The 2017 Guide to PDF Files – Creation II

PDF Creation the Easy way….

Last time, we showed you how to write your own PDF file. This is useful for understanding the complexities of PDF files (and why you really want to use a PDF SDK to create and edit PDF files). Hopefully, we convinced you it was a bad idea….

The easy way to generate a PDF file is to get a computer program to generate if for you – many programs can generate PDF files directly either are part of their printing features or offer direct PDF export. You can also use an SDK such as IText (which was written for creating and editing PDF files programmatically).

The advantage of this is that you do not need to know anything about PDF. The disadvantage is that you are trusting in the PDF creation tool. Some common software tools (Quartz on MacOS as one example) tend to make a mess of PDF files.

There are tools produce very good quality PDF files which are small and useful while others are not so good. Often it is very hard to tell from looking at a PDF how ‘well-made’ it is. Many PDF files also contain errors which complicates how different tools will later handle them.

If you want to start learning about PDF files, we have a large number of blog posts on the subject of the PDF file format where we document all the features you may find and show some nasty bugs. Two good places to start are:-

Next time we carry on looking at PDF files with a discussion on text in PDF documents.

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Mark Stephens

System Architect and Lead Developer at IDRSolutions
Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.
Markee174

About Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

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