What Can You Do With an iTextSharp PDF Document? A Closer Look

What is the best C# PDF file creation and editing library available in 2022?

PDF files remain the web's top document sharing format. The ability to create PDF files using C# on the fly is a reason why the language attracts a large fanbase.

One such PDF library is the iTextSharp PDF document solution.

Read on to learn how to create PDF files using iTextSharp. Discover its strengths and weaknesses and how other C# PDF libraries can achieve the same if not better results.

What Is PDF iTextSharp?

iTextSharp is part of the iText 7 Suite and lets you embed PDF functionality into your apps.
Once you purchase a license you can access a full range of PDF options including:

  • PDF creation from multiple data sources
  • Powerful method calls that integrate with your existing code
  • Data extraction
  • PDF to image creation

You can use the iText 7 library within C# and Java environments. There's also a REST API available on AWS that you can tap into as required.

.NET Functionality

The iText 7/iTextSharp suite works on both .NET and .NET core projects.

.NET is Microsoft's flagship framework originally released in 2002. It allows programmers to develop Windows and web apps in several formats. Languages include C#, ASP.NET, and F#.
.NET Core extends the .NET ethos of providing a development platform beyond Windows architecture.

Apps created on .NET Core will work on Linux systems and macOS. It's fully open-source and uses lightweight microservices for a speedy app start-up.

Learn more about the differences between .NET and .NET Core to see which to choose for your PDF project.

Pros and Cons of iTextSharp PDF Document Library

The iTextSharp library has a lot going for it as it's built on years worth of coding experience.
The simple yet robust method calls help to create a PDF within seconds. You can use plain text or HTML strings or even CSS to render PDFs on the fly. Editing PDF documents is relatively simple too.

However, compared to other libraries, it fails to live up to the hype at times.

Disadvantages of iText 7

iTextSharp's built on Java base code. It's not .NET native and that means it will never work as quickly as a library designed for that platform.
Tasks like adding a header or footer aren't as intuitive in iText 7. Even the rendering process doesn't take advantage of modern Chromium techniques.

Although there's a community license, enterprise pricing might set you back more than other libraries. The AGPL license model will also annoy some developers with its intrusive demands.
You can read more about the pros and cons of iTextSharp PDF document manipulation here.

Hello World PDF File Creation in iText 7

Below is a very simple 'Hello World' tutorial to help you to create your first PDF using iTextSharp in C#.

Please note that you will need to download the assembly tool from the iText website and reference it in your project.

using iTextSharp.text;
using iTextSharp.text.pdf;
Document pdf = new Document();
PdfWriter.GetInstance(pdf, new FileStream("C:\test.pdf", FileMode.Create));
pdf.Add(new Paragraph("Hello World!"));

The .Close() method automatically flushes the content and creates the PDF. Check your C: drive and you'll see the new PDF file. Congratulations!

Create PDF Files Using Code

iTextSharp PDF document creation is a breeze once you install the library.

You can edit PDFs, convert them into images, and generate thousands of files in a few lines of code. Yet, it isn't the best C# PDF library available so do your homework first before committing.

For more insightful articles on a range of topics, be sure to check out more of our blog.