#pdf #pdfium


A high-level idiomatic Rust wrapper around Pdfium, the C++ PDF library used by the Google Chromium project

28 releases

new 0.7.14 Aug 11, 2022
0.7.11 Jul 28, 2022
0.5.5 Feb 24, 2022

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Idiomatic Rust bindings for Pdfium

pdfium-render provides an idiomatic high-level Rust interface to Pdfium, the C++ PDF library used by the Google Chromium project. With this library, you can render pages in PDF files to bitmaps, load, edit, and extract text and images from existing PDF files, and create new PDF files from scratch.

    use pdfium_render::prelude::*;

    fn export_pdf_to_jpegs(path: &str, password: Option<&str>) -> Result<(), PdfiumError> {
        // Renders each page in the given test PDF file to a separate JPEG file.

        // Bind to a Pdfium library in the same directory as our Rust executable;
        // failing that, fall back to using a Pdfium library provided by the operating system.

        let pdfium = Pdfium::new(
                .or_else(|_| Pdfium::bind_to_system_library())?,

        // Open the PDF document...

        let document = pdfium.load_pdf_from_file(path, password)?;

        // ... set rendering options that will apply to all pages...

        let render_config = PdfRenderConfig::new()
            .rotate_if_landscape(PdfBitmapRotation::Degrees90, true);

        // ... then render each page to a bitmap image, saving each image to a JPEG file.

        for (index, page) in document.pages().iter().enumerate() {
                .as_image() // Renders this page to an Image::DynamicImage...
                .as_rgba8() // ... then converts it to an Image::Image ...
                    format!("test-page-{}.jpg", index), 
                ) // ... and saves it to a file.
                .map_err(|_| PdfiumError::ImageError)?;


pdfium-render binds to a Pdfium library at run-time, allowing for flexible selection of system-provided or bundled Pdfium libraries and providing idiomatic Rust error handling in situations where a Pdfium library is not available. A key advantage of binding to Pdfium at run-time rather than compile-time is that a Rust application using pdfium-render can be compiled to WASM for running in a browser alongside a WASM-packaged build of Pdfium.

pdfium-render aims to eventually provide bindings to all non-interactive functionality provided by Pdfium. This is a work in progress that will be completed by version 1.0 of this crate.


Short, commented examples that demonstrate all the major Pdfium document handling features are available at https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/tree/master/examples. These examples demonstrate:

  • Rendering pages to bitmaps.
  • Text extraction.
  • Page object introspection.
  • Creation of new documents and new pages.
  • Creation of page objects for text, paths, and bitmaps.
  • Document concatenation.
  • Multi-page tiled output.
  • Watermarking.
  • Thread safety.
  • Compiling to WASM.

What's new

Version 0.7.14 adds compatibility with web workers to the WASM implementation of pdfium-render, thanks to an excellent contribution from https://github.com/NyxCode.

Version 0.7.13 adds transformation functions to PdfRenderConfig, allowing a page to be optionally moved, scaled, rotated, and skewed during rendering, and adds clipping support to PdfRenderConfig, allowing for rendering of only a portion of a page.

Version 0.7.12 adds additional page rendering functions PdfPage::render_into_bitmap() and PdfPage::render_into_bitmap_with_config(). These functions offer higher performance as they allow re-using an existing PdfBitmap object rather than creating (and allocating memory for) a new PdfBitmap on every page render.

Binding to Pdfium

pdfium-render does not include Pdfium itself. You have several options:

  • Bind to a dynamically-built Pdfium library provided by the operating system.
  • Bind to a dynamically-built Pdfium library packaged alongside your Rust executable.
  • Bind to a statically-built Pdfium library linked to your executable at compile time.

When compiling to WASM, packaging an external build of Pdfium as a separate WASM module is essential.

Dynamic linking

Binding to a dynamically-built Pdfium library is the simplest option. On Android, a system-provided libpdfium.so is packaged as part of the operating system (although recent versions of Android no longer permit user applications to access it); alternatively, you can package a pre-built dynamic library appropriate for your operating system alongside your Rust executable.

If you are compiling a native (i.e. non-WASM) build, and you place an appropriate Pdfium library in the same folder as your compiled application, then binding to it dynamically at runtime is as simple as:

    use pdfium_render::prelude::*;

    let pdfium = Pdfium::new(

A common pattern used in the examples at https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/tree/master/examples is to first attempt to bind to a Pdfium library in the same folder as the compiled example, and attempt to fall back to a system-provided library if that fails:

    use pdfium_render::prelude::*;

    let pdfium = Pdfium::new(
            .or_else(|_| Pdfium::bind_to_system_library())
            .unwrap() // Or use the ? unwrapping operator to pass any error up to the caller

At the time of writing, the WASM builds at https://github.com/bblanchon/pdfium-binaries/releases are compiled with a non-growable WASM heap memory allocator. This means that attempting to open a PDF document longer than just a few pages will result in an unrecoverable out of memory error. The WASM builds at https://github.com/paulocoutinhox/pdfium-lib/releases are recommended as they do not have this problem.

Static linking

If you prefer to link Pdfium directly into your executable at compile time, use the optional static crate feature. This enables the Pdfium::bind_to_statically_linked_library() function which binds directly to the Pdfium functions included in your executable:

    use pdfium_render::prelude::*;

    let pdfium = Pdfium::new(Pdfium::bind_to_statically_linked_library().unwrap());

As a convenience, pdfium-render can instruct cargo to link a statically-built Pdfium library for you. Set the path to the directory containing your pre-built library using the PDFIUM_STATIC_LIB_PATH environment variable when you run cargo build, like so:

    PDFIUM_STATIC_LIB_PATH="/path/containing/your/static/pdfium/library" cargo build

pdfium-render will pass the following flags to cargo:


This saves you writing a custom build.rs yourself. If you have your own build pipeline that links Pdfium statically into your executable, simply leave the PDFIUM_STATIC_LIB_PATH environment variable unset.

Note that the path you set in PDFIUM_STATIC_LIB_PATH should not include the filename of the library itself; it should just be the path of the containing directory. You must make sure your statically-built library is named in the appropriate way for your target platform (libpdfium.a on Linux and macOS, for example) in order for the Rust compiler to locate it.

pdfium-render will not build Pdfium for you; you must build Pdfium yourself, or source a pre-built static archive from elsewhere.

Compiling to WASM

See https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/tree/master/examples for a full example that shows how to bundle a Rust application using pdfium-render alongside a pre-built Pdfium WASM module for inspection and rendering of PDF files in a web browser.

The Pdfium::load_pdf_from_file() and Pdfium::load_pdf_from_reader() functions are not available when running in the browser. The Pdfium::load_pdf_from_bytes() function is available, and the following additional functions are provided:

  • The Pdfium::load_pdf_from_fetch() function uses the browser's built-in fetch() API to download a URL over the network and open it as a PDF document.
  • The Pdfium::load_pdf_from_blob() function opens a PDF document from the byte data in a Javascript Blob or File object, including File objects returned from an <input type="file"> element.

The PdfDocument::save_to_file() function is not available when running in the browser. The PdfDocument::save_to_bytes() and PdfDocument::save_to_writer() functions are available, and the following additional function is provided:

  • The PdfDocument::save_to_blob() function returns the byte data for the document as a Javascript Blob object.

The following additional functions are provided during rendering:

  • The PdfBitmap::as_image_data() function renders directly to a Javascript ImageData object, ready to display in an HTML <canvas> element.
  • The PdfBitmap::as_array() function renders directly to a Javascript Uint8Array object. This function avoids a memory allocation and copy required by both PdfBitmap::as_bytes() and PdfBitmap::as_image_data(), making it preferable for applications where performance is paramount.

The PdfFont::load_type1_from_file() and PdfFont::load_true_type_from_file() functions are not available when running in the browser. The following additional functions are provided:

  • The PdfFont::load_type1_from_fetch() function uses the browser's built-in fetch() API to download a URL over the network and load it as a Type 1 font.
  • The PdfFont::load_true_type_from_fetch() function uses the browser's built-in fetch() API to download a URL over the network and load it as a TrueType font.
  • The PdfFont::load_type1_from_blob() function loads a Type 1 font from the byte data in a Javascript Blob or File object, including File objects returned from an <input type="file"> element.
  • The PdfFont::load_true_type_from_blob() function loads a TrueType font from the byte data in a Javascript Blob or File object, including File objects returned from an <input type="file"> element.


Pdfium makes no guarantees about thread safety and should be assumed not to be thread safe. The Pdfium authors specifically recommend that parallel processing, not multi-threading, be used to process multiple documents simultaneously.

pdfium-render achieves thread safety by locking access to Pdfium behind a mutex; each thread must acquire exclusive access to this mutex in order to make any call to Pdfium. This has the effect of sequencing all calls to Pdfium as if they were single-threaded, even when using pdfium-render from multiple threads. This approach offers no performance benefit, but it ensures that Pdfium will not crash when running as part of a multi-threaded application.

An example of safely using pdfium-render as part of a multithreaded parallel iterator is available at https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/tree/master/examples.

Optional features

This crate provides the following optional features:

  • bindings: uses cbindgen to generate Rust bindings to the Pdfium functions defined in the include/*.h files each time cargo build is run. If cbindgen or any of its dependencies are not available then the build will fail.
  • static: enables binding to a statically-linked build of Pdfium. See the "Static linking" section above.
  • thread_safe: wraps access to Pdfium behind a mutex to ensure thread-safe access to Pdfium. See the "Multithreading" section above.

The thread_safe feature is enabled by default. All other features are disabled by default.

Porting existing Pdfium code from other languages

The high-level idiomatic Rust interface provided by pdfium-render is built on top of raw FFI bindings defined in the PdfiumLibraryBindings trait. It is completely feasible to use these raw FFI bindings directly if you wish, making porting existing code that calls FPDF_* functions trivial while still gaining the benefits of late binding and WASM compatibility. For instance, the following code snippet (taken from a C++ sample):

    string test_doc = "test.pdf";

    FPDF_DOCUMENT doc = FPDF_LoadDocument(test_doc, NULL);
    // ... do something with doc

would translate to the following Rust code:

    let bindings = Pdfium::bind_to_system_library().unwrap();
    let test_doc = "test.pdf";

    let doc = bindings.FPDF_LoadDocument(test_doc, None);
    // ... do something with doc

Pdfium's API uses three different string types: classic C-style null-terminated char arrays, UTF-8 byte arrays, and a UTF-16LE byte array type named FPDF_WIDESTRING. For functions that take a C-style string or a UTF-8 byte array, pdfium-render's binding will take the standard Rust &str type. For functions that take an FPDF_WIDESTRING, pdfium-render exposes two functions: the vanilla FPDF_*() function that takes an FPDF_WIDESTRING, and an additional FPDF_*_str() helper function that takes a standard Rust &str and converts it internally to an FPDF_WIDESTRING before calling Pdfium. Examples of functions with additional _str() helpers include FPDFBookmark_Find(), FPDFAnnot_SetStringValue(), and FPDFText_SetText().

The PdfiumLibraryBindings::get_pdfium_utf16le_bytes_from_str() and PdfiumLibraryBindings::get_string_from_pdfium_utf16le_bytes() utility functions are provided for converting to and from FPDF_WIDESTRING in your own code.

Development status

The initial focus of this crate was on rendering pages in a PDF file; consequently, FPDF_* functions related to page rendering were prioritised. By 1.0, the functionality of all FPDF_* functions exported by all Pdfium modules will be available, with the exception of certain functions specific to interactive scripting, user interaction, and printing.

  • Releases numbered 0.4.x added support for all page rendering Pdfium functions to pdfium-render.
  • Releases numbered 0.5.x-0.6.x added support for most read-only Pdfium functions to pdfium-render.
  • Releases numbered 0.7.x aim to progressively add support for all Pdfium page object creation and editing functions to pdfium-render.
  • Releases numbered 0.8.x aim to progressively add support for all other Pdfium editing functions to pdfium-render.
  • Releases numbered 0.9.x aim to fill any remaining gaps in the high-level interface prior to 1.0.

By version 0.8.0, pdfium-render should provide useful coverage for the vast majority of common use cases, whether rendering existing documents or creating new ones.

There are 368 FPDF_* functions in the Pdfium API. As of version 0.7.14, 270 (73%) have bindings available in pdfium-render, with the functionality of roughly three-quarters of these available via the pdfium-render high-level interface.

Some functions and type definitions in the high-level interface have been renamed or revised since their initial implementation. The initial implementations are still available but are marked as deprecated. These deprecated items will be removed in release 0.9.0.

If you need a binding to a Pdfium function that is not currently available, just raise an issue.

Version history

  • 0.7.14: fixes a bug in the WASM implementation of FPDF_StructElement_GetStringAttribute(); pins required version of image crate to at least 0.24.0 or later to avoid incompatibility between the DynamicImage trait definitions in 0.23.x and 0.24.x; adds compatibility with web workers to the WASM implementation, thanks to an excellent contribution from https://github.com/NyxCode.
  • 0.7.13: adds transformation and clipping functions to PdfRenderConfig; adds bindings for FPDF_RenderPageBitmapWithMatrix(); deprecates PdfRenderConfig::rotate_if_portait() in favour of the correctly-spelled PdfRenderConfig::rotate_if_portrait(). Deprecated items will be removed in release 0.9.0.
  • 0.7.12: adds PdfPage::render_into_bitmap() and PdfPage::render_into_bitmap_with_config() functions for higher performance; deprecates PdfPage::get_bitmap() in favour of PdfPage::render(); deprecates PdfPage::get_bitmap_with_config() in favour of PdfPage::render_with_config(); deprecates PdfBitmapConfig in favour of PdfRenderConfig; deprecates PdfBitmap::render() as the function is no longer necessary; deprecates PdfRenderConfig::rotate_if_portait() to correct a typo in the function name. Deprecated items will be removed in release 0.9.0.
  • 0.7.11: adds the new WASM-specific PdfBitmap::as_array() function as a higher performance alternative to the cross-platform PdfBitmap::as_bytes() function, thanks to an excellent contribution from https://github.com/NyxCode.
  • 0.7.10: corrects some typos in documentation; adds additional constructors to PdfPageImageObject that apply a specified width and/or height at object creation time.
  • 0.7.9: adds retrieval of the list of image filters applied to a PdfPageImageObject; adds the PdfColorSpace enum; adds bindings for the FPDF_*Signature*(), FPDFSignatureObj_*(), and FPDF_StructTree_*() functions.
  • 0.7.8: adds image support to the PdfPageImageObject struct, the PdfPageObjects::add_image_object() and PdfPageObjects::create_image_object() functions, additional convenience functions for loading fonts from files and readers to PdfFont, and bindings for FPDF_VIEWERREF_Get*() functions.
  • 0.7.7: adds the thread_safe crate feature and the accompanying example in examples/thread_safe.rs.
  • 0.7.6: adds retrieval of text settings on a character-by-character basis to the PdfPageText and PdfPageTextObject objects; adds PdfPageTextSegment and PdfPageTextChar structs to the high-level interface; adds retrieval of current transformation settings to all page objects; adds the PdfPageTextObject::scaled_font_size() function and renames PdfPageTextObject::font_size() to PdfPageTextObject::unscaled_font_size() as these names make clearer the differences between scaled and unscaled font sizes in text objects; adds bindings for all remaining FPDFText_*() functions.
  • 0.7.5: corrects a bug in error handling on Windows. See https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/issues/24 for more information.
  • 0.7.4: adds the PdfPageGroupObject::remove_objects_from_page() function; renamed PdfPageObjects::delete_object() and PdfPageObjects::delete_object_at_index() functions to PdfPageObjects::remove_object() and PdfPageObjects::remove_object_at_index() as these names better reflect the underlying operation that occurs.
  • 0.7.3: corrects a bug in the implementation of PdfPages::append() introduced in 0.7.2.
  • 0.7.2: adds object groups for manipulating and transforming groups of page objects as if they were a single object, and the PdfPages::watermark() function for applying individualized watermarks to any or all pages in a document. Fixes a potential double-free bug in PdfFont::drop().
  • 0.7.1: adds path segment creation to the PdfPagePathObject object, convenience functions for quickly creating rectangles, ellipses, and circles, and the PdfPageObjects::add_path_object() function.
  • 0.7.0: adds PdfPermissions collection, adds document loading and saving support, adds initial creation and editing support for documents, pages, and text objects, and improves WASM document file handling.
  • 0.6.0: fixes some typos in documentation, updates upstream Pdfium WASM package source repository name.
  • 0.5.9: corrects a bug in the statically linked bindings implementation. Adjusted tests to cover both dynamic and statically linked bindings implementations.
  • 0.5.8: corrects a bug in the WASM implementation of certain FPDFAnnot_*() functions. Resolves a potential memory leak affecting the WASM implementation of various FPDF_*() functions.
  • 0.5.7: adds support for binding to a statically-linked build of Pdfium, adds bindgen and static crate features.
  • 0.5.6: adds pdfium_render::prelude, adds bindings for FPDFAnnot_*() and FPDFPage_*Annot*() functions, adds PdfPageAnnotations collection and PdfPageAnnotation struct to the high-level interface.
  • 0.5.5: fixes two bugs in the WASM implementation, one to do with colors, one to do with text extraction. See https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/issues/9 and https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/issues/11 for more information.
  • 0.5.4: changes default setting of PdfBitmapConfig::set_reverse_byte_order() to true to switch from Pdfium's default BGRA8 pixel format to RGBA8. This is necessary since the image crate dropped support for BGRA8 in version 0.24. See https://github.com/ajrcarey/pdfium-render/issues/9 for more information.
  • 0.5.3: adds bindings for FPDFBookmark_*(), FPDFPageObj_*(), FPDFText_*(), and FPDFFont_*() functions, adds PdfPageObjects, PdfPageText, and PdfBookmarks collections to the high-level interface.
  • 0.5.2: adds bindings for FPDF_GetPageBoundingBox(), FPDFDoc_GetPageMode(), FPDFPage_Get*Box(), and FPDFPage_Set*Box() functions, adds PdfPageBoundaries collection to the high-level interface.
  • 0.5.1: adds bindings for FPDFPage_GetRotation() and FPDFPage_SetRotation() functions, adds PdfMetadata collection to the high-level interface.
  • 0.5.0: adds rendering of annotations and form field elements, thanks to an excellent contribution from https://github.com/inzanez.
  • 0.4.2: bug fixes in PdfBitmapConfig implementation.
  • 0.4.1: improvements to documentation and READMEs.
  • 0.4.0: initial release of minimal page rendering functionality.


~178K SLoC