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Initial release March 4, 2005 (2005-03-04)[nb 1]
Stable release 0.12.1 / 2009-10-18; 2 months ago[2]
Preview release 0.11.3 / 2009-8-13; 5 months ago[2]
Written in C++
Operating system Linux, Unix, BSD, Windows
Type Library
License GPL v2

In computing, Poppler is a software library that renders PDF documents. It is used by the PDF viewers of the open source GNOME and KDE desktop environments. Poppler development is supported by The name "Poppler" comes from the animated cartoon series Futurama's episode "The Problem with Popplers".[3] Poppler was created with two goals:

  1. to allow easier re-use of a rendering engine to reduce redundant work
  2. to go beyond the goals of Xpdf and integrate with and use functionality provided by the operating system

Poppler has forked the Xpdf-3.0 codebase,[4] and several PDF viewing applications (see below) use it to render PDF documents.


PDF readers using Poppler

A number of free software applications use Poppler to render PDF documents[5]

Application External Links Graphical Toolkit
Evince[6] homepage GTK+
Okular homepage Qt
kde pdf kfile plugin homepage Qt
PopplerKit homepage GNUstep/Cocoa
Vindaloo homepage PopplerKit
ePDFView homepage GTK+
TeXworks homepage Qt
LocoPDF homepage none
pdftotext poppler utils none


Poppler can use two back-ends for drawing PDF documents, Cairo and Splash. Its features may depend on which back-end it employs. A third back-end, available for the Qt4 tool-kit and called "arthur", is considered stable and complete.[7]

Poppler comes with a text rendering backend as well, which can be invoked from the command line utility pdftotext. It's useful for searching for strings in PDFs from the command line, using grep for instance.[8]

Feature Cairo backend Splash backend
Drawing antialiased vector graphics, transparent objects.[5] Cairo does not smooth bitmap images such as scanned documents. Cairo does not depend on the X Window System, so Poppler can run on platforms which do not use an X server, such as Windows or Mac OS. supports minification filtering of bitmaps.[5]

As of version 0.9.0, Poppler supports interactive documents using Javascript.[9]


Planned features

  • Full annotation support is currently lacking the "add annotation" feature, currently only editing of existing annotations is possible.[10] Once complete full annotation support would be possible in PDF document.[11][12]
  • Form-editing support (in preview release). Support to save filled pdf forms to a file.

See also


  1. ^ This file-modification date appears on the version 0.1.1 tarball, the "first real release", according to Poppler's release history.[1] Since Poppler has operated in production environments even with version numbers below 1.0, it makes no sense to count a future 1.0 release as the true release-date.


General references

  • Albert Astals Cid (29 August 2005) The Poppler Library, presentation at the 2005 KDE conference

External links


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