Acrobat JavaScript Functions

Acrobat JavaScript is a cross-platform scripting language.

Through its JavaScript extensions, Acrobat exposes much of the functionality of Acrobat and its plug-ins to the document author. Acrobat JavaScript objects, properties and methods can also be accessed through Visual Basic or C#. Note that you cannot access the actual page contents via JavaScript. Use Plug-ins if you need to do that.


JavaScripts operate in two ways: You can put the code in the PDF file itself, where it is available only within that file; or you can drop a JavaScript file into the JavaScripts folder under Acrobat. Then it will be run every time Acrobat opens, to add buttons, perform auto-open functions, etc. Similar to Plug-ins, this JavaScript works for Acrobat and all open PDF files.

Acrobat JavaScript can be used to develop and enhance standard workflows, such as:

  • Creating interactive forms
  • Validating form fields
  • Stamping and watermarking
  • Facilitating online collaboration
  • Customizing interaction with Web Services
  • Managing document security and rights
  • Interacting with databases
  • Accessing metadata
  • Printing and viewing
  • Spell-checking

Acrobat JavaScript is based on the core of JavaScript version 1.5 of ISO-16262 (formerly known as ECMAScript), an object-oriented scripting language developed by Netscape Communications. JavaScript was created to offload Web page processing from a server onto a client in Web-based applications.

Acrobat JavaScript implements extensions, in the form of new objects and their accompanying methods and properties, to the JavaScript language.

These Acrobat-specific objects enable a developer to manage document security, communicate with a database, handle file attachments, manipulate a PDF file so that it behaves as an interactive, web-enabled form, and so on. Because the Acrobat-specific objects are added on top of core JavaScript, you still have access to its standard classes, including Math, String, Date, Array, and RegExp.

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