used in Word document), if Word
document doesn't contain UTF-16 text. When reading rtf
documents, it is typically not necessary, because rtf documents
contain ansicpg specification. But it can be set wrong by Word
(I've seen RTF documents on Russian, where cp1252 was
specified). In this case this option would take precedence over
charset, specified in the document. But source_charset
statement in the configuration file have less priority than
charset in the document.
-t - shortcut for -f tex
converts all printable chars, which have special meaning for
LaTeX(1) into appropriate control sequences. Separates table
columns by &.
-u - declares that Word document contain UNICODE (UTF-16)
representation of text (as some Word-97 documents). If catdoc
fails to correct Word document with default charset, try
-8 - declares is Word document is 8 bit. Just in case that catdoc
recognizes file format incorrectly.
-w disables word wrapping. By default catdoc output is splitted
into lines not longer than 72 (or number, specified by -m
option) characters and paragraphs are separated by blank
line. With this option each paragraph is one long line.
-x causes catdoc to output unknown UNICODE character as \xNNNN,
instead of question marks.
-v causes catdoc to print some useless information about word
document structure to stdout before actual start of text.
-V outputs catdoc version
When processing MS-Word file catdoc uses information about two
character sets, typically different
- input and output. They are stored in plain text files in catdoc
library directory. Character set files should contain two whitespace-
separated hexadecimal numbers - 8-bit code in character set and 16-bit
Unicode code. Anything from hash mark to end of line is ignored, as
well as blank lines.
catdoc distribution includes some of these character sets. Additional
character set definitions, directly usable by catdoc can be obtained
from ftp.unicode.org. Charset files have .txt suffix, which shouldn't
be specified in command-line or configuration files.
Note that catdoc is distributed with Cyrillic charsets as default. If
you are not Russian, you probably don't want it, an should reconfigure
catdoc at compile time or in runtime configuration file.
When dealing with documents with charsets other than default, remember
that Microsoft never uses ISO charsets. While letters in, say cp1252
are at the same position as in ISO-8859-1, some punctuation signs would
be lost, if you specify ISO-8859-1 as input charset. If you use cp1252,
catdoc would deal with those signs as described in CHARACTER
catdoc converts MS-Word file into following internal Unicode
1. Paragraphs are separated by ASCII Line Feed symbol (0x000A)
2. Table cells within row are separated by ASCII Field Separator symbol
3. Table rows are separated by ASCII Record Separator (0x001E)
4. All printable characters, including whitespace are represented with
respective UNICODE codes.
This UNICODE representation is subsequently converted into 8-bit text
in target character set using following four-step algorithm:
1. List of special characters is searched for given Unicode character.
If found, then appropriate multi-character sequence is output
instead of character.
2. If there is an equivalent in target character set, it is output.
3. Otherwise, replacement list is searched and, if there is multi-
substitution for this UNICODE char, it is output.
4. If all above fails, "Unknown char" symbol (question mark) is output.
Lists of special characters and list of substitution are character set-
independent, because special chars should be escaped regardless of
their existence in target character set (usually, they are parts of
US-ASCII, and therefore exist in any character set) and replacement
list is searched only for those characters, which are not found in
target character set.
These lists are stored in catdoc library directory in files with prefix
of format name. These files have following format:
Each line can be either comment (starting with hash mark) or contain
hexadecimal UNICODE value, separated by whitespace from string, which
would be substituted instead of it. If string contain no whitespace it
can be used as is, otherwise it should be enclosed in single or double
quotes. Usual backslash sequences like '\n','\t' can be used in these
Upon startup catdoc reads its system-wide configuration file (
/usr/local/etc/catdocrc ) and then user-specific configuration file
These files can contain following directives:
source_charset = charset-name
Sets default source charset, which would be used if no -s
option specified. Consult configuration of nearby windows
workstation to find one you need.
target_charset = charset-name
Sets default output charset. You probably know, which one you
charset_path = directory-list
colon-separated list of directories, which are searched for
charset files. This allows you to install additional charsets
in your home directory. If first directory component of path
is ~ it is replaced by contents of HOME environment variable.
On MS-DOS platform, if directory name starts with %s, it is
replaced with directory of executable file. Empty element in
list (i.e. two consequitve colons) is considered current
map_path = directory-list
colon-separated list of directories, which are searched for
special character map and replacement map. Same substitution
rules as in charset_path are applied.
format = format name
Output format which would be used by default. catdoc comes
with two formats - ascii and tex but nothing prevents you from
writing your own format (set two map files - special character
map and replacement map).
unknown_char = character specification
sets character to output instead of unknown Unicode character
(default '?') Character specification can have one of two form
- character enclosed in single quotes or hexadecimal code.
Enables or disables automatic selection of output charset
based on system locale settings (if enabled at compile time).
If automatic detection is enabled, than output charset settings
in the configuration files (but not in the command line) are
ignored, and current system locale charset is used instead.
There are no automatic choice of input charset, based of locale
language, because most modern Word files (since Word 97) are
Doesn't handle fast-saves properly. Prints footnotes as separate
paragraphs at the end of file, instead of producing correct LaTeX
commands. Cannot distinguish between empty table cell and end of table
xls2csv(1), cat(1), strings(1), utf(4), unicode(4)
MS-Word reader Version 0.94.2 catdoc(1)