Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

CCITT encoding in PDF files – rows and height gotcha

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While rewriting our CCITT decoder (almost finished!) we came across an interesting item to take care of. When reading the values of a CCITT encoded data stream, you need to be careful with the values you read in. In general, the CCITT dictionary can contain a /Rows value which is actually the height of the image data.

Have a look at this example from a PDF file created with OpenOffice.

 0 obj
BitsPerComponent 1
/ColorSpace/DeviceGray
/Filter[/CCITTFaxDecode]
/DecodeParms[<>]
/Length 8 0 R
>>

In this there is a /Rows value of zero (which is obviously impossible). So I double-checked the PDF File specification and a value of zero is allowed (in fact it is the default). But it is ignored and you use the height value instead. So why does OpenOffice write out a default value which is ignored (making the file larger)? And why does the PDF file specification allow a value it then ignores in the first place?

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Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

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