HTML::FormatText::WithLinks - HTML to text conversion with links as footnotes


    use HTML::FormatText::WithLinks;

    my $f = HTML::FormatText::WithLinks->new();

    my $html = qq(
        Some html with a <a href="">link</a>

    my $text = $f->parse($html);

    print $text;

    # results in something like

    Some html with a [1]link


    my $f2 = HTML::FormatText::WithLinks->new(
        before_link => '',
        after_link => ' [%l]',
        footnote => ''

    $text = $f2->parse($html);
    print $text;

    # results in something like

    Some html with a link []

    my $f3 = HTML::FormatText::WithLinks->new(
        link_num_generator => sub {
            return "*" x (shift() + 1);
        footnote => '[%n] %l'

    $text = $f3->parse($html);
    print $text;

    # results in something like

    Some html with a [*]link



HTML::FormatText::WithLinks takes HTML and turns it into plain text but prints all the links in the HTML as footnotes. By default, it attempts to mimic the format of the lynx text based web browser's --dump option.



    my $f = HTML::FormatText::WithLinks->new( %options );

Returns a new instance. It accepts all the options of HTML::FormatText plus


a base option. This should be set to a URI which will be used to turn any relative URIs on the HTML to absolute ones.


If a base element is found in the document and it has an href attribute then setting doc_overrides_base to true will cause the document's base to be used. This defaults to false.

footnote (default: '[%n] %l')

a string to print before a link (i.e. when the <a> is found), after link has ended (i.e. when then </a> is found) and when printing out footnotes.

"%n" will be replaced by the link number, "%l" will be replaced by the link itself.

If footnote is set to '', no footnotes will be printed.

link_num_generator is a sub that returns the value to be printed for a given link number. The internal store starts numbering at 0.


If set to 1 then italicised text will be surrounded by / and bolded text by _. You can change these markers by using the italic_marker and bold_marker options.

If set to 1 then will only generate 1 footnote per unique URI as oppose to the default behaviour which is to generate a footnote per URI.

If set to 0 then links pointing to local anchors will be skipped. The default behaviour is to include all links.


If set to 1, then links where the text equals the href value will be skipped. The default behaviour is to include all links.


    my $text = $f->parse($html);

Takes some HTML and returns it as text. Returns undef on error.

Will also return undef if you pass it undef. Returns an empty string if passed an empty string.


    my $text = $f->parse_file($filename);

Takes a filename and returns the contents of the file as plain text. Returns undef on error.



Returns the last error that occurred. In practice this is likely to be either a warning that parse_file couldn't find the file or that HTML::TreeBuilder failed.


When passing HTML fragments the results may be a little unpredictable. I've tried to work round the most egregious of the issues but any unexpected results are welcome.

Also note that if for some reason there is an a tag in the document that does not have an href attribute then it will be quietly ignored. If this is really a problem for anyone then let me know and I'll see if I can think of a sensible thing to do in this case.


Struan Donald. <>

Ian Malpass <> was responsible for the custom formatting bits and the nudge to release the code.

Simon Dassow <<gt> for the anchor_links option plus a few bugfixes and optimisations

Kevin Ryde for the code for pulling the base out the document.

Thomas Sibley <> patches for skipping links that are their urls and to change the delimiters for bold and italic text..


The source code for this module is hosted on GitHub


Copyright (C) 2003-2010 Struan Donald and Ian Malpass. All rights reserved.


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


perl(1), HTML::Formatter.