JPedal – Highlight word at a point in a PDF

I want to implement a feature which allows the user to double-click to highlight a word in a PDF document using the JPedal library. This would be trivial to do if I could get a word’s bounding rectangle and see if the MouseEvent location falls within it; the following snippet demonstrates how to highlight a region:

private void highlightText() {
    Rectangle highlightRectangle = new Rectangle(firstPoint.x, firstPoint.y,
            secondPoint.x - firstPoint.x, secondPoint.y - firstPoint.y);
    pdfDecoder.getTextLines().addHighlights(new Rectangle[]{highlightRectangle}, false, currentPage);
    pdfDecoder.repaint();
}

I can only find plaintext extraction examples in the documentation however.

Answer

After looking at Mark’s examples I managed to get it working. There are a few quirks so I’ll explain how it all works in case it helps someone else. The key method is extractTextAsWordlist, which returns a List<String> of the form {word1, w1_x1, w1_y1, w1_x2, w1_y2, word2, w2_x1, ...} when given a region to extract from. Step-by-step instructions are listed below.

Firstly, you need to transform the MouseEvent‘s Component/screen coordinates to PDF page coordinates and correct for scaling:

/**
 * Transforms Component coordinates to page coordinates, correcting for 
 * scaling and panning.
 * 
 * @param x Component x-coordinate
 * @param y Component y-coordinate
 * @return Point on the PDF page
 */
private Point getPageCoordinates(int x, int y) {
    float scaling = pdfDecoder.getScaling();
    int x_offset = ((pdfDecoder.getWidth() - pdfDecoder.getPDFWidth()) / 2); 
    int y_offset = pdfDecoder.getPDFHeight();
    int correctedX = (int)((x - x_offset + viewportOffset.x) / scaling);
    int correctedY = (int)((y_offset - (y + viewportOffset.y))  / scaling);
    return new Point(correctedX, correctedY);
}

Next, create a box to scan for text. I chose to make this the width of the page and +/- 20 page units vertically (this is a fairly arbitrary number), centered at the MouseEvent:

/**
 * Scans for all the words located with in a box the width of the page and 
 * 40 points high, centered at the supplied point.
 * 
 * @param p Point to centre the scan box around
 * @return  A List of words within the scan box
 * @throws PdfException
 */
private List<String> scanForWords(Point p) throws PdfException {
    List<String> result = Collections.emptyList();
    if (pdfDecoder.getlastPageDecoded() > 0) {
        PdfGroupingAlgorithms currentGrouping = pdfDecoder.getGroupingObject();
        PdfPageData currentPageData = pdfDecoder.getPdfPageData();
        int x1 = currentPageData.getMediaBoxX(currentPage);
        int x2 = currentPageData.getMediaBoxWidth(currentPage) + x1;
        int y1 = p.y + 20;
        int y2 = p.y - 20;
        result = currentGrouping.extractTextAsWordlist(x1, y1, x2, y2, currentPage, true, "");
    }
    return result;
}

Then I parsed this into a sequence of Rectangles:

/**
 * Parse a String sequence of:
 *   {word1, w1_x1, w1_y1, w1_x2, w1_y2, word2, w2_x1, ...}
 *   
 * Into a sequence of Rectangles.
 * 
 * @param wordList Word list sequence to parse
 * @return A List of Rectangles
 */
private List<Rectangle> parseWordBounds(List<String> wordList) {
    List<Rectangle> wordBounds = new LinkedList<Rectangle>();
    Iterator<String> wordListIterator = wordList.iterator();
    while(wordListIterator.hasNext()) {
        // sequences are: {word, x1, y1, x2, y2}  
        wordListIterator.next(); // skip the word
        int x1 = (int) Float.parseFloat(wordListIterator.next());
        int y1 = (int) Float.parseFloat(wordListIterator.next());
        int x2 = (int) Float.parseFloat(wordListIterator.next());
        int y2 = (int) Float.parseFloat(wordListIterator.next());
        wordBounds.add(new Rectangle(x1, y2, x2 - x1, y1 - y2)); // in page, not screen coordinates
    }
    return wordBounds;
}

Then identified which Rectangle the MouseEvent fell within:

/**
 * Finds the bounding Rectangle of a word located at a Point.
 * 
 * @param p Point to find word bounds
 * @param wordBounds List of word boundaries to search
 * @return A Rectangle that bounds a word and contains a point, or null if 
 *         there is no word located at the point
 */
private Rectangle findWordBoundsAtPoint(Point p, List<Rectangle> wordBounds) {
    Rectangle result = null;
    for (Rectangle wordBound : wordBounds) {
        if (wordBound.contains(p)) {
            result = wordBound;
            break;
        }
    }
    return result;
}

For some reason, just passing this Rectangle to the highlighting method didn’t work. After some tinkering, I found that shrinking the Rectangle by a point on each side resolved the problem:

/**
 * Contracts a Rectangle to enable it to be highlighted.
 * 
 * @return A contracted Highlight Rectangle
 */
private Rectangle contractHighlight(Rectangle highlight){
    int x = highlight.x + 1;
    int y = highlight.y + 1;
    int width = highlight.width -2;
    int height = highlight.height - 2;
    return new Rectangle(x, y, width, height);
}

Then I just passed it to this method to add highlights:

/**
 * Highlights text on the document
 */
private void highlightText(Rectangle highlightRectangle) {
    pdfDecoder.getTextLines().addHighlights(new Rectangle[]{highlightRectangle}, false, currentPage);
    pdfDecoder.repaint();
}

Finally, all the above calls are packed into this convenient method:

/**
 * Highlights the word at the given point.
 * 
 * @param p Point where word is located
 */
private void highlightWordAtPoint(Point p) {
    try {
        Rectangle wordBounds = findWordBoundsAtPoint(p, parseWordBounds(scanForWords(p)));
        if (wordBounds != null) {
            highlightText(contractHighlight(wordBounds));
        }
    } catch (PdfException e) {
        // TODO Auto-generated catch block
        e.printStackTrace();
    }
}

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