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iText is a library for creating and manipulating PDF files in Java and .NET.

Developer(s) iText Group NV
Initial release 2000
Stable release
7.1.0 / December 1, 2017; 9 months ago (2017-12-01)
Written in Java, C#
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Library
License AGPLv3[1]

iText was written by Bruno Lowagie. The source code was initially distributed as open source under the Mozilla Public License or the GNU Library General Public License open source licenses. However, as of version 5.0.0 (released Dec 7, 2009) it is distributed under the Affero General Public License version 3. A fork of the LGPL/MPL licensed version of iText is currently actively maintained as the OpenPDF library on GitHub.[2] iText is also available through a proprietary license, distributed by iText Software NV.

iText provides support for most advanced PDF features such as PKI-based signatures, 40-bit and 128-bit encryption, color correction, Tagged PDF, PDF forms (AcroForms), PDF/X, color management via ICC profiles and barcodes, and is used by several products and services, including Eclipse BIRT, Jasper Reports, JBoss Seam, Windward Reports, and pdftk.



iText (formerly rugPdf) was developed by Bruno Lowagie in the winter of 1998 as in-house project at Ghent University to create a PDF documents application for the student administration.[citation needed] Preliminary versions lacked most modern functionality, initially only featuring the ability to read and write PDF files, and required developers to be knowledgeable of PDF syntax, objects, operators and operands to work with the library.[citation needed] Leonard Rosenthol, PDF Architect at Adobe, lists iText as one of the early milestones in the history of openness of PDF.[3]

In 1999, Lowagie threw away the rugPdf code and wrote a new library, iText, from scratch. Lowagie created iText as a library that Java developers could use to create PDF documents without knowing PDF syntax,[citation needed] and released it as a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) product on February 14, 2000. In the summer of 2000, Paulo Soares joined the project and is now considered one of the main developers.

In late 2008, iText became available for proprietary license, and in early 2009 iText Software Corp. was formed to be the worldwide licensor of iText products.[4]

iText has since been ported to the .NET Framework under the name iTextSharp, written in C#. While it has a separate codebase, it is synchronized to the main iText release schedule.

ISO standards supportEdit

iText adheres to most modern day PDF standards, including:

Watch PDF and Standards,[7] a talk by Adobe's PDF architect Leonard Rosenthol at the iText Summit in 2012.


iText is a registered trademark by iText Group NV filed to the USPTO on January 13, 2010 with Serial Number 77910731.[8]

iText was originally released under the MPL/LGPL. On December 1, 2009, with the release of iText 5, the license was switched to the Affero General Public License v3.[9] Projects that did not want to provide their source code could either purchase a commercial license to iText 5 or continue using previous versions of iText under the Affero license.[10][11]

During the due diligence process to prepare for iText 5, several IP issues with iText 2 were discovered and fixed. The different IP owners agreed to remove as many copies of the old versions from the web, but the old version still lives on in several forks.[12] Despite this, iText 2.1.7 is still being distributed by iText on Github [13] and on Maven Central.[14] For instance: iText 4 for Java was never officially released. However, iText with the svn tag 4_2_0 was made available with the release description "This is the final version of iText available as an MPL/LGPL library. " [15] It was a fork created by a third party that hijacked the com.lowagie groupId (which is explicitly forbidden in the Guide to uploading artifacts to the Central Repository [16]) because this fools users into upgrading to this third party version, instead of upgrading to an official version.[17]

These forks are still an IP liability, but their relevance is fading because the 2009 version of iText also has many technical flaws:

  • The digital signature functionality is unsafe since SHA-1 was deprecated,
  • There is no support for the PDF/A-2 standard (released in 2011) and the PDF/A-3 standard (released in 2012),
  • There is no support for the PDF/UA standard (released in 2012),
  • There is no support for the PDF 2.0 standard (released in 2017),
  • There is no support for Indic languages,...

All of these features are only available in the more recent versions of iText, and are missing in the problematic forks.


In 2007, SOA World Magazine listed iText as one of the ten Open Source solutions enterprises should be using.[18] James Gosling praised the iText library, using it in a new edition of Huckster.[19] The New York Times also used iText to create PDF versions of their public domain articles.[20]

In 2011, iText was featured on Devoxx (The Java community conference).[21]

In 2013, Deloitte nominated the iText Software Group for the Technology Fast 50 Award in the Benelux. The company was ranked 10th in the Benelux and Third in Belgium.[22][23][24][25]

In 2014, iText won the BelCham Entrepreneurship Award in the category "Most Promising Company of the Year"[26] and Deloitte recognized iText Group NV as the fastest growing technology company in Belgium.[27] Subsequently, the company was ranked #28 in Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 in the EMEA region.[28] iText was also featured on the PDF Days in Cologne, Washington DC en New York, on Java One in San Francisco, on Devoxx in Antwerp, and many other events.

Further readingEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The '' file in iText source code repository". Retrieved 2018-01-10. 
  2. ^ "The OpenPDF project on". Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  3. ^ GoogleMan. "pdf". 
  4. ^ "Feature article in Wereldwijs, a monthly magazine by Flanders Investment and Trade (in Dutch)". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  5. ^ PDF Association (2013-06-06). "How to create PDF/A-3 using iText". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  6. ^ "iText bringing PDF/UA support to Java Implementations". 
  7. ^ PDF and Standards (by Leonard Rosenthol). YouTube. 7 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Search USPTO database (direct links to Trademarks aren't allowed)". 
  9. ^ "Moving to AGPL: changed the headers". 
  10. ^ 1T3XT info (7 December 2009). "Re: [iText-questions] Silent license change?". 
  11. ^ Talk about the (A)GPL by Ywein Van den Brande, IP lawyer and technologist
  12. ^ "Can iText 2.1.7 / iTextSharp 4.1.6 or earlier be used commercially?". 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Guide to uploading artifacts to the Central Repository
  17. ^ "My Maven build is broken, what should I do?". 
  18. ^ "SOA World Magazine". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  19. ^ "James Gosling praises iText". 2007-09-20. Archived from the original on 2013-12-15. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  20. ^ New York Times uses iText on
  21. ^ "iText - Devoxx 2011 - Devoxx". 
  22. ^ Ranking Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Benelux Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Pieterjan Van Leemputten. "Tien Belgen in Deloitte Technology Fast50". 
  24. ^ "De 5 Belgische digitale start-ups met de snelste groei". 
  25. ^ "Deloitte's Fast 50 Newspaper article" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-19. 
  26. ^ "BELCHAM "In the News". Press active in covering last night's Annual Gala - BelCham". Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. 
  27. ^ "iText Group wins Deloitte Technology Fast50". Deloitte Belgium. Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. 
  28. ^

External linksEdit