A Swift class to easily generate simple PDF documents with page numbers and Table of Contents.





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This class is no longer maintained by me. If you want to take over, send me an email!

SimplePDF is a Swift class that lets you create simple PDF documents with page numbers and table of contents. The code is a rough implementation of Builder design pattern. See the demo project for usage example.


To run the example project, clone the repo, and run pod install from the Example directory first. Or run pod try SimplePDFSwift.

⚠️ Important: Pod for this library is called SimplePDFSwift, Please note that pod named SimplePDF is a different library (It is available here if you'd like to try it). ⚠️


SimplePDF is written in Swift 3.0 as of version 0.2.1. Therefore you need Xcode 8.0 for development. You can target iOS 8.0 and later.

To use SimplePDF on previous versions of Swift, you can use a version earlier than 0.2.1.


SimplePDF is available through CocoaPods. To install it, simply add the following line to your Podfile:

pod "SimplePDFSwift"


Although SimplePDF can only generate simple PDF documents, It can be used in a variety of use cases. It allows you to add:

  • Headings (H1 - H6) and Body Text. Their formatting can be customized by passing a subclass of DefaultTextFormatter to SimplePDF init method
  • Images (with captions)
  • Add text to multiple columns, it can also be used to create borderless tables
  • Headers/Footers (with page number and pages-count)
  • UIView instances (You can design a UIView in a nib or in a storyboard and add it as a page to the PDF. This can be useful to add, for example, a cover page with company logo, etc.)

In addition to predefined headings and body text formats, you can also add any NSAttributedString to the pdf, however it will not be included in Table of Contents. Table of Contents only takes into account the content added through addH1 ... addH6 functions.

Getting Started

After installation from CocoaPods, import the module (import SimplePDFSwift). A typical usage would look like:

import SimplePDFSwift

// Initialize
let pdf = SimplePDF(pdfTitle: "Simple PDF Demo", authorName: "Muhammad Ishaq")

// add some content
pdf.addH1("Level 2 Heading")
pdf.addBodyText("Some body text, probably a long string with multiple paras")
pdf.addH2("Level 2 Heading")
pdf.addBodyText("Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet...")

// add an image
let imagePath = NSBundle.mainBundle().pathForResource("Demo", ofType: "png")!
let imageCaption = "fig 1: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet"
pdf.addImages([imagePath], imageCaptions: [imageCaption], imagesPerRow: 1)

// Configure headers/footers (discussed below)
// ...

// Write PDF
// Note that the tmpPDFPath is path to a temporary file, it needs to be saved somewhere
let tmpPDFPath = pdf.writePDFWithTableOfContents()

If you don't want a table of contents to be generated, instead of writePDFWithTableOfContents, you can call writePDFWithoutTableOfContents().

Adding Headers/Footers

There are two types of Headers/Footers.

  1. Text This is added using HeaderFooterText instance, any new line characters result in multiline header (or footer). This can, for example, be the name of the author and document creation date, or it can be the page number e.g. "Page 1 of 12" or any other text.

  2. Image: This is added using HeaderFooterImage instance and can only be a single image (e.g. an icon or logo).

Alignment: Header/Footer can have Left, Center or Right alignment, It will be added to the corresponding location on top/bottom of the page.

pPage Number & Pages Count: In a text header/footer, occurrences of SimplePDF.pageNumberPlaceholder are replaced with the current page number and occurrences of SimplePDF.pagesCountPlaceholder are replaced with pages-count.

The pageRange attribute controls which pages the header/footer appears on. pageRange is an NSRange instance, pageRange.location specifies zero based page index where the header/footer would first appear. pageRange.length specifies how many pages it would appear on (starting at pageRange.location).

Here's how a multiline header (or footer) could be added (in this case it is a header on the left and first appears on the second page):

// Variables to format the header string
let regularFont = UIFont.systemFontOfSize(8)
let boldFont = UIFont.boldSystemFontOfSize(8)
let leftAlignment = NSMutableParagraphStyle()
leftAlignment.alignment = NSTextAlignment.Left
let dateFormatter = NSDateFormatter()
dateFormatter.dateStyle = NSDateFormatterStyle.MediumStyle
dateFormatter.timeStyle = NSDateFormatterStyle.MediumStyle
let dateString = dateFormatter.stringFromDate(NSDate())

// Create the attributed string for header
let leftHeaderString = "Author: Muhammad Ishaq\nDate/Time: \(dateString)"
let leftHeaderAttrString = NSMutableAttributedString(string: leftHeaderString)
leftHeaderAttrString.addAttribute(NSParagraphStyleAttributeName, value: leftAlignment, range: NSMakeRange(0, leftHeaderAttrString.length))
leftHeaderAttrString.addAttribute(NSFontAttributeName, value: regularFont, range: NSMakeRange(0, leftHeaderAttrString.length))
leftHeaderAttrString.addAttribute(NSFontAttributeName, value: boldFont, range: leftHeaderAttrString.mutableString.rangeOfString("Author:"))
leftHeaderAttrString.addAttribute(NSFontAttributeName, value: boldFont, range: leftHeaderAttrString.mutableString.rangeOfString("Date/Time:"))

// Create the header
// location of pageRange is 1, so it skips page 0 i.e. the first page and appears on second page
let header = SimplePDF.HeaderFooterText(type: .Header, pageRange: NSMakeRange(1, Int.max), attributedString: leftHeaderAttrString)

Here's how a logo could be added

// add a logo to the header, on the right
let logoPath = NSBundle.mainBundle().pathForResource("Demo", ofType: "png")
// location of pageRange is 1, so it skips page 0 i.e. the first page
// NOTE: we can specify either the image (UIImage instance) or its path
let rightLogo = SimplePDF.HeaderFooterImage(type: .Header, pageRange: NSMakeRange(1, Int.max),
    imagePath: logoPath!, image:nil, imageHeight: 35, alignment: .Right)

And here's how page number with pages-count could be added

// add page numbers to the footer (center aligned)
let centerAlignment = NSMutableParagraphStyle()
centerAlignment.alignment = .Center
let footerString = NSMutableAttributedString(string: "\(SimplePDF.pageNumberPlaceholder) of \(SimplePDF.pagesCountPlaceholder)")
footerString.addAttribute(NSParagraphStyleAttributeName, value: centerAlignment, range: NSMakeRange(0, footerString.length))
// location of pageRange is 1, so it skips page 0 i.e. the first page
let footer = SimplePDF.HeaderFooterText(type: .Footer, pageRange: NSMakeRange(1, Int.max), attributedString: footerString)

Adding a View

You can call addView(view) to render UIView instances to a PDF page. The passed view will be rendered new PDF page. This is mostly useful to design cover pages. A view is always added to its own page. It starts a new page if required, and any content added after it appears on the next page.

Here's how you can design a cover page with a UIView (or a subclass)

  1. Create a nib with the same dimensions as PDF page (e.g. A4 page is 595x842, you can lookup other dimensions in PageSize enum).
  2. Optional: If you want the labels to appear as text (instead of bitmaps) in the PDF, all the labels in the view should have their class set to SimplePDFLabel (or a subclass of it).
  3. Load the view from the nib and add it to pdf
let coverPage = NSBundle.mainBundle().loadNibNamed("PDFCoverPage", owner: self, options: nil).first as PDFCoverPage

Note: Please note that if you use the above method to render a view to PDF, AutoLayout will not be run on it, If your view doesn't rely on AutoLayout, you don't need to worry about anything. However, if your view uses AutoLayout to correctly position elements, you have to add it to the active view hierarchy. You can add to the view hierarchy off-screen, then call pdf.addView(view) to render it to PDF. But now the view would render as bitmap. This means any labels will not be selectable as text and they would lose quality (being bitmaps) if you zoom in.

Customizing Heading and Body Text Formatting

To customize the formatting used in addH1 ... addH6 and addBodyText functions, you need to:

  1. Subclass DefaultTextFormatter and override appropriate methods
  2. Pass instance of your custom subclass to SimplePDF's init.

SimplePDF will now use your subclass instead of DefaultTextFormatter to format headings and body text.

Other Tasks

  • You can add attributed strings with addAttributedString(attrString). Note, however, that these strings will not appear in table of contents (no matter how big the rendered text is).
  • You can add text to multiple columns with addAttributedStringsToColumns(columnWidths: [CGFloat], strings: [NSAttributedString]). This can also be used to create borderless tables. Passing empty string keeps corresponding column empty.
  • addImages(imagePaths:[String], imageCaptions: [String], imagesPerRow:Int = 3) adds images to pdf. It resizes the images uniformly to fit imagesPerRow images in available page width. Passing nil for image (and empty string for caption) keeps corresponding column empty.
  • addImagesRow(imagePaths: [String], imageCaptions: [NSAttributedString], columnWidths: [CGFloat]) adds a single row of images using column widths specified. Passing nil for image (and empty string for caption) keeps corresponding column empty.


Muhammad Ishaq (, Martin Stemmle (


SimplePDF is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.

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