The Adobe® PDF Library software development kit (SDK), available by license, provides unparalleled quality and reliability of proven Adobe PDF technology, allowing third-party developers to support the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) within their own standalone applications. Developers can flexibly implement and develop powerful Adobe PDF solutions in desktop environments as well as a wide range of server platforms. They can also take advantage of full compatibility with the latest PDF specification; full interoperability with Adobe products; consistent, reliable support on a broad range of platforms (see details below); as well as high-performance, scalability, and optimized PDF processing.

Developers do not need Adobe Acrobat® software or other products installed to use the Adobe PDF Library SDK. For details on extending the capabilities of the Adobe Acrobat line of products, check the Acrobat Developer Center.

Major updates in PDFL SDK XV release include:

  • Support for searching invisible text. The PDFProcessor now embeds invisible fonts (in Text Rendering Mode = 3) in PDF files on conversion to PDF/A compliance output format.
  • Added new structure – PDEGraphicStateEx for graphic state to support higher precision for all parameters and related APIs.
  • Support for preservation of tags in PDF during PDF/A conversion.
  • Support for PDF/A-1a conversion has been added to PDFProcessor. Now, PDFProcessor supports four standards: PDF/A-1a, PDF/A-1b, PDF/X-1a, and PDF/X-3.
  • Build environment for Mac has been upgraded to Mac OS X 10.11 and XCode 7.2. Supplied binaries will work on Mac OS X 10.9 and later versions. 
  • Change in the additional OS supported for Windows and Mac.
  • Two new APIs have been introduced in this release to control black point compensation for AC*() calls ─ ACGetBlackPointCompensation() and ACSetBlackPointCompensation(). Black point compensation maps the darkest point of one profile to the darkest point of another profile during color conversion. Previously, while converting one ICC based profile to another, the lightest points of these profiles were mapped; now you can choose whether to add darkest point mapping or not. By default, only the lightest point mapping is used.
  • This release now supports conversion of spots to its alternate color space using the tint transformation. Previous releases supported conversion of spots to process colors only.
  • Full Compatibility with Acrobat DC.
  • Change in the supported compilers. 
  • Support for Mac 32-bit platform has been withdrawn.
  • Option to set default Transparency Blending Color Space has been added. If no value is specified for this option, the default value ‘Working CMYK’ is used. Previously, there was no option to set default Transparency Blending Color Space other than the default value ‘Working CMYK’.
  • Support for creation of 16-bit DeviceN images with n number of colorants. Previously, creation of 16-bit DeviceN images was supported only with 1, 3, and 4 number of colorants.

For more information on the Adobe PDF Library, please see the following:


PDF Library SDK and Acrobat SDK comparison matrix


You can use the following feature comparison as a guide to determine whether you require Adobe PDF Library SDK or the Acrobat SDK. The Acrobat SDK requires that Adobe Acrobat software be installed on the client machine for the plug-ins to access PDF functionality.

  PDF Library SDK Acrobat SDK
Embed PDF manipulation within your application without the presence of Acrobat Yes
Create applications that can run on Servers Yes
Create, edit, and assemble documents Yes Yes
High volume and variable data printing Yes Yes
Embed and subset fonts Yes Yes
View and render PDF Yes Yes
Linearize and optimize PDF for the Web Yes Yes
Compress documents Yes Yes
Provide password security Yes Yes
Extract content Yes Yes
Create and manipulate forms Yes Yes
Use layers and grouping to provide selective viewing of content Yes Yes
Provide searching and indexing Yes Yes
Encrypt documents Yes Yes
Add comments to documents Yes Yes
Access Acrobat plug-ins Yes
Apply digital signatures Yes
Make documents accessible to screen readers and other accessibility technologies Yes
Access third party plug-ins Yes


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Designed specifically for OEMs, ISVs, system integrators, and enterprise IT developers, the Adobe PDF Library SDK contains a powerful set of functions for developing third-party solutions and workflows built upon the Adobe PDF standard. The Adobe PDF Library is based on the technology of Adobe Acrobat software and offers complete functionality for generating, manipulating, rendering, and printing Adobe PDF documents.

The Library enables Adobe PDF functionality to be seamlessly embedded within applications. It also provides reliable, accurate, and Adobe-supported implementation of the latest PDF specification.

The Adobe PDF Library SDK includes the following:

  • Core dynamic Libraries
  • Header files
  • Complete documentation, including an application programming interface (API)
  • Reference guide
  • Fonts
  • 17 completely functional solution samples

For more details, please see the following:

Key benefits
  • Unparalleled quality and reliability of proven Adobe PDF technology
  • Implementation flexibility for developing powerful Adobe PDF solutions in both desktop and server environments
  • Standalone, thread-safe libraries
  • Full compatibility with the latest specification of PDF language
  • Full interoperability with Adobe products
  • Consistent, reliable support on a broad range of platforms
  • High-performance, scalable, and optimized PDF processing


Adobe PDF Library customers

Some of the most recognizable customers of the Adobe PDF Library are prominent Adobe products, including Adobe Acrobat, Reader®, Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, and FrameMaker® software; Adobe LiveCycle™ server products family; the Adobe PostScript® language; and others. However, the Adobe PDF Library SDK was specifically created to support OEMs, systems integrators, independent software vendors, and enterprise IT developers who want to incorporate Adobe PDF functionality into new or existing applications and workflows.

Broad multiplatform support

Adobe PDF Library is supported across the following platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows® (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Macintosh (64-bit)
  • Sun™ Solaris™*(SPARC 32-bit and 64-bit, x86 32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Linux® (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • IBM® AIX®* (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • HP-UX* (Itanium and PA RISC, 32-bit and 64-bit)

* Available from Datalogics


Developer support and maintenance

Major releases of the Adobe PDF Library SDK coincide with releases of the Acrobat software family and Adobe PDF specification. To provide improvements based on developer feedback, interim releases of the Library are made available on a regular basis. In addition, Adobe provides in-depth developer support for the Adobe PDF Library SDK, as well as integration, training, and consulting support from Datalogics, Inc.



The Adobe PDF Library SDK is available from Adobe through a license agreement to OEMs, ISV integrators, and enterprise IT developers on a case-by-case basis. The first step in the licensing the Adobe PDF Library is to fill out the information request form (PDF, 45K). The Adobe PDF Library is also available through our exclusive partner: Datalogics.

Existing Adobe PDF Library customers can contact their Adobe Sales Point of contact to get access to PDF Library.