html2text - an advanced HTML-to-text converter
html2text [ -unparse | -check ] [ -debug-scanner ] [ -debug-parser ] [
-rcfile path ] [ -style ( compact | pretty ) ] [ -width width ] [ -o
output-file ] [ -nobs ] [ -ascii ] [ input-url ... ]
html2text reads HTML documents from the input-urls, formats each of
them into a stream of plain text characters, and writes the result to
standard output (or into output-file, if the -o command line option is
Documents that are specified by a URL (RFC 1738) that begins with
"http:" are retrieved with the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (RFC 1945).
URLs that begin with "file:" and URLs that do not contain a colon spec
ify local files. All other URLs are invalid.
If no input-urls are specified on the command line, html2text reads
from standard input. A dash as the input-url is an alternate way to
specify standard input.
html2text understands all HTML 3.2 constructs, but can render only part
of them due to the limitations of the text output format. However, the
program attempts to provide good substitutes for the elements it cannot
render. html2text parses HTML 4 input, too, but not always as success
ful as other HTML processors. It also accepts syntactically incorrect
input, and attempts to interpret it "reasonably".
The way html2text formats the HTML documents is controlled by format
ting properties read from an RC file. html2text attempts to read
$HOME/.html2textrc (or the file specified by the -rcfile command line
option); if that file cannot be read, html2text attempts to read
/etc/html2textrc. If no RC file can be read (or if the RC file does
not override all formatting properties), then "reasonable" defaults are
assumed. The RC file format is described in the html2textrc(5) manual
-ascii By default, html2text uses ISO 8859-1 for the output. Specifying
this option, plain ASCII is used instead. To find out how
non-ASCII characters are rendered, refer to the file "ascii.sub
-check This option is for diagnostic purposes: The HTML document is
only parsed and not processed otherwise. In this mode of opera
tion, html2text will report on parse errors and scan errors,
which it does not in other modes of operation. Note that parse
and scan errors are not fatal for html2text, but may cause mis-
interpretation of the HTML code and/or portions of the document
Let html2text report on the tokens being shifted, rules being
applied, etc., while scanning the HTML document. This option is
for diagnostic purposes.
Let html2text report on each lexical token scanned, while scan
ning the HTML document. This option is for diagnostic purposes.
-help Print command line summary and exit.
-nobs By default, html2text renders underlined letters with sequences
like "underscore-backspace-character" and boldface letters like
"character-backspace-character", which works fine when the out
put is piped into more(1), less(1), or similar. For other appli
cations, or when redirecting the output into a file, it may be
desirable not to render character attributes with such backspace
sequences, which can be accomplished with this command line
Write the output to output-file instead of standard output. A
dash as the output-file is an alternate way to specify the stan
Attempt to read the file specified in path as RC file.
-style ( compact | pretty )
Style pretty changes some of the default values of the format
ting parameters documented in html2textrc(5). To find out which
and how the formatting parameter defaults are changed, check the
file "pretty.style". If this option is omitted, style compact is
assumed as default.
This option is for diagnostic purposes: Instead of formatting
the parsed document, generate HTML code, that is guaranteed to
be syntactically correct. If html2text has problems parsing a
syntactically incorrect HTML document, this option may help you
to understand what html2text thinks that the original HTML code
Print program version and exit.
By default, html2text formats the HTML documents for a screen
width of 79 characters. If redirecting the output into a file,
or if your terminal has a width other than 80 characters, or if
you just want to get an idea how html2text deals with large
tables and different terminal widths, you may want to specify a
System wide parser configuration file.
Personal parser configuration file, overrides the system wide
HTML 3.2 (HTML 3.2 Reference Specification - http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-
RFC 1945 (Hypertext Transfer Protocol - HTTP).
html2text provides only a basic implementation of the Hypertext Trans
fer Protocol (HTTP). It requires the complete and exactly matching URL
to be given as argument and will not follow redirections (HTTP 301/
307). Proxy servers are not supported.
html2text was written to convert HTML 3.2 documents. When using it with
HTML 4 or even XHTML 1 documents, some constructs present only in these
HTML versions might not be rendered.
html2text was written up to version 1.2.2 by Arno Unkrig
for GMRS Software GmbH, Unterschleissheim.
Current maintainer and primary download location is:
html2textrc(5), less(1), more(1)