Poppler (software)

Initial release4 March 2005; 17 years ago (2005-03-04)
Stable release
22.11.0 Edit this on Wikidata / 1 November 2022; 5 days ago (1 November 2022)
Written inC++
Operating systemLinux, Unix, BSD, Windows
LicenseGPLv2 or GPLv3
Websitepoppler.freedesktop.org Edit this at Wikidata

Poppler is a free software utility library for rendering Portable Document Format (PDF) documents. Its development is supported by freedesktop.org. It is commonly used on Linux systems, and is used by the PDF viewers of the open source GNOME and KDE desktop environments.

The project was started by Kristian Høgsberg with two goals: to provide PDF rendering functionality as a shared library, to centralize maintenance effort and to go beyond the goals of Xpdf, and to integrate with functionality provided by modern operating systems.

As of the version 0.18 release in 2011, the poppler library represents a complete implementation of ISO 32000-1, the PDF format standard, and is the first major free PDF library to support its forms (only Acroforms but not full XFA forms) and annotations features.

Poppler is a fork of Xpdf-3.0, a PDF file viewer developed by Derek Noonburg of Glyph and Cog, LLC.

The name Poppler comes from the animated series Futurama episode "The Problem with Popplers."


Notable free software applications using Poppler to render PDF documents include:

Application GUI widgets
Evince GTK
Inkscape GTK
LibreOffice 4.x GTK
Okular Qt
pdftotext, pdftohtml, etc. none
TeXstudio Qt
TeXworks Qt
xpopple Motif
Zathura GTK


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 based on Qt4's painting framework "Arthur", is available, but is incomplete and no longer under active development. Bindings exist for Glib and Qt5, that provide interfaces to the Poppler backends, although the Qt5 bindings support only the Splash and Arthur backends. There is a patchset available to add support for the Cairo backend to the Qt5 bindings, but the Poppler project does not currently wish to integrate the feature into the library proper.

Some characteristics of the back-ends include:

Poppler comes with a text-rendering back-end as well, which can be invoked from the command line utility pdftotext. It is useful for searching for strings in PDFs from the command line, using the utility grep, for instance.


pdftotext file.pdf - | grep string

Poppler partially supports annotations and Acroforms. It does not support JavaScript nor the rendering of full XFA forms.


poppler-utils is a collection of command-line utilities built on Poppler's library API, to manage PDF and extract contents:

  • pdfattach – add a new embedded file (attachment) to an existing PDF
  • pdfdetach – extract embedded documents from a PDF
  • pdffonts – lists the fonts used in a PDF
  • pdfimages – extract all embedded images at native resolution from a PDF
  • pdfinfo – list all information of a PDF
  • pdfseparate – extract single pages from a PDF
  • pdftocairo – convert single pages from a PDF to vector or bitmap formats using cairo
  • pdftohtml – convert PDF to HTML format retaining formatting
  • pdftoppm – convert a PDF page to a bitmap
  • pdftops – convert PDF to printable PS format
  • pdftotext – extract all text from PDF
  • pdfunite – merges several PDF

See also

This page was last updated at 2022-11-09 22:59 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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