Embed PDF Viewing into Web Applications using Adobe Document Cloud View SDK

Akhil Chugh
Nov 12 · 3 min read

Adobe has a long and credible reputation for digital document experiences. As the pioneer for PDF, Adobe has provided industry-leading products that are used by billions of users around the world.

Since PDF has become an open standard, there are several solutions that embed PDF viewing into a web page. But we have learned that users suffer from a fractured experience where solutions inconsistently present download buttons, introduce confusion when opening new tabs, and often do not even adhere to standards for rendering PDFs

So Adobe has released a Document Cloud View SDK.

The View SDK provides a significant benefit to display PDFs in an environment that you control natively. It’s simple to use — only a few lines of JavaScript are all you need to get it done. And it delivers an “Adobe quality” reading experience that matches Acrobat rendering for text and font, graphics, images, and page objects. All of this is important for content owners to ensure their users are getting predictable experiences across all desktop and mobile devices for all major browsers.

And it’s FREE to use.

Try it out!

The View SDK provides a Playground that demos the full capabilities of the SDK. Web developers can try different viewing configurations with example pages before implementing any code within their website. Or they can test the SDK against their webpages.

Out-of-the-box analytics

One of the most important features of the View SDK is Analytics. Tracking PDF events provides insight into user actions and thereby helps web developers and content owners understand and evolve the PDF experience they are delivering to users. The View SDK comes with out-of-the-box integration with Adobe Analytics. By registering a callback with the SDK to listen to PDF events, Adobe Analytics can provide extensive metrics as shown here.

Multiple embed modes

There are three pre-configured embed modes to customize PDF viewing within a web application.

Each embed mode includes further controls such as:

  • Commenting: Disable or Enable commenting tools such as sticky notes, as well as highlight and drawing tools are available. Users can add and save annotations to the PDF.
  • Print and download: download and print the PDF as well as view the left-hand panel to toggle page thumbnails on and off
  • Page controls: Show or hide the page control options in the bottom toolbar, such as zoom level, fit page, fit width, dock/undock page controls, and navigation controls.

End users can also do live form editing to add or edit the text. The SDK will allow the user to interact with other form objects, including radio buttons, checkboxes, lists, and dropdowns (select lists). The View SDK renders forms so that they appear similar to forms viewed in the full Acrobat app.

Using callbacks

The View SDK provides a set of generic callbacks that enable workflow customization. By registering callbacks with specified parameters, website developers can further control the UI related to saving files, user profiles, user settings.

We would love to hear from you.

The Document Cloud View SDK marks the beginning of a very exciting journey for Adobe. Please visit our developer pages and join our Community Forum to learn more about the PDF services that Adobe is building. In addition to the new View SDK, there is an early access program for a PDF Services SDK. With this SDK, you can integrate PDF functions to create and convert PDFs, plus combine multiple files into a single PDF.

Akhil Chugh

Written by

Group Product Manager @ Adobe

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

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