PDFlib Family Overview

The PDFlib Product Family

PDFlib is the leading developer toolbox for generating and manipulating files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). PDFlib’s main targets are dynamic PDF creation on a Web server or any other server system, and to implement »Save as PDF« in existing applications. You can use PDFlib to dynamically create PDF documents from database contents, similar to dynamic Web pages. PDFlib has proven itself in a wide range of other use cases as well. Application programmers need only decent graphics or print output experience to be able to use PDFlib quickly. Since PDFlib frees you from the technicalities of the PDF file format, you can focus on acquiring the data and arranging text, graphics, and images on the page.

The PDFlib family comprises three separate products:

  • PDFlib offers a variety of functions for generating PDF output with text, graphics, images, and interactive elements such as annotations or bookmarks.
  • PDFlib+PDI includes all PDFlib functions plus the PDF Import Library (PDI). With PDI you can open existing PDF documents and incorporate some pages into the PDFlib output. It also includes the pCOS interface for querying PDF objects.
  • The PDFlib Personalization Server (PPS) includes PDFlib+PDI plus functions for automatically filling PDFlib Blocks. A PPS license also covers the PDFlib Block Plugin for creating Blocks interactively with Adobe Acrobat on OS X/macOS and Windows.

Supported Development Environments

The PDFlib family is everywhere - it runs on practically all computing platforms. We offer 32-bit and 64-bit packages for all common flavors of Windows, macOS, Linux and Unix, as well as for IBM i5/iSeries and zSeries mainframe systems. Versions for iOS and Android are also available.

The PDFlib core is written in highly optimized C and C++ code for maximum performance and small overhead. Via a simple API (Application Programming Interface) the PDFlib functionality is accessible from a variety of development environments:

  • COM for use with VB, ASP, etc.
  • C and C++
  • Java
  • .NET and .NET Core
  • Objective-C (macOS and iOS)
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • Python
  • RPG (IBM i5/iSeries)
  • Ruby
  • Swift

Historical Note on PDFlib Lite

PDFlib Lite was an open-source subset of PDFlib 7 which reached its end of life in 2011 (!). PDFlib Lite could be used for free in non-commercial projects, or if the source code of the product using PDFlib Lite was also made available for free.

PDFlib GmbH no longer offers open-source versions of PDFlib. PDFlib Lite is no longer supported and neither source code nor precompiled binaries are available for download.