PDF In-Depth

Acrobat & PDF Developer Libraries

November 04, 2016


Besides Adobe's, numerous third-party libraries can also produce PDF directly. Below is a list of some of the PDF libraries we are aware of.

Fast, direct, and maybe even free

Like any toolset, these libraries that each offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Once configured, the creation process is both swift and robust, but the onus falls on the developer to build each PDF page from scratch. Performance, functionality, pricing, licensing terms, compatible programming languages and the availability of developer support all vary significantly between libraries. Many of these libraries are low cost, royalty-free or free for non-profit use.

In no particular order...


Foxit PDF SDK is ideal for any enterprise-class application, cloud service, desktop application, or mobile app that has to interact with PDF documents and forms - especially across platforms. The PDF SDK excels with multi-platform support, for a consistent user experience across client devices. PDF SDK applications are usually developed in C or C++.

Application developers who use Foxit PDF SDK leverage Foxit’s powerful, standard-compliant PDF technology to securely display, edit, annotate, format, organize, and search PDF documents and to fill PDF forms.

Foxit Quick PDF Library

Foxit Quick PDF Library is a powerful royalty-free PDF library SDK - including a 900+ function API for use with C++, C#, Delphi, ASP, ActiveX, VB, VB Script, PowerBASIC and more. It provides create, render, print, encrypt, sign, split, or merge pages or documents, update document information and default viewing settings. Some functions can be used via direct access, working on stored files rather than loading them to memory, which drastically improves performance when processing larger files. Foxit Quick PDF Library offers advanced support for vector graphics, geospatial PDF, and allows developers to manipulate 1D and 2D barcodes, PDF annotations, links, bookmarks, form fields and JavaScript. Images can be added in BMP, TIFF, JPEG, PNG and EMF formats. TrueType and Type1 fonts can be embedded, and TrueType fonts can be subsetted, such that Unicode text can be drawn. Allows development of applications for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Foxit Quick PDF Library Lite

Foxit Quick PDF Library Lite is a free pdf library that offers a subset of the functionality found in Quick PDF Library. It provides the ability to load or create PDFs, convert images to PDF, generate and place QR codes, add web links, get and set document properties, rotate pages, merge documents, analyze document security and add images and text to documents. It can also be used to manage PageBox info (MediaBox, CropBox, BleedBox, TrimBox, ArtBox), check for fonts, count embedded images, get page width and height. It works with any language that supports ActiveX.

Adobe PDF Library SDK - Adobe Systems

The Adobe PDF Library SDK is a low-level library containing a set of C and C++ APIs. It is based on the same technology used to build Adobe Acrobat. Functionality includes generating, manipulating, rendering and printing PDF documents, and supports conversion to specific standards for archiving (PDF/A) and printing (PDF/X).

JPedal - IDR Solutions

JPedal is a Java PDF library that can be used for printing, viewing, converting, searching, and extracting content. Using JPedal, PDF content can be converted into text or images, and images within PDF documents can also be separately extracted. The library also supports Adobe XML Forms Architecture (XFA).

FOP: An Open-Source XSL Formatter and Renderer

Apache FOP is a print formatter that can produce output in a range of formats, including PDF. It is driven by XSL formatting objects (XSL-FO), which is easier to use for layout and typography than the PDF syntax. A reasonable level of familiarity with XML and XSL is required to effectively use this technology due to its reliance on XSL. Implemented in Java, Apache FOP is available for download either as source code or in a precompiled version.

PDF Core Library - Zeon Corp.

PDF Core Library is a set of API functions (C and C++) that help developers to create PDF-related applications without in-depth PDF knowledge. Functionality includes parsing, viewing, printing and editing PDF files.

PDFlib - PDFlib GmbH

PDFlib is a developer toolbox that allows developers to create and manipulate PDF documents. PDFlib can be used for dynamic PDF creation on a web or other server, or to add “Save as PDF” functionality to applications. PDFlib can be used to control typography, color management, image-to-PDF conversion, or the creation of documents compatible with PDF-based standards (e.g., PDF/X, PDF/A, and PDF/VT).

PDF In-Depth Free Product Trials Ubiquitous PDF

Debenu Quick PDF Library

Get products to market faster with this amazing PDF developer SDK. Over 900 functions and an equally...

Download free demo

PDF Master Series III: Eugene Y. Xiong talks with Planet PDF

Planet PDF talks with another Master of the PDF Universe, Eugene Y. Xiong, Founder and Chairman of the Board at Foxit Software Inc. in Fremont California. Xiong is a quiet yet astounding achiever, you (usually) won't find him talking at conferences, exhibits, or publishings, but what you will find is the result of his leadership in places you would never expect.

September 14, 2016
Platinum Sponsor

Search Planet PDF
more searching options...
Planet PDF Newsletter
Most Popular Articles
Featured Product

Debenu PDF Aerialist 12

The ultimate plug-in for Adobe Acrobat. Advanced splitting, merging, stamping, bookmarking, and link control. Take Acrobat to the next level.


Adding a PDF Stamp Comment

OK, so you want to stamp your document. Maybe you need to give reviewers some advice about the document's status or sensitivity. This tip from author Ted Padova demonstrates how to add stamps with the Stamp Tool along with related comments.