PDFlib Personalization Server (PPS) 9

The PDFlib Personalization Server (PPS) includes PDFlib+PDI plus additional functions for variable data processing using PDFlib Blocks. PPS makes applications independent from layout changes.

The designer creates the page layout and converts it to PDF. She takes into account areas as placeholders for variable text and images. In Acrobat she drags a rectangular Block for each area using the PDFlib Block Plugin. Each Block contains a variety of Block properties, such as font size, color, image scaling. The PDFlib Block Plugin offers a Preview feature which shows the results of filling Blocks according to their properties.

The programmer writes code to fill PDFlib Blocks with text, images, or PDF pages. He doesn’t need to know the formatting or position of a Block. Use PPS for all PDFlib+PDI tasks plus the following:

Customize direct mailings with text and images

Fill templates for transactional and statement processing

Personalize promotional material with address data

Generate individual parts catalogs from a database

Produce customized documentation for multiple similar

PDF Form Fields or PDFlib Blocks?

The primary distinction is that PDF form fields are optimized for interactive filling, and PDFlib Blocks are targeted at automated filling. Applications which need both interactive and automated filling can easily achieve this by using a feature of the PDFlib Block Plugin which automatically converts form fields to blocks. Although there are many parallels between both concepts, PDFlib Blocks offer several advantages over PDF form fields as shown in the table below.

FeaturePDF form fieldsPDFlib Blocks
design objectivefor interactive usefor automated filling
typographic features (beyond choice of font and font size)-kerning, word and character spacing, underline, overline, strikeout

OpenType layout features


dozens of OpenType layout features, e.g. ligatures, swash characters, oldstyle figures

complex script support


shaping and bidirectional formatting, e.g. for Arabic and Devanagari

font controlfont embeddingfont embedding and subsetting, encoding

text formatting controls

left-, center-, right-aligned

left-, center-, right-aligned, justified; various formatting algorithms and controls; inline options can be used to control the appearance of text

change font or other text attributes within text

merged result is integral part of PDF page description-yes
users can edit merged field contentsyesno
extensible set of properties-yes (custom Block properties)

use image files for filling



color supportRGBgrayscale, RGB, CMYK, spot color, Lab


PDF/X: no
PDF/A: restricted

yes (both Block container and merged results)

graphics and text properties can be overridden upon filling-yes

transparent contents


Text Blocks can be linked