Support models

Support models are abstracts over “raw” objects within a Pdf. For example, a page in a PDF is a Dictionary with set to /Type of /Page. The Dictionary in that case is the “raw” object. Upon establishing what type of object it is, we can wrap it with a support model that adds features to ensure consistency with the PDF specification.

pikepdf does not currently apply support models to “raw” objects automatically, but might do so in a future release (this would break backward compatibility).

class pikepdf.Page

Support model wrapper around a raw page dictionary object.

To initialize a Page support model:

from pikepdf import Pdf, Page

Pdf = open(...)
page_support_model = Page(pdf.pages[0])
add_content_token_filter(self: pikepdf.Page, tf: pikepdf.TokenFilter) None

Attach a pikepdf.TokenFilter to a page’s content stream.

This function applies token filters lazily, if/when the page’s content stream is read for any reason, such as when the PDF is saved. If never access, the token filter is not applied.

Multiple token filters may be added to a page/content stream.

Token filters may not be removed after being attached to a Pdf. Close and reopen the Pdf to remove token filters.

If the page’s contents is an array of streams, it is coalesced.

add_overlay(other, rect=None)

Overlay another object on this page.

Overlays will be drawn after all previous content, potentially drawing on top of existing content.


New in version 2.14.

add_resource(res, res_type, name=None, *, prefix='', replace_existing=True)

Adds a new resource to the page’s Resources dictionary.

If the Resources dictionaries do not exist, they will be created.

  • self – The object to add to the resources dictionary.

  • res (pikepdf.objects.Object) – The dictionary object to insert into the resources dictionary.

  • res_type (pikepdf.objects.Name) – Should be one of the following Resource dictionary types: ExtGState, ColorSpace, Pattern, Shading, XObject, Font, Properties.

  • name (Optional[pikepdf.objects.Name]) – The name of the object. If omitted, a random name will be generated with enough randomness to be globally unique.

  • prefix (str) – A prefix for the name of the object. Allows conveniently namespacing when using random names, e.g. prefix=”Im” for images. Mutually exclusive with name parameter.

  • replace_existing (bool) – If the name already exists in one of the resource dictionaries, remove it.


The name of the object.

Return type



>>> resource_name = Page(pdf.pages[0]).add_resource(formxobj, Name.XObject)

New in version 2.3.

Changed in version 2.14: If res does not belong to the same Pdf that owns this page, a copy of res is automatically created and added instead. In previous versions, it was necessary to change for this case manually.

add_underlay(other, rect=None)

Underlay another object beneath this page.

Underlays will be drawn before all other content, so they may be overdrawn partially or completely.


New in version 2.14.

as_form_xobject(self: pikepdf.Page, handle_transformations: bool = True) pikepdf.Object

Return a form XObject that draws this page.

This is useful for n-up operations, underlay, overlay, thumbnail generation, or any other case in which it is useful to replicate the contents of a page in some other context. The dictionaries are shallow copies of the original page dictionary, and the contents are coalesced from the page’s contents. The resulting object handle is not referenced anywhere.


handle_transformations (bool) – If True, the resulting form XObject’s /Matrix will be set to replicate rotation (/Rotate) and scaling (/UserUnit) in the page’s dictionary. In this way, the page’s transformations will be preserved when placing this object on another page.

calc_form_xobject_placement(self: pikepdf.Page, formx: pikepdf.Object, name: pikepdf.Object, rect: pikepdf.Rectangle, *, invert_transformations: bool = True, allow_shrink: bool = True, allow_expand: bool = False) bytes

Generate content stream segment to place a Form XObject on this page.

The content stream segment must be then be added to the page’s content stream.

The default keyword parameters will preserve the aspect ratio.

  • formx – The Form XObject to place.

  • name – The name of the Form XObject in this page’s /Resources dictionary.

  • rect – Rectangle describing the desired placement of the Form XObject.

  • invert_transformations – Apply /Rotate and /UserUnit scaling when determining FormX Object placement.

  • allow_shrink – Allow the Form XObject to take less than the full dimensions of rect.

  • allow_expand – Expand the Form XObject to occupy all of rect.

New in version 2.14.

contents_add(*args, **kwargs)

Overloaded function.

  1. contents_add(self: pikepdf.Page, contents: pikepdf.Object, prepend: bool = False) -> None

    Append or prepend to an existing page’s content stream using an existing stream object.

    New in version 2.14.

  2. contents_add(self: pikepdf.Page, contents: bytes, *, prepend: bool = False) -> None

    Append or prepend to an existing page’s content stream from bytes.

    New in version 2.14.

contents_coalesce(self: pikepdf.Page) None

Coalesce a page’s content streams.

A page’s content may be a stream or an array of streams. If this page’s content is an array, concatenate the streams into a single stream. This can be useful when working with files that split content streams in arbitrary spots, such as in the middle of a token, as that can confuse some software.

property cropbox

This page’s effective /CropBox, in PDF units.

If the /CropBox is not defined, the /MediaBox is returned.

externalize_inline_images(self: pikepdf.Page, min_size: int = 0) None

Convert inlines image to normal (external) images.


min_size (int) – minimum size in bytes

get_filtered_contents(self: pikepdf.Page, tf: TokenFilter) bytes

Apply a pikepdf.TokenFilter to a content stream, without modifying it.

This may be used when the results of a token filter do not need to be applied, such as when filtering is being used to retrieve information rather than edit the content stream.

Note that it is possible to create a subclassed TokenFilter that saves information of interest to its object attributes; it is not necessary to return data in the content stream.

To modify the content stream, use pikepdf.Page.add_content_token_filter().


the modified content stream

Return type


property index

Returns the zero-based index of this page in the pages list.

That is, returns n such that pdf.pages[n] == this_page. A ValueError exception is thrown if the page is not attached to a Pdf.

Requires O(n) search.

New in version 2.2.

property label

Returns the page label for this page, accounting for section numbers.

For example, if the PDF defines a preface with lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii…), followed by standard numbers, followed by an appendix (A-1, A-2, …), this function returns the appropriate label as a string.

It is possible for a PDF to define page labels such that multiple pages have the same labels. Labels are not guaranteed to be unique.

Note that this requires a O(n) search over all pages, to look up the page’s index.

New in version 2.2.

Changed in version 2.9: Returns the ordinary page number if no special rules for page numbers are defined.

property mediabox

This page’s /MediaBox, in PDF units.

property obj

Get the underlying pikepdf.Object.

parse_contents(self: pikepdf.Page, arg0: pikepdf.StreamParser) None

Parse a page’s content streams using a pikepdf.StreamParser.

The content stream may be interpreted by the StreamParser but is not altered.

If the page’s contents is an array of streams, it is coalesced.

remove_unreferenced_resources(self: pikepdf.Page) None

Removes from the resources dictionary any object not referenced in the content stream.

A page’s resources dictionary maps names to objects elsewhere in the file. This method walks through a page’s contents and keeps tracks of which resources are referenced somewhere in the contents. Then it removes from the resources dictionary any object that is not referenced in the contents. This method is used by page splitting code to avoid copying unused objects in files that used shared resource dictionaries across multiple pages.

property resources

Return this pages resources dictionary.

rotate(self: pikepdf.Page, angle: int, relative: bool) None

Rotate a page.

If relative is False, set the rotation of the page to angle. Otherwise, add angle to the rotation of the page. angle must be a multiple of 90. Adding 90 to the rotation rotates clockwise by 90 degrees.

property trimbox

This page’s effective /TrimBox, in PDF units.

If the /TrimBox is not defined, the /CropBox is returned (and if /CropBox is not defined, /MediaBox is returned).

class pikepdf.PdfMatrix(*args)

Support class for PDF content stream matrices

PDF content stream matrices are 3x3 matrices summarized by a shorthand (a, b, c, d, e, f) which correspond to the first two column vectors. The final column vector is always (0, 0, 1) since this is using homogenous coordinates.

PDF uses row vectors. That is, vr @ A' gives the effect of transforming a row vector vr=(x, y, 1) by the matrix A'. Most textbook treatments use A @ vc where the column vector vc=(x, y, 1)'.

(@ is the Python matrix multiplication operator.)

Addition and other operations are not implemented because they’re not that meaningful in a PDF context (they can be defined and are mathematically meaningful in general).

PdfMatrix objects are immutable. All transformations on them produce a new matrix.


Return one of the six “active values” of the affine matrix. e and f correspond to x- and y-axis translation respectively. The other four letters are a 2×2 matrix that can express rotation, scaling and skewing; a=1 b=0 c=0 d=1 is the identity matrix.


Encode this matrix in binary suitable for including in a PDF

static identity()

Constructs and returns an identity matrix


Concatenates a rotation matrix on this matrix

scaled(x, y)

Concatenates a scaling matrix on this matrix

property shorthand

Return the 6-tuple (a,b,c,d,e,f) that describes this matrix

translated(x, y)

Translates this matrix

class pikepdf.PdfImage(obj)

Support class to provide a consistent API for manipulating PDF images

The data structure for images inside PDFs is irregular and flexible, making it difficult to work with without introducing errors for less typical cases. This class addresses these difficulties by providing a regular, Pythonic API similar in spirit (and convertible to) the Python Pillow imaging library.


Extract the image as a Pillow Image, using decompression as necessary



extract_to(*, stream=None, fileprefix='')

Attempt to extract the image directly to a usable image file

If possible, the compressed data is extracted and inserted into a compressed image file format without transcoding the compressed content. If this is not possible, the data will be decompressed and extracted to an appropriate format.

Because it is not known until attempted what image format will be extracted, users should not assume what format they are getting back. When saving the image to a file, use a temporary filename, and then rename the file to its final name based on the returned file extension.


>>> im.extract_to(stream=bytes_io)
>>> im.extract_to(fileprefix='/tmp/image00')
  • stream – Writable stream to write data to.

  • fileprefix (str or Path) – The path to write the extracted image to, without the file extension.


If fileprefix was provided, then the fileprefix with the appropriate extension. If no fileprefix, then an extension indicating the file type.

Return type:


get_stream_buffer(decode_level=<StreamDecodeLevel.specialized: 2>)

Access this image with the buffer protocol

property icc

If an ICC profile is attached, return a Pillow object that describe it.

Most of the information may be found in icc.profile.



property is_inline

False for image XObject

read_bytes(decode_level=<StreamDecodeLevel.specialized: 2>)

Decompress this image and return it as unencoded bytes


Show the image however PIL wants to

class pikepdf.PdfInlineImage(*, image_data, image_object)

Support class for PDF inline images


image_object (tuple) –

class pikepdf.models.PdfMetadata(pdf, pikepdf_mark=True, sync_docinfo=True, overwrite_invalid_xml=True)

Read and edit the metadata associated with a PDF

The PDF specification contain two types of metadata, the newer XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform, XML-based) and older DocumentInformation dictionary. The PDF 2.0 specification removes the DocumentInformation dictionary.

This primarily works with XMP metadata, but includes methods to generate XMP from DocumentInformation and will also coordinate updates to DocumentInformation so that the two are kept consistent.

XMP metadata fields may be accessed using the full XML namespace URI or the short name. For example metadata['dc:description'] and metadata['{}description'] both refer to the same field. Several common XML namespaces are registered automatically.

See the XMP specification for details of allowable fields.

To update metadata, use a with block.


>>> with pdf.open_metadata() as records:
        records['dc:title'] = 'New Title'
load_from_docinfo(docinfo, delete_missing=False, raise_failure=False)

Populate the XMP metadata object with DocumentInfo

  • docinfo – a DocumentInfo, e.g pdf.docinfo

  • delete_missing (bool) – if the entry is not DocumentInfo, delete the equivalent from XMP

  • raise_failure (bool) – if True, raise any failure to convert docinfo; otherwise warn and continue

Return type


A few entries in the deprecated DocumentInfo dictionary are considered approximately equivalent to certain XMP records. This method copies those entries into the XMP metadata.

property pdfa_status: str

Returns the PDF/A conformance level claimed by this PDF, or False

A PDF may claim to PDF/A compliant without this being true. Use an independent verifier such as veraPDF to test if a PDF is truly conformant.


The conformance level of the PDF/A, or an empty string if the PDF does not claim PDF/A conformance. Possible valid values are: 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 2U, 3A, 3B, 3U.

Return type


property pdfx_status: str

Returns the PDF/X conformance level claimed by this PDF, or False

A PDF may claim to PDF/X compliant without this being true. Use an independent verifier such as veraPDF to test if a PDF is truly conformant.


The conformance level of the PDF/X, or an empty string if the PDF does not claim PDF/X conformance.

Return type


class pikepdf.models.Encryption(*, owner, user, R=6, allow=Permissions(accessibility=True, extract=True, modify_annotation=True, modify_assembly=False, modify_form=True, modify_other=True, print_lowres=True, print_highres=True), aes=True, metadata=True)

Specify the encryption settings to apply when a PDF is saved.

  • owner (str) – The owner password to use. This allows full control of the file. If blank, the PDF will be encrypted and present as “(SECURED)” in PDF viewers. If the owner password is blank, the user password should be as well.

  • user (str) – The user password to use. With this password, some restrictions will be imposed by a typical PDF reader. If blank, the PDF can be opened by anyone, but only modified as allowed by the permissions in allow.

  • R (int) – Select the security handler algorithm to use. Choose from: 2, 3, 4 or 6. By default, the highest version of is selected (6). 5 is a deprecated algorithm that should not be used.

  • allow (pikepdf.models.encryption.Permissions) – The permissions to set. If omitted, all permissions are granted to the user.

  • aes (bool) – If True, request the AES algorithm. If False, use RC4. If omitted, AES is selected whenever possible (R >= 4).

  • metadata (bool) – If True, also encrypt the PDF metadata. If False, metadata is not encrypted. Reading document metadata without decryption may be desirable in some cases. Requires aes=True. If omitted, metadata is encrypted whenever possible.

class pikepdf.models.Outline(pdf, max_depth=15, strict=False)

Maintains a intuitive interface for creating and editing PDF document outlines, according to the PDF 1.7 Reference Manual section 12.3.

  • pdf (pikepdf._qpdf.Pdf) – PDF document object.

  • max_depth (int) – Maximum recursion depth to consider when reading the outline.

  • strict (bool) – If set to False (default) silently ignores structural errors. Setting it to True raises a pikepdf.OutlineStructureError if any object references re-occur while the outline is being read or written.

class pikepdf.models.OutlineItem(title, destination=None, page_location=None, action=None, obj=None, *, left=None, top=None, right=None, bottom=None, zoom=None)

Manages a single item in a PDF document outlines structure, including nested items.

  • title (str) – Title of the outlines item.

  • destination (Optional[Tuple[int, str, pikepdf.objects.Object]]) – Page number, destination name, or any other PDF object to be used as a reference when clicking on the outlines entry. Note this should be None if an action is used instead. If set to a page number, it will be resolved to a reference at the time of writing the outlines back to the document.

  • page_location (Optional[Union[pikepdf.models.outlines.PageLocation, str]]) – Supplemental page location for a page number in destination, e.g. PageLocation.Fit. May also be a simple string such as 'FitH'.

  • action (Optional[pikepdf.objects.Dictionary]) – Action to perform when clicking on this item. Will be ignored during writing if destination is also set.

  • obj (Optional[pikepdf.objects.Dictionary]) – Dictionary object representing this outlines item in a Pdf. May be None for creating a new object. If present, an existing object is modified in-place during writing and original attributes are retained.

  • left (Optional[float]) – Describes the viewport position associated with a destination.

  • top (Optional[float]) – Describes the viewport position associated with a destination.

  • bottom (Optional[float]) – Describes the viewport position associated with a destination.

  • right (Optional[float]) – Describes the viewport position associated with a destination.

  • zoom (Optional[float]) – Describes the viewport position associated with a destination.

This object does not contain any information about higher-level or neighboring elements.

classmethod from_dictionary_object(obj)

Creates a OutlineItem from a PDF document’s Dictionary object. Does not process nested items.


obj (pikepdf.objects.Dictionary) – Dictionary object representing a single outline node.

to_dictionary_object(pdf, create_new=False)

Creates a Dictionary object from this outline node’s data, or updates the existing object. Page numbers are resolved to a page reference on the input Pdf object.

  • pdf (pikepdf._qpdf.Pdf) – PDF document object.

  • create_new (bool) – If set to True, creates a new object instead of modifying an existing one in-place.

Return type


class pikepdf.Permissions(accessibility=True, extract=True, modify_annotation=True, modify_assembly=False, modify_form=True, modify_other=True, print_lowres=True, print_highres=True)

Stores the user-level permissions for an encrypted PDF.

A compliant PDF reader/writer should enforce these restrictions on people who have the user password and not the owner password. In practice, either password is sufficient to decrypt all document contents. A person who has the owner password should be allowed to modify the document in any way. pikepdf does not enforce the restrictions in any way; it is up to application developers to enforce them as they see fit.

Unencrypted PDFs implicitly have all permissions allowed. Permissions can only be changed when a PDF is saved.

  • accessibility (bool) –

  • extract (bool) –

  • modify_annotation (bool) –

  • modify_assembly (bool) –

  • modify_form (bool) –

  • modify_other (bool) –

  • print_lowres (bool) –

  • print_highres (bool) –

property accessibility

Can users use screen readers and accessibility tools to read the PDF?

property extract

Can users extract contents?

property modify_annotation

Can users modify annotations?

property modify_assembly

Can users arrange document contents?

property modify_form

Can users fill out formts?

property modify_other

Can users modify the document?

property print_highres

Can users print the document at high resolution?

property print_lowres

Can users print the document at low resolution?

class pikepdf.models.EncryptionMethod

Describes which encryption method was used on a particular part of a PDF. These values are returned by pikepdf.EncryptionInfo but are not currently used to specify how encryption is requested.


Data was not encrypted.


An unknown algorithm was used.


The RC4 encryption algorithm was used (obsolete).


The AES-based algorithm was used as described in the PDF 1.7 Reference Manual.


An improved version of the AES-based algorithm was used as described in the Adobe Supplement to the ISO 32000, requiring PDF 1.7 extension level 3. This algorithm still uses AES, but allows both AES-128 and AES-256, and improves how the key is derived from the password.

class pikepdf.models.EncryptionInfo(encdict)

Reports encryption information for an encrypted PDF.

This information may not be changed, except when a PDF is saved. This object is not used to specify the encryption settings to save a PDF, due to non-overlapping information requirements.


encdict (Dict[str, Any]) –

property P: int

Encoded permission bits.

See Pdf.allow() instead.

property R: int

Revision number of the security handler.

property V: int

Version of PDF password algorithm.

property bits: int

The number of encryption bits.

property encryption_key: bytes

The RC4 or AES encryption key used for this file.

property file_method: str

Encryption method used to encode the whole file.

property stream_method: str

Encryption method used to encode streams.

property string_method: str

Encryption method used to encode strings.

property user_password: bytes

If possible, return the user password.

The user password can only be retrieved when a PDF is opened with the owner password and when older versions of the encryption algorithm are used.

The password is always returned as bytes even if it has a clear Unicode representation.

class pikepdf.Annotation

Describes an annotation in a PDF, such as a comment, underline, copy editing marks, interactive widgets, redactions, 3D objects, sound and video clips.

See the PDF 1.7 Reference Manual section 12.5.6 for the full list of annotation types and definition of terminology.

New in version 2.12.

property appearance_dict

Returns the annotations appearance dictionary.

property appearance_state

Returns the annotation’s appearance state (or None).

For a checkbox or radio button, the appearance state may be pikepdf.Name.On or pikepdf.Name.Off.

property flags

Returns the annotation’s flags.

get_appearance_stream(*args, **kwargs)

Overloaded function.

  1. get_appearance_stream(self: pikepdf.Annotation, which: pikepdf.Object) -> pikepdf.Object

    Returns one of the appearance streams associated with an annotation.

    which: Usually one of pikepdf.Name.N, pikepdf.Name.R or

    pikepdf.Name.D, indicating the normal, rollover or down appearance stream, respectively. If any other name is passed, an an appearance stream with that name is returned.

  2. get_appearance_stream(self: pikepdf.Annotation, which: pikepdf.Object, state: pikepdf.Object) -> pikepdf.Object

    Returns one of the appearance streams associated with an annotation.

    which: Usually one of pikepdf.Name.N, pikepdf.Name.R or

    pikepdf.Name.D, indicating the normal, rollover or down appearance stream, respectively. If any other name is passed, an an appearance stream with that name is returned.

    state: The appearance state. For checkboxes or radio buttons, the

    appearance state is usually whether the button is on or off.

get_page_content_for_appearance(self: pikepdf.Annotation, name: pikepdf.Object, rotate: int, required_flags: int = 0, forbidden_flags: int = 3) bytes

Generate content stream text that draws this annotation as a Form XObject.

  • name (pikepdf.Name) – What to call the object we create.

  • rotate – Should be set to the page’s /Rotate value or 0.


This method is done mainly with QPDF. Its behavior may change when different QPDF versions are used.

property obj

Returns the underlying object for this annotation.

property subtype

Returns the subtype of this annotation.