Reader Plugins

The Acrobat core and extended APIs allow you to write plugins that integrate with Adobe Reader. For details, see this guide and the Acrobat and PDF Library API Reference.

Reader enablement

Any plugins written for Adobe Reader must be Reader-enabled, which means that you will need to obtain permission and licensing from Adobe Systems.

When developing a Reader-enabled plugin, follow the steps described in Creating an Adobe Reader plugin to make specific changes to your plugin code in order for Adobe Reader to recognize and load it. For information on obtaining a license key for enabling your Reader plugin, see the site for the Acrobat Reader Integration Key License (RIKLA) Program at

A Reader-enabled plugin is a dynamically linked extension to Adobe Reader created using C/C++ APIs, and can be developed for any supported platform:

  • DLLs on Windows (using the extension .api )

  • Shared libraries (code fragments) on Mac OS X


Don’t confuse Reader enablement with rights-enabled PDF. Reader enablement enables a plugin to work with Adobe Reader. A rights-enabled PDF turns on additional user features in Adobe Reader, such as the ability to save forms offline.

APIs available for Adobe Reader

Host Function Tables (HFTs) are tables of function pointers, essentially providing a means by which plugins call methods in Adobe Reader. The following HFTs are available for development with Adobe Reader:

  • AcroSupport

  • AcroView

  • AcroViewSweetPea

  • ASExtra

  • Catalog

  • Cos

  • PDModel

  • ASExtra

  • PDSRead

  • AcroSupport

  • Core

  • Forms

  • TTS

  • DigSigHFT

  • AcroHLS

  • PubSecHFT

  • Search

  • WebLink

Additional details reside in the Acrobat and PDF Library API Reference.