Mcpdf fixes PDFtk's unicode issues, so you can write Łódź into your forms. Mcpdf aims to become a drop-in replacement for PDFtk.
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Mcpdf fixes PDFtk's unicode issues, so you can write Łódź into your forms. Mcpdf aims to become a drop-in replacement for PDFtk.

It is essentially a command line interface to the iText PDF library with a PDFtk compatible syntax.

Getting Started

Make sure you have installed a Java Runtime Environment such as OpenJDK.

Download the latest standalone version of Mcpdf (jar-with-dependencies).

For the sake of brevity, we will refer to this file as mcpdf.jar. So you should either rename the file or create a symlink:

ln -s mcpdf-0.2.4-jar-with-dependencies.jar mcpdf.jar

Test it via:

java -jar mcpdf.jar


The goal of Mcpdf is to become a drop-in replacement for PDFtk, so you could take any working PDFtk command and replace pdftk with java -jar mcpdf.jar. That's all there is to it.

Note that not all PDFtk operations are implemented at the moment. Just the following subset is supported.

Please create an issue tracker entry if you see something missing that you need. Don't forget to provide the exact PDFtk command that you would like to see in Mcpdf.

Fill in form data

Fill in form data from DATA.xfdf into FORM.pdf and write the result to OUTPUT.pdf:

java -jar mcpdf.jar FORM.pdf fill_form - output - < DATA.xfdf > OUTPUT.pdf

Fill in form data and flatten the document to prevent further editing:

java -jar mcpdf.jar FORM.pdf fill_form - output - flatten < DATA.xfdf > OUTPUT.pdf

Add stamp and/or background

Use BACKGROUND.pdf as a background for INPUT.pdf and output to OUTPUT.pdf:

java -jar mcpdf.jar INPUT.pdf background BACKGROUND.pdf output - > OUTPUT.pdf

Similarly, you can use the stamp functionality to add STAMP.pdf as a stamp (i.e. foreground) for INPUT.pdf and output into OUTPUT.pdf. This works just like background, except that it places STAMP.pdf in front of INPUT.pdf instead of behind it:

java -jar mcpdf.jar INPUT.pdf stamp STAMP.pdf output - > OUTPUT.pdf

Advanced Topics

Combine with Another Library Version

Download the plain JAR file (mcpdf-0.2.4.jar) instead of the jar-with-dependencies.

Download the version of the iText PDF library you want to use (itextpdf-X.Y.Z.jar).

Run both in combination:

java -cp itextpdf-X.Y.Z.jar:mcpdf-0.2.4.jar aero.m_click.mcpdf.Main

Build from Source

Make sure you have installed Maven and Git.

Download the latest Mcpdf source and change into that folder:

git clone
cd mcpdf

Build the plain JAR file as well as the jar-with-dependencies:

mvn package

This will download the correct version of the iText PDF library and all required Maven modules automatically.

You will find the JAR files in the target subfolder.

Deploy Releases

Mcpdf uses the Sonatype OSSRH (OSS Repository Hosting Service). The project creation ticket was OSSRH-8759.

Create ~/.m2/settings.xml:


Prepare documentation:

VERSION=`sed -n 's/^  <version>\([^-]*\).*/\1/p' pom.xml`
sed -i "s,mcpdf\([-/]\)[0-9.]*[0-9],mcpdf\1$VERSION,g"
git commit -m "Prepare documentation for release mcpdf-$VERSION"

Create a new release and upload it to the OSSRH staging area:

mvn release:clean release:prepare release:perform

[Follow the OSSRH release instructions](][Follow the OSSRH release instructions), that is:

  1. Open
  2. Login
  3. Select Staging Repositories
  4. Select topmost item
  5. Click Close and Confirm
  6. Click Refresh a few times
  7. Click Release and Confirm
  8. Watch it appear at the Central Repository

Push to GitHub:

git push