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Extract text or metadata from over a thousand file types. Get either plain text or structured XHTML. Metadata includes Content-Type, character encoding, and Exif data from jpeg or tiff images. See the long list of supported file types, click the "Supported Formats" link on this page :


  output = c("text", "jsonRecursive", "xml", "html")[1],
  output_dir = "",
  return = TRUE,
  java = rtika::java(),
  jar = rtika::tika_jar(),
  threads = 2,
  max_restarts = integer(),
  timeout = 3e+05,
  max_file_size = integer(),
  config = system.file("extdata", "ocr.xml", package = "rtika"),
  args = character(),
  quiet = TRUE,
  cleanup = TRUE,
  lib.loc = .libPaths()



Character vector describing the paths to the input documents. Strings starting with 'http://','https://', or 'ftp://' are downloaded to a temporary directory. On Windows, the local paths cannot span drives because of a Windows convention.


Optional character vector of the output format. The default, "text", gets plain text without metadata. "xml" and "html" get XHTML text with metadata. "jsonRecursive" gets XHTML text and json metadata. c("jsonRecursive","text") or c("J","t") get plain text and json metadata. See the 'Output Details' section.


Optional directory path to save the converted files in. Tika may overwrite files so an empty directory is best. See the 'Output Details' section before using.


Logical if an R object should be returned. Defaults to TRUE. If set to FALSE, and output_dir (above) must be specified.


Optional command to invoke Java. For example, it can be the full path to a particular Java version. See the Configuration section below.


Optional alternative path to a tika-app-X.XX.jar. Useful if this package becomes out of date.


Integer of the number of file consumer threads Tika uses. Defaults to 2.


Integer of the maximum number of times the watchdog process will restart the child process. The default is no limit.


Integer of the number of milliseconds allowed to a parse before the process is killed and restarted. Defaults to 300000.


Integer of the maximum bytes allowed. Do not process files larger than this. The default is unlimited.


Path to the XML config file. Defaults to system.file("extdata", "ocr.xml", package = "rtika")'. There is also a no-ocr.xml file available.


Optional character vector of additional arguments passed to Tika, that may not yet be implemented in this R interface, in the pattern of c('-arg1','setting1','-arg2','setting2').


Logical if Tika command line messages and errors are to be suppressed. Defaults to TRUE.


Logical to clean up temporary files after running the command, which can accumulate. Defaults to TRUE. They are in tempdir(). These files are automatically removed at the end of the R session even if set to FALSE.


Optional character vector describing the library paths. Normally, it's best to leave this parameter alone. The parameter is included mainly for package testing.


A character vector in the same order and with the same length as input. Unprocessed files are as.character(NA). If return = FALSE, then a NULL value is invisibly returned. See the Output Details section below.

Output Details

If an input file did not exist, could not be downloaded, was a directory, or Tika could not process it, the result will be as.character(NA) for that file.

By default, output = "text" and this produces plain text with no metadata. Some formatting is preserved in this case using tabs, newlines and spaces.

Setting output to either "xml" or the shortcut "x" will produce a strict form of HTML known as XHTML, with metadata in the head node and formatted text in the body. Content retains more formatting with "xml". For example, a Word or Excel table will become a HTML table, with table data as text in td elements. The "html" option and its shortcut "h" seem to produce the same result as "xml". Parse XHTML output with xml2::read_html.

Setting output to "jsonRecursive" or its shortcut "J" produces a tree structure in `json`. Metadata fields are at the top level. The XHTML or plain text will be found in the X-TIKA:content field. By default the text is XHTML. This can be changed to plain text like this: output=c("jsonRecursive","text") or output=c("J","t"). This syntax is meant to mirror Tika's. Parse json with jsonlite::fromJSON.

If output_dir is specified, then the converted files will also be saved to this directory. It's best to use an empty directory because Tika may overwrite existing files. Tika seems to add an extra file extension to each file to reduce the chance, but it's still best to use an empty directory. The file locations within the output_dir maintain the same general path structure as the input files. Downloaded files have a path similar to the `tempdir()` that R uses. The original paths are now relative to output_dir. Files are appended with .txt for the default plain text, but can be .json, .xml, or .html depending on the output setting. One way to get a list of the processed files is to use list.files with recursive=TRUE. If output_dir is not specified, files are saved to a volatile temp directory named by tempdir() and will be deleted when R shuts down. If this function will be run on very large batches repeatedly, these temporary files can be cleaned up every time by adding cleanup=TRUE.


Tika is a foundational library for several Apache projects such as the Apache Solr search engine. It has been in development since at least 2007. The most efficient way I've found to process many thousands of documents is Tika's 'batch' mode, which is the only mode used in `rtika`. There are potentially more things that can be done, given enough time and attention, because Apache Tika includes many libraries and methods in its .jar file. The source is available at:


Tika requires Java 8.

Java installation instructions are at or

By default, this R package internally invokes Java by calling the java command from the command line. To specify the path to a particular Java version, set the path in the java attribute of the tika function.


# \donttest{
#extract text
batch <- c(
  system.file("extdata", "jsonlite.pdf", package = "rtika"),
  system.file("extdata", "curl.pdf", package = "rtika"),
  system.file("extdata", "table.docx", package = "rtika"),
  system.file("extdata", "xml2.pdf", package = "rtika"),
  system.file("extdata", "R-FAQ.html", package = "rtika"),
  system.file("extdata", "calculator.jpg", package = "rtika"),
  system.file("extdata", "", package = "rtika")
text = tika(batch)
#> age ‘jsonlite’
#> June 1, 2017
#> Version 1.5
#> Title A Robust, High Performance JSON Parser and Generator for R
#> License MIT + file LICENSE
#> NeedsCompilation yes
#> Depends methods
#> Author Jeroen Ooms, Duncan Temple Lang, Lloyd Hilaiel
#> URL,
#> BugReports
#> Maintainer Jeroen Ooms

#more complex metadata

  json = tika(batch,c('J','t'))
  # 'J' is shortcut for jsonRecursive
  # 't' for text
  metadata = lapply(json, jsonlite::fromJSON )

  #embedded resources
  lapply(metadata, function(x){ as.character(x$'Content-Type') })

  lapply(metadata, function(x){ as.character(x$'Creation-Date') })

  lapply(metadata, function(x){  as.character(x$'X-TIKA:embedded_resource_path') })
#> [[1]]
#> character(0)
#> [[2]]
#> character(0)
#> [[3]]
#> [1] NA            "/image1.jpg"
#> [[4]]
#> character(0)
#> [[5]]
#> character(0)
#> [[6]]
#> character(0)
#> [[7]]
#>  [1] NA                       "/index.html"            "/site.css"             
#>  [4] "/external.png"          "/icon_info_sml.gif"     "/icon_warning_sml.gif" 
#>  [7] "/icon_error_sml.gif"    "/icon_success_sml.gif"  "/tika.png"             
#> [10] "/mattmann_cover150.jpg" "/asf-logo.gif"         
# }