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Counting PDF Pages using Regular Expressions

, 11 Jul 2006 CPOL 57.5K 25
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Explains how to count PDF pages using regular expressions in C#


During one of my .NET projects working with Adobe PDF files, I encountered the need to simply retrieve the page count of a specific file. I did not need to manipulate the PDF at all so buying a .NET component for this task sounded a little inconvenient.

After a few hours of researching for an easy solution, I found out that the old regular expressions might hold the answer.

Opening the PDF in Notepad, I noticed that for each page in the file there is a specific character sequence: "/Type /Page" (depending on the PDF version with or without the space between the two words). So, all we need to do is to count how many times this sequence repeats in the file.

Getting It Done !

First, we need to open the PDF file using a FileStream and read the contents as a string using a StreamReader.

FileStream fs = new FileStream(@"c:\a.pdf", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
StreamReader r = new StreamReader(fs);
string pdfText = r.ReadToEnd();

Once we have the PDF text, all we need to do is to create the regular expression and count the matches.

Regex rx1 = new Regex(@"/Type\s*/Page[^s]");
MatchCollection matches = rx1.Matches(pdfText);
MessageBox.Show("The PDF file has " + matches.Count.ToString() + " page(s).";



  • 11th July, 2006: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Vicente Angotti
Web Developer
United States United States
Vicente Angotti has been working as a software developer for more than 12 years and he is currently an IT project manager for a Federal U.S. Government Agency.
Some of his recent projects include TCP/IP communications, Asynchronous Threading, Image Manipulation and VLDB Design using .NET.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralPDF version Pin
Marcus Deecke23-Jun-07 21:59
memberMarcus Deecke23-Jun-07 21:59 
GeneralEasier Way To Get PDF Page Count. Pin
Sean51506-May-07 3:19
memberSean51506-May-07 3:19 
GeneralRe: Easier Way To Get PDF Page Count. Pin
Member 292057023-Jan-09 6:03
memberMember 292057023-Jan-09 6:03 
GeneralRe: Easier Way To Get PDF Page Count. Pin
Adrian Schröder23-Apr-15 20:45
memberAdrian Schröder23-Apr-15 20:45 
GeneralGood but incomplete Pin
Sivrag the Conqueror21-Apr-07 8:07
memberSivrag the Conqueror21-Apr-07 8:07 
GeneralRe: Good but incomplete Pin
Sivrag the Conqueror21-Apr-07 10:29
memberSivrag the Conqueror21-Apr-07 10:29 
My bad this isn't the regular expression could fail. Actually this method is fine for first generation PDFs but when modified pages have been appended to the PDF you can't tell the difference.

23 0 obj
/Type /Page


23 1 obj
/Type /Page

are the same page in a PDF from two different revisions. This will cause the extra pages in the page count.

A television may insult your intelligence but nothing rubs it in like a computer.

Generalword count Pin
reza-taavoni7-Apr-07 0:23
memberreza-taavoni7-Apr-07 0:23 
GeneralClever approach Pin
Bilgin Esme20-Mar-07 3:35
memberBilgin Esme20-Mar-07 3:35 
GeneralThis solution doesn't always works... Pin
rizwan8229-Aug-06 5:34
memberrizwan8229-Aug-06 5:34 
GeneralRe: This solution doesn't always works... Pin
Vicente Angotti5-Sep-06 7:43
memberVicente Angotti5-Sep-06 7:43 
GeneralRe: This solution doesn't always works... Pin
rizwan825-Sep-06 21:07
memberrizwan825-Sep-06 21:07 
GeneralRe: This solution doesn't always works... Pin
Vicente Angotti13-Sep-06 7:49
memberVicente Angotti13-Sep-06 7:49 
GeneralRe: This solution doesn't always works... Pin
rizwan8213-Sep-06 21:37
memberrizwan8213-Sep-06 21:37 
QuestionWhat about large files? Pin
cyberfloatie12-Jul-06 11:23
membercyberfloatie12-Jul-06 11:23 
AnswerRe: What about large files? Pin
illium27-Nov-06 10:45
memberillium27-Nov-06 10:45 
GeneralRe: What about large files? Pin
captainplanet01231-Jun-09 2:21
membercaptainplanet01231-Jun-09 2:21 

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