Document Service APIs


Adobe Document Services are cloud-based APIs to build engaging digital document experiences. 

The PDF Tools API provides ready-to-use SDKs in Java, .NET or Node.js to simplify digital document workflows and improve user experiences. The API will easily create, convert, and combine PDFs with high fidelity as well as apply OCR on scanned documents to create editable PDFs. 

The PDF Embed API gives content owners an industry leading PDF viewing experience using only a few lines of JavaScript. The API offers several options to customize reading, annotating and downloading PDFs.  The API will also provide insights on how PDFs are consumed with out-of-the-box integration with Adobe Analytics.

PDF Library SDK

The Adobe® PDF Library software development kit (SDK), available by license, also 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.

Major updates in PDFL SDK XVIII release include:

  • ICU libraries have been upgraded to the latest version i.e. 64.2.
  • All files are now in .cpp extension. With this change, default compiler settings would work to build the entire PDFL. For backward compatibility, we have not removed .c files.
  • PDEFormIsLeadingSet API has been added which checks whether the Text Leading (TL) is set in the graphics state or not.

  • Parameter ‘pathDPI’ of PDFlattenRec structure has been enabled which affects the degree of flattening Beziers..
  • Location of resources for Type3 fonts are aligned with PDF specification.
  • Support for UTF-8 character encoding as per PDF 2.0 specification has been added.
  • From 18.0.3 onwards, Mac Builds are BAST V3 signed following the Apple Notarization Guidelines.
  • Support for new era glyph - Updated CMaps and Font resources to support Japanese new era characters.

  • Support for Windows 7 has been discontinued.

  • PDEExtGStateGetSoftMaskMatrix and PDEExtGStateSetSoftMaskMatrix APIs have been added to get and set the soft mask matrix in external gstate respectively.

  • Two new APIs PDEFormGetLeading and PDEFormSetLeading have been added to get and set respectively the Leading in the parent of Form.

  • A new parameter weight of type unsigned integer is added in PDEFontAttrs structure.

  • Support for PDF 2.0 file version - PDF Library can now read and edit files with PDF 2.0 version. Two new APIs PDDocGetAdobePDFVersion and PDDocSetAdobePDFVersion have been introduced in this release for getting and setting new PDF versions respectively.
  • Support of Black point compensation (BPC) flag - UseBlackPtComp has been added to the graphic state parameter dictionary. Two new APIs PDEExtGStateGetBPC and PDEExtGStateSetBPC have been added to get and set the UseBlackPtComp flag value respectively.
  • Support for Page-Level Output Intent - User can set Output Intent for each Page as well. Two new APIs PDDocColorConvertEmbedOutputIntentEx and PDPageColorConvertEmbedOutputIntent have been added to support new output intent subtypes added in PDF 2.0. Appropriate subtype like GTS_PDFX, GTS_PDFA, and ISO_PDFE1 can be added to the output profile as per the value passed to these APIs.
  • If output intent already exists at Doc/Page level, then new output intent gets added to the existing one.
  • PDColorConvertPDEElementEx2 API has been added to support conversion to a PDEElement to the supplied color space.
  • PDSysEncodingSetIsUTF16 API has been added to check if an encoding is UTF-16 or not.
  • In PDF 2.0, versioning model has been changed and now support 2-part version system which is a combination of Major and Minor versions like Major.Minor as compared to 3-part version system Major.Minor.ExtensionLevel in PDF 1.7.
  • Updated Decryption Sample to showcase the support for Unicode based password protected PDFs.
  • Updated CMaps and mapping resources to support Adobe-Japan1-7 fonts.
  • Full compatibility with Acrobat DC.

  • The current release includes the following changes to the supported platforms. In version 18.0 and later:
    • Windows 10 is the primary operating system for Windows platforms.
    • The supported compiler for all Windows platforms is Visual Studio 2017(version 15.3.3).
    • Mac OS X 10.12 (Sierra) is supported on 64-bit platforms.
    • The supported operating system for Linux platforms is CentOS 7.3, with the Clang 3.9.1 compiler. The glibc version to be used is 2.17.
    • The supported compiler for all Macintosh platforms is Xcode Developer Tools 8.2.1.
    • Support for the following platforms has been discontinued:
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 on 32-bit platform.
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 on 64-bit platform.
      • Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) on 64-bit platform.

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)
  • Linux® (64-bit)


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.