Can I copy/paste Python code?

Christian Gollwitzer auriocus at
Tue Jul 21 14:29:49 CEST 2015

On 21.07.2015 04:55, Chris Angelico wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 12:49 PM, ryguy7272 <ryanshuell at> wrote:
>> I'm trying to copy some Python code from a PDF book that I'm reading.  I want to test out the code, and I can copy it, but when I paste it into the Shell, everything is all screwed up because of the indentation. Every time I paste in any kind of code, it seems like everything is immediately left-justified, and then nothing works.
>> Any idea how to make this work easily?  Without re-typing hundreds of lines of code...
> Sounds like a flaw in the PDF - it creates indentation in some way
> other than leading spaces/tabs.

PDF never uses tabs and spaces for indentation. In a PDF file, typically 
all words are placed using a drawing operator individually, the space is 
made up by your eyes when see the file. While space characters exist in 
fonts, they are practically never used. Often even inside a word there 
are breaks, because of kerning corrections. When copying the data, the 
PDF reader has to guess where the word breaks are and how the strings 
belong together. Acrobat does a good job, but fails in this special 
situation. Sometimes it even fails for a narrow running font and copies 
the string without any word breaks.

Laura's method works, because pdftotext can simulate the PDF appearance 
using spaces in the output. Maybe an OCR program with good layout could 
also be used.


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