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How to create and fill out your own PDF form with Java

sandrogiacom profile image Sandro Giacomozzi ・2 min read

Introduction

In this tutorial, you will learn how to populate a PDF document with Java using the PDFBox library. In addition you will see how to create your own forms or add editable fields to an existing PDF document.

Creating a simple form

To create a form, let's use LibreOffice Draw.

Display the form toolbar. View Menu > Toolbars > Form Controls.

In a blank document, enter two text fields:

Display the properties of the text field:

Rename the fields to 'txt_1' and 'txt_2' respectively. Also leave the 'Read-only' property as 'Yes'.

Export the document as PDF. Mine is like '/tmp/pdf-java.pdf'

My template looked like this:

Populating the PDF through Java

Create a new maven Java project and add the dependency below:

<dependency>
  <groupId>org.apache.pdfbox</groupId>
  <artifactId>pdfbox</artifactId>
  <version>2.0.16</version>
</dependency>

Create a Java class with the code below:

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        try {
            PDDocument pDDocument = PDDocument.load(new File("/tmp/pdf-java.pdf"));
            PDAcroForm pDAcroForm = pDDocument.getDocumentCatalog().getAcroForm();
            PDField field = pDAcroForm.getField("txt_1");
            field.setValue("This is a first field printed by Java");
            field = pDAcroForm.getField("txt_2");
            field.setValue("This is a second field printed by Java");
            pDDocument.save("/tmp/pdf-java-output.pdf");
            pDDocument.close();
        } catch (IOException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }

Run the program and see the result:

Remember, the ending file was saved to: "/tmp/pdf-java-output.pdf".

The complete source code it's on github:

https://github.com/sandrogiacom/pdf-java

Conclusion

In this short tutorial, we learned how to populate a PDF from a PDF template created with LibreOffice Draw. Use your creativity to create beautiful templates, do automation, create batch files and more.

Leave in the comments what your use case would be.

See you soon!

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sandrogiacom profile

Sandro Giacomozzi

@sandrogiacom

Helping Java developers working on enterprise applications to become experts on Java and Devops by practicing the right skills.

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