Suppose I have a pdf copy of the beamer presentation and would like to get the texcode for it with out retyping it as it is quite long, is there a possibility of being able to get the tex code from the saved pdf or is this impossible ? I am not looking for something that includes a page using include page package as I would like to make new points for example.

Thanks and please let me know if there are ambiguities.

  • 12
    It's like getting the apples back from an apple pie, I'm afraid. ;-)
    – egreg
    Mar 26 '16 at 23:01
  • 3
    It is possible to embed the TeX code in the PDF file for later retrieval, but it's an action that must be specifically requested at compile time. With good OCR software you can get the text, at least.
    – egreg
    Mar 26 '16 at 23:06
  • 2
    The recommended way would be to retype it. as it is a presentation I assume it isn't a thousand pages long, so retyping is likely to be the most effective way. Mar 27 '16 at 0:33
  • 5
    The following workflow can get you the source code: Open pdf file, copy author name, paste it into a search engine, get the email address, write a polite mail asking for the source code, wait for the reply. Mar 27 '16 at 12:23
  • 1
    There is a nice Wolfram-alpha demo here: webdemo.myscript.com/#/demo/equation that transfrom handwritten equation to TeX, and is quite effective. I do not know if it's possible to feed a bitmap to it (I don't think, but...)
    – Rmano
    Mar 27 '16 at 17:00

Short answer: no, it's impossible.

Long Answer: although sometime it's possible to bundle the source document in a PDF, that must be done at the time of the creation of the document (and I do not think that pdflatex and co. have this option), in general the process is not reversible.

The options are:

  1. contact the authors and ask if they are ok with sharing the source;

  2. rewrite the document1. You can try to use tools like, for example, pdftotext to extract the plain text content, some kind of PDF editor like inkscape for the images, and maybe this nice site to help with the equation.

1 Obviously, if the license of the document allows it; and, ça va san dire, citing the sources... ;-)

  • about bundling the source document with the PDF, packages attachfile2 and embedfile are relevant for compilation with pdflatex.
    – user4686
    Mar 28 '16 at 10:07

For people looking at this question now, years later: you can use Mathpix to do this. It allows you to 'snip' parts of your screen and convert an image (handwritten or just a formatted mathematical equation) to LaTeX instantly. It works great and is use to use.


  • Impressive, but they misspelled LaTeX on their front page.
    – AlexG
    Jun 11 at 15:34

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