One of the easiest and most powerful ways to customize PDF files is by using JavaScript. Based on JavaScript version 1.5 of ISO-16262 (formerly known as ECMAScript), JavaScript in Adobe Acrobat software implements objects, methods, and properties that enable you to manipulate PDF files, produce database-driven PDF files, modify the appearance of PDF files, and much more. You can tie Acrobat JavaScript code to a specific PDF document, a page, field, or button within that document, or a field or button within the PDF file, and even to a user action.
JavaScript is particularly useful for XML forms. JavaScript enables automated forms handling, Web and database communication, commenting, and user-interface capabilities. PDF files created with Acrobat and Adobe LiveCycle tools allow data to be extracted as XML into custom schemas. Applications written in Java and other languages easily integrate Acrobat with Web services using Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
Beginning with Acrobat 7, there have been extensive improvements to the JavaScript functionality. There is now support for multimedia, improved printing control, controlling layers, 3D support, and more.
Acrobat X
Adobe Acrobat X SDK now supports JavaScript that conforms to the standards of SpiderMonkey 1.8 JavaScript engine. This release introduces new APIs, such as for adding Signature support for emerging PAdES ETSI ESI standard and for reading files into a stream. In addition, a few APIs have been deprecated. The updated Acrobat X user interface also impacts some of the existing JavaScript APIs.
For more information, visit the JavaScript Support page
Acrobat 9
JavaScript for Acrobat documentation
Learn to develop Acrobat applications using JavaScript, get JavaScript for Acrobat API Reference and JavaScript for Acrobat 3D Annotations API Reference, and learn about Acrobat Tracker and batch sequences.
Acrobat 8
JavaScript is the cross-platform scripting language of the Adobe Acrobat family of products that includes Acrobat Professional, Acrobat Standard, and Adobe Reader. Through JavaScript extensions, the viewer application and its plug-ins expose much of their functionality to document authors, form designers, and plug-in developers.
This document describes the JavaScript for Acrobat API. All objects, properties, and methods are documented and extensive code examples are presented. This document is intended for users familiar with core JavaScript 1.6.
Acrobat 8 TestDebugger (Mac/Win, 6K)
Learn how to use JavaScript to develop and enhance standard workflows. Get the detailed information on JavaScript for Acrobat and extensive examples of the capabilities of JavaScript, as well as descriptions of the usage of the SDK tools. You need to be already familiar with the non-scripting elements of the Acrobat 8 user interface that are described in Acrobat’s accompanying online help documentation.
Acrobat Tracker (PDF, 544k)
Learn about the Acrobat Tracker, which is an XML-based tool based on Really Simple Syndication (RSS) 2.0 and is available in Acrobat Standard and Professional. The Acrobat Tracker is commonly used to present and describe lists of items, manage subscriptions to document reviews, or to produce a visual client for a Web service application.
(Nov 2006)