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version 3.00
The Xpdf software and documentation are
copyright 1996-2004 Glyph & Cog, LLC.
The PDF data structures, operators, and specification are
copyright 1985-2003 Adobe Systems Inc.
What is Xpdf?
Xpdf is an open source viewer for Portable Document Format (PDF)
files. (These are also sometimes also called 'Acrobat' files, from
the name of Adobe's PDF software.) The Xpdf project also includes a
PDF text extractor, PDF-to-PostScript converter, and various other
Xpdf runs under the X Window System on UNIX, VMS, and OS/2. The non-X
components (pdftops, pdftotext, etc.) also run on Win32 systems and
should run on pretty much any system with a decent C++ compiler.
Xpdf is designed to be small and efficient. It can use Type 1 or
TrueType fonts.
Xpdf is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), version
2. In my opinion, the GPL is a convoluted, confusing, ambiguous mess.
But it's also pervasive, and I'm sick of arguing. And even if it is
confusing, the basic idea is good.
In order to cut down on the confusion a little bit, here are some
informal clarifications:
- I don't mind if you redistribute Xpdf in source and/or binary form,
as long as you include all of the documentation: README, man pages
(or help files), and COPYING. (Note that the README file contains a
pointer to a web page with the source code.)
- Selling a CD-ROM that contains Xpdf is fine with me, as long as it
includes the documentation. I wouldn't mind receiving a sample
copy, but it's not necessary.
- If you make useful changes to Xpdf, please make the source code
available -- post it on a web site, email it to me, whatever.
If you're interested in commercial licensing, please see the Glyph &
Cog web site:
Xpdf is developed and tested on a Linux 2.4 x86 system.
In addition, it has been compiled by others on Solaris, AIX, HP-UX,
Digital Unix, Irix, and numerous other Unix implementations, as well
as VMS and OS/2. It should work on pretty much any system which runs
X11 and has Unix-like libraries. You'll need ANSI C++ and C compilers
to compile it.
The non-X components of Xpdf (pdftops, pdftotext, pdfinfo, pdffonts,
pdftoppm, and pdfimages) can also be compiled on Win32 systems. See
the Xpdf web page for details.
If you compile Xpdf for a system not listed on the web page, please
let me know. If you're willing to make your binary available by ftp
or on the web, I'll be happy to add a link from the Xpdf web page. I
have decided not to host any binaries I didn't compile myself (for
disk space and support reasons).
If you can't get Xpdf to compile on your system, send me email and
I'll try to help.
Xpdf has been ported to the Acorn, Amiga, BeOS, and EPOC. See the
Xpdf web page for links.
Getting Xpdf
The latest version is available from:
Source code and several precompiled executables are available.
Announcements of new versions are posted to several newsgroups
(comp.text.pdf, comp.os.linux.announce, and others) and emailed to a
list of people. If you'd like to receive email notification of new
versions, just let me know.
Running Xpdf
To run xpdf, simply type:
xpdf file.pdf
To generate a PostScript file, hit the "print" button in xpdf, or run
pdftops file.pdf
To generate a plain text file, run pdftotext:
pdftotext file.pdf
There are four additional utilities (which are fully described in
their man pages):
pdfinfo -- dumps a PDF file's Info dictionary (plus some other
useful information)
pdffonts -- lists the fonts used in a PDF file along with various
information for each font
pdftoppm -- converts a PDF file to a series of PPM/PGM/PBM-format
pdfimages -- extracts the images from a PDF file
Command line options and many other details are described in the man
pages (xpdf.1, etc.) and the VMS help files (xpdf.hlp, etc.).
Upgrading from Xpdf 2.xx
WARNING: Xpdf 3.00 switched to a new PDF rasterizer, which no longer
uses X fonts. You'll need a set of Base-14 fonts -- the URW fonts
distributed with ghostscript can be used for this. Xpdf will search
for the URW fonts, but if you have them installed in a non-standard
directory, you'll need to set up an xpdfrc config file to point to
them. For full details, please see the xpdfrc(5) man page.
Compiling Xpdf
See the separate file, INSTALL.
If you find a bug in Xpdf, i.e., if it prints an error message,
crashes, or incorrectly displays a document, and you don't see that
bug listed here, please send me email, with a pointer (URL, ftp site,
etc.) to the PDF file.
Thanks to:
* Patrick Voigt for help with the remote server code.
* Patrick Moreau, Martin P.J. Zinser, and David Mathog for the VMS
* David Boldt and Rick Rodgers for sample man pages.
* Brendan Miller for the icon idea.
* Olly Betts for help testing pdftotext.
* Peter Ganten for the OS/2 port.
* Michael Richmond for the Win32 port of pdftops and pdftotext and the
xpdf/cygwin/XFree86 build instructions.
* Frank M. Siegert for improvements in the PostScript code.
* Leo Smiers for the decryption patches.
* Rainer Menzner for creating t1lib, and for helping me adapt it to
* Pine Tree Systems A/S for funding the OPI and EPS support in
* Easy Software Products for funding the "sh" operator support.
* Tom Kacvinsky for help with FreeType and for being my interface to
the FreeType team.
* Theppitak Karoonboonyanan for help with Thai support.
* Leonard Rosenthol for help and contributions on a bunch of things.
* Alexandros Diamantidis and Maria Adaloglou for help with Greek
* Lawrence Lai for help with the CJK Unicode maps.
Various people have contributed modifications made for use by the
pdftex project:
* Han The Thanh
* Martin Schrรถder of ArtCom GmbH
Adobe Systems Inc., _PDF Reference: Adobe Portable Document Format
Version 1.5_.
[The manual for PDF version 1.5.]
Adobe Systems Inc., _PostScript Language Reference_, 3rd ed.
Addison-Wesley, 1999, ISBN 0-201-37922-8.
[The official PostScript manual.]
Adobe Systems, Inc., _The Type 42 Font Format Specification_,
Adobe Developer Support Technical Specification #5012. 1998.
[Type 42 is the format used to embed TrueType fonts in PostScript
Adobe Systems, Inc., _Adobe CMap and CIDFont Files Specification_,
Adobe Developer Support Technical Specification #5014. 1995.
[CMap file format needed for Japanese and Chinese font support.]
Adobe Systems, Inc., _Adobe-Japan1-4 Character Collection for
CID-Keyed Fonts_, Adobe Developer Support Technical Note #5078.
[The Adobe Japanese character set.]
Adobe Systems, Inc., _Adobe-GB1-4 Character Collection for
CID-Keyed Fonts_, Adobe Developer Support Technical Note #5079.
[The Adobe Chinese GB (simplified) character set.]
Adobe Systems, Inc., _Adobe-CNS1-3 Character Collection for
CID-Keyed Fonts_, Adobe Developer Support Technical Note #5080.
[The Adobe Chinese CNS (traditional) character set.]
Adobe Systems Inc., _Supporting the DCT Filters in PostScript Level
2_, Adobe Developer Support Technical Note #5116. 1992.
[Description of the DCTDecode filter parameters.]
Adobe Systems Inc., _Open Prepress Interface (OPI) Specification -
Version 2.0_, Adobe Developer Support Technical Note #5660. 2000.
Adobe Systems Inc., CMap files.
[The actual CMap files for the 16-bit CJK encodings.]
Adobe Systems Inc., Unicode glyph lists.
[Mappings between character names to Unicode.]
Aldus Corp., _OPI: Open Prepress Interface Specification 1.3_. 1993.
Anonymous, RC4 source code.
[This is the algorithm used to encrypt PDF files.]
T. Boutell, et al., "PNG (Portable Network Graphics) Specification,
Version 1.0. RFC 2083.
[PDF uses the PNG filter algorithms.]
CCITT, "Information Technology - Digital Compression and Coding of
Continuous-tone Still Images - Requirements and Guidelines", CCITT
Recommendation T.81.
[The official JPEG spec.]
A. Chernov, "Registration of a Cyrillic Character Set". RFC 1489.
[Documentation for the KOI8-R Cyrillic encoding.]
Roman Czyborra, "The ISO 8859 Alphabet Soup".
[Documentation on the various ISO 859 encodings.]
L. Peter Deutsch, "ZLIB Compressed Data Format Specification version
3.3". RFC 1950.
[Information on the general format used in FlateDecode streams.]
L. Peter Deutsch, "DEFLATE Compressed Data Format Specification
version 1.3". RFC 1951.
[The definition of the compression algorithm used in FlateDecode
Jim Flowers, "X Logical Font Description Conventions", Version 1.5, X
Consortium Standard, X Version 11, Release 6.1.
[The official specification of X font descriptors, including font
transformation matrices.]
Foley, van Dam, Feiner, and Hughes, _Computer Graphics: Principles and
Practice_, 2nd ed. Addison-Wesley, 1990, ISBN 0-201-12110-7.
[Colorspace conversion functions, Bezier spline math.]
Robert L. Hummel, _Programmer's Technical Reference: Data and Fax
Communications_. Ziff-Davis Press, 1993, ISBN 1-56276-077-7.
[CCITT Group 3 and 4 fax decoding.]
ISO/IEC, _Information technology -- Lossy/lossless coding of bi-level
images_. ISO/IEC 14492, First edition (2001-12-15).
[The official JBIG2 standard. The final draft of this spec is
available from]
ISO/IEC, _Information technology -- JPEG 2000 image coding system --
Part 1: Core coding system_. ISO/IEC 15444-1, First edition
[The official JPEG 2000 standard. The final committee draft of this
spec is available from, but there
were changes made to the bitstream format between that draft and the
published spec.]
ITU, "Standardization of Group 3 facsimile terminals for document
transmission", ITU-T Recommendation T.4, 1999.
ITU, "Facsimile coding schemes and coding control functions for Group 4
facsimile apparatus", ITU-T Recommendation T.6, 1993.
[The official Group 3 and 4 fax standards - used by the CCITTFaxDecode
stream, as well as the JBIG2Decode stream.]
Christoph Loeffler, Adriaan Ligtenberg, George S. Moschytz, "Practical
Fast 1-D DCT Algorithms with 11 Multiplications". IEEE Intl. Conf. on
Acoustics, Speech & Signal Processing, 1989, 988-991.
[The fast IDCT algorithm used in the DCTDecode filter.]
Microsoft, _TrueType 1.0 Font Files_, rev. 1.66. 1995.
[The TrueType font spec (in MS Word format, naturally).]
Thai Industrial Standard, "Standard for Thai Character Codes for
Computers", TIS-620-2533 (1990).
[The TIS-620 Thai encoding.]
P. Peterlin, "ISO 8859-2 (Latin 2) Resources".
[This is a web page with all sorts of useful Latin-2 character set and
font information.]
Charles Poynton, "Color FAQ".
[The mapping from the CIE 1931 (XYZ) color space to RGB.]
R. Rivest, "The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm". RFC 1321.
[MD5 is used in PDF document encryption.]
Unicode Consortium, "Unicode Home Page".
[Online copy of the Unicode spec.]
W3C Recommendation, "PNG (Portable Network Graphics) Specification
Version 1.0".
[Defines the PNG image predictor.]
Gregory K. Wallace, "The JPEG Still Picture Compression Standard".
[Good description of the JPEG standard. Also published in CACM, April
1991, and submitted to IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics.]
F. Yergeau, "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646". RFC 2279.
[A commonly used Unicode encoding.]