Using Skia's PDF Backend

Here is an example of using Skia's PDF backend (SkPDF) via the SkDocument and SkCanvas APIs.

#include "SkPDFDocument.h"

void WritePDF(SkWStream* outputStream,
              const char* documentTitle,
              void (*writePage)(SkCanvas*, int page),
              int numberOfPages,
              SkSize pageSize) {
    SkPDF::Metadata metadata;
    metadata.fTitle = documentTitle;
    metadata.fCreator = "Example WritePDF() Function";
    SkTime::DateTime now;
    metadata.fCreation = now;
    metadata.fModified = now;
    auto pdfDocument = SkPDF::MakeDocument(outputStream, metadata);

    for (int page = 0; page < numberOfPages; ++page) {
        SkCanvas* pageCanvas = pdfDocument->beginPage(pageSize.width(),
        writePage(pageCanvas, page);

SkPDF Limitations

There are several corners of Skia's public API that SkPDF currently does not handle because either no known client uses the feature or there is no simple PDF-ish way to handle it.

In this document:

  • drop means to draw nothing.

  • ignore means to draw without the effect

  • expand means to implement something in a non-PDF-ish way. This may mean to rasterize vector graphics, to expand paths with path effects into many individual paths, or to convert text to paths.


  • SkImageFilter: When SkImageFilter is expanded, text-as-text is lost.

  • SkXferMode: The following transfer modes are not natively supported by PDF: DstOver, SrcIn, DstIn, SrcOut, DstOut, SrcATop, DstATop, and Modulate.

Other limitations:

  • drawText with VerticalText — drop. No known clients seem to make use of the VerticalText flag.

  • drawTextOnPath — expand. (Text-as-text is lost.)

  • drawVertices — drop.

  • drawPatch — drop.