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Support for DICOM, HEIC and Other Images, Doc Gen from Office Files, Semantic Compare and More with PDFTron SDK 9

By Andrey Safonov | 2021 Sep 14

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PDFTron's 9th release is perhaps our most significant yet. It adds several, utterly new capabilities to the core PDFTron SDK, at the center of the PDFTron platform powering all our SDKs, including our flagship product, WebViewer, and our comprehensive mobile, desktop, and server-side SDKs.

Adding to our cross-platform core, we naturally need to plan and rigorously test each new feature. As a result, the release cycle is longer than the monthly cadence for our other platform-specific SDKs.

But now that v9 is officially here, you can see firsthand and experiment with all the latest core additions. Visit our unified download center to get started.

You can also check out changelogs for platform-specific overviews of what's new and improved with v9. Here is what’s brand new for Windows and Linux:

  • Advanced Imaging Module, supporting the DICOM image format and many others.
  • Flexible and powerful document generation using Office templates. Place unlimited amounts of content with full reflow while retaining all document styles.
  • Added PDF2Word Module that enables conversion from PDF to Word format (using Convert.ToWord).
  • Added PDFDoc.AppendTextDiff -- generates PDF content representing the text differences between two different pages or documents.
  • And more

Lastly, before we dive into our feature round-up, we need to give credit where it's due -- to our developers. Not only for new functionality! They've been hard at work fine-tuning the conversion and rendering quality for v9 as well, so we can continue to give you the best performance, stability, and user experience.

Now, into the biggest v9 additions:

Advanced Imaging Module

The addition of the Advanced Imaging Module allows you to add support for 35 different image formats and growing -- including support for popular Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator formats, Apple’s HEIC, and medical imaging format DICOM.

With expanded support for professional image formats, designers and content creators, for example, can now quickly prototype and get feedback on top of all their images, as well as those other formats supported today, like PDF, videos, and websites.

With the addition of DICOM, medical professionals can quickly view and examine patient x-rays embedded in reports to decide on treatments.

PDFTron is unique in providing fast, secure rendering of these images -- all entirely client-side, without any third-party servers or calls home, thus making it easier to build a HIPAA-compliant solution.

The Advanced Imaging Module is yet another addition to our capabilities leveraged today by emergency departments across the globe. These capabilities include form filling for patient intake forms -- and redaction to remove HPI (Health Protected Information) or PII (Personally Identifiable Information).

To get started, download the module for Windows, Linux or Mac and afterwards, refer to the advanced imaging sample.

The Advanced Imaging Module is also coming soon to WebViewer Server where it plugs and plays seamlessly with WebViewer to convert images to PDFs, and serves these to the viewer client.

Document Generation from DOCX, XLSX, PPTX Templates

PDFTron SDK 9 also introduces a new way to generate invoices, contracts, quotes, or personalized customer communications from DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX file templates. This functionality comes complete with dynamic table support with unlimited rows, full content reflow, and embedded image support.

To build and modify templates, users now don’t need to rely on dev resources. Any Word processor, like MS Office or Google Docs -- anything that produces DOCX -- will do. Just type your sentences. And where you want to add a replaceable section, put a {{placeholder}} token surrounded with double squiggly brackets. The SDK then automatically recognizes and replaces these with your JSON data from anywhere. When changing the placeholder values, the generation function also automatically preserves text styling, so the final output document looks as designed.

This new document generation also has no third-party dependencies, plugins, or any third-party processing.

Document Generation is available through all PDFTron SDKs, including web, mobile, server and WebViewer for Salesforce. And when leveraging Document Generation on the web or Salesforce, the replacement of values happens completely in a browser without any server-side processing, improving security, reliability and scalability, and simplifying integration.

To get started with the solution, head over to our generate-via-template documentation.

Convert PDF to Word

Next, the PDF format is great to capture feedback and preserve the original intended appearance of content for viewing across different platforms and devices. But there are times when review is complete and direct changes to the document need to be made. Converting PDF to Word gives users the flexibility to save any PDF document back to Word in order to make adjustments in familiar Office tools, before importing back to PDF for further collaborative markup, review, and approval.

To get started with PDF to Word, download the module for Windows or Linux and refer to the PDF-to-Word guide.

Semantic Compare of Documents

Finally, there are several ways to compare documents to track changes or version differences. One of the most popular is to extract text and compare the text differences character by character. This does not always yield meaningful results, especially when there is a substantial extracted paragraph or text block to sift through.

Another way is to convert two pages into images and overlay them on top of each other. The differences can then be highlighted between the two. This is helpful when working with architectural plans, construction drawings, and digital media. The resulting comparison image can also be OCR’ed to preserve searchability and text selection.

PDFTron SDK 9 introduces a powerful third method of comparison -- Semantic Compare. Semantic Compare intelligently analyzes changes in categories such as headers, sentences, paragraphs, and page numbers. It then creates annotations over top to highlight differences, with documents or pages displayed side by side for intuitive, at-a-glance comparisons.

Getting the semantic comparison between two documents is as easy as calling appendTextDiffDoc(doc1, doc2) across all of our SDKs. Simply upgrade to the latest version and refer to the code snippet written in JavaScript:

const wvElement = document.getElementById('viewer');
  fullAPI: true,
}, document.getElementById('viewer'))
.then(instance => {
  const { docViewer, PDFNet } = instance.Core;

  await PDFNet.initialize();

  const newDoc = await PDFNet.PDFDoc.create();
  await newDoc.lock();

  const doc1 = await PDFNet.PDFDoc.createFromURL('./files/semantic_test_doc_1.pdf');
  const doc2 = await PDFNet.PDFDoc.createFromURL('./files/semantic_test_doc_2.pdf');
  await newDoc.appendTextDiffDoc(doc1, doc2);

  await newDoc.unlock();


  // wait until the document has been loaded
  docViewer.addEventListener('documentLoaded', () => {

Wrap Up

We’re always happy to hear feedback on any of our existing features or features you feel are missing from our offering. And we'd love to hear how you extended the capabilities in this release, so we can make them even better for the next iteration of our cross-platform SDK core. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line, either by contacting us directly or by using our request a feature form.

To see all the functionalities we offer, check out our showcase demo.

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Andrey Safonov

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