PDFlib Personalization Server (PPS)

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, while 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.

Feature PDF form fields PDFlib Blocks
design objective for interactive use for 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 control font embedding font 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

users can edit merged field contents yes no
extensible set of properties

yes (custom Block properties)

use image files for filling


use vector graphics for filling SVG
color support RGB

grayscale, RGB, CMYK, Lab, spot color (HKS and Pantone spot colors integrated in the Block Plugin), DeviceN

PDF standards


graphics and text properties can be overridden upon filling


transparent contents


Text Blocks can be linked