Thank you for your interest in developing a plug-in for Adobe® Reader®.

To build an Adobe Reader plug-in, you should apply for and obtain an Adobe Reader Integration Key. This key must be compiled into your application in order for it to load in Reader.

By completing the Adobe RIKLA application you initiate the process to obtain a key. The application should be filled out completely and your responses will be used to determine your eligibility. If you are building a DRM-based Adobe Reader plug-in, we recommend you send an email to rikla-support@adobe.com with details of your request so that we can guide you through the application process.

General questions

How long does it take to obtain a key?

Applications take about two weeks to review. DRM applications may take longer. Once approved, you will receive the contract (also known as the Adobe Reader Integration Key License Agreement or Adobe RIKLA) as a PDF form along with the link to the tools for generating your Public Key. Adobe uses this Public Key to generate your Adobe Reader Key or "key" which you use in compiling your plugin. Once we receive your approved contract and Public Key, it takes about another week or two for Adobe to generate your Adobe Reader Integration Key, charge your credit card, and e-mail the key to you.

How much does a Reader Integration key cost?

Reader Integration keys are only available to strategic partners based on a negotiated price. If you are developing a digital rights management (DRM) Adobe Reader plug-in, the standard (non-DRM) RIKLA contract does not apply. Adobe does offer a DRM agreement specifically for developers building such Adobe Reader plug-ins. The current fee structure for the DRM RIKLA includes a $50,000 annual fee and a 5.5% revenue royalty.

How long may I use the Reader Integration key?

You may use and distribute the key according to the term of the RIKLA for one year from the date you receive your final contract with Adobe digital signatures. You should reapply a few weeks before this time to extend your current license for another year. 

Who can obtain a Reader Integration key?

Reader Integration keys are only available to strategic partners.

If I have multiple Adobe Reader plug-ins, do I need multiple Reader Integration keys?

Yes. Each plug-in requires its own Reader Integration key. However, if your plug-in is available for multiple platforms (for example, both Macintosh and Windows®), you can apply, and get the necessary Reader Integration keys for all platforms.

How do I create an Adobe Reader Public Key?

Instructions for creating a Public-Private Key pair can be found in the documentation that ships with the Acrobat SDK, available from the Acrobat Developer Center.

What are the restrictions for Adobe Reader plug-in development?

The following list of restrictions is general and is not intended to be legally binding. You will be granted an Adobe Reader Integration key if Adobe believes that your plug-in is compliant with the overall goals of the Adobe Reader development program. After being granted a key, if there is a significant change in your Adobe Reader plug-in's functionality (based on the description you provided in your application), for this or future versions, during the one year term of the RIKLA, you will need to cease using your existing key and reapply for a new one.

You may not use the Adobe Reader key to develop or enable your plug-in or any other software or hardware to perform or enable any of the following:

  • Add functionality to Adobe Reader that is substantially similar to functionality in commercially available Acrobat products
  • Accept navigational commands from an application other than Adobe Reader
  • Create, remove, or modify any Enabling Rights (including but not limited to permissions added to a PDF file with a product such as Adobe LiveCycle™ Reader Extensions (formerly Adobe Reader Extensions Server)
  • Save or modify any Acrobat file (including without limitation PDF, FDF, or annotation)
  • Extract and save any content from a PDF file (other than submitting form data to a remote server)
  • Use any APIs from the Forms or DigSig Host Function Tables (HFTs)
  • Modify the appearance of Adobe Reader
  • Remove the menu item that calls up the "About" screen in Adobe Reader
  • Implement a Replacement File System (RFS) for Adobe Reader

Your Adobe Reader plug-in must comply with the following:

  • Respect all font permission settings
  • Define READER_PLUGIN as 1 upon compilation
  • Respect all passwords, access restrictions, and encryption of files

Without additional permissions from Adobe, you may not do the following:

  • Create any service that includes Adobe Reader and the exchange or distribution of encrypted or certified documents
  • Control document access and/or display content using DRM service or technology. Please check here for more information on what Adobe considers 'DRM' functionality.

Note: The appropriate permissions will be granted/denied as part of this application process.