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Tools of the Trade, Part 1: Creating PDF documents with iText

Article Description

Have you ever wanted to create your own PDF documents without having to first shell out money for PDF-creation software? Good news: You can create those documents with nothing more than Java and iText. This freely available Java library provides the classes for easily constructing PDF documents and adding various kinds of content (such as paragraphs, lists, tables, and images) to those documents. This article by Jeff Friesen, the first in a three-part series that explores useful open-source tools, introduces you to iText and shows you how to create many interesting PDF documents without having to first spend money on PDF-creation software.


Useful tools can help you become a successful Java developer. This article inaugurated a three-part series that introduces three open-source Java tools I have found to be very useful. The focus of this article: iText.

iText is a Java library for creating PDF documents. This article's introduction to that library started you on a journey that you will want to continue by exploring the iText Tutorial. As you become better acquainted with iText through that tutorial, you will learn how to use iText in combination with servlets to deliver PDF documents to Web browsers, how to directly control what gets written to the output stream from inside a PDF document writer, how to encrypt documents, how to introduce watermarks into documents, and more.

The second article in this series will introduce you to JGraph.