CtrlO::PDF - high level PDF creator


  use CtrlO::PDF;
  use Text::Lorem;

  my $pdf = CtrlO::PDF->new(
      logo         => "sample/logo.png", # optional
      logo_scaling => 0.5,               # Default
      width        => 595,               # Default (A4, portrait mode)
      height       => 842,               # Default (A4, portrait mode)
      orientation  => "portrait",        # Default
      margin       => 40,                # Default, all 4 sides
      top_padding  => 0,                 # Default
      header       => "My PDF document header",  # optional
      footer       => "My PDF document footer",  # optional
      PDFlib       => "API2",            # Default is Builder
  # width, height page dimensions in points (default A4 paper)
  # orientation defaults to portrait (taller than wide)
  # margin in points on all four sides
  # top padding below header in points
  # header, footer text line to place at top or bottom
  # PDFlib actually checked only for '[aA]' or '[bB]', permitting a wide
  #   range of formats to specify the PDF support library

  # Add a page

  # Add headings
  $pdf->heading('This is the main heading');
  $pdf->heading('This is a sub-heading', size => 12);

  # Add paragraph text
  my $lorem = Text::Lorem->new();
  my $paras = $lorem->paragraphs(30);

  # Add a table
  my $data =[
      ['Fruit', 'Quantity'], # Table header
      ['Apples', 120],
      ['Pears', 90],
      ['Oranges', 30],

  my $hdr_props = {
      repeat     => 1,
      justify    => 'center',
      font_size  => 8,

      data => $data,
      header_props => $hdr_props,

  my $file = $pdf->content;

  # output the file
  open my $pdf_out, '>', 'out.pdf';
  binmode $pdf_out;
  print $pdf_out $file;
  close $pdf_out;


This module tries to make it easy to create PDFs by providing a high level interface to a number of existing PDF modules. It aims to "do the right thing" by default, allowing minimal coding to create long PDFs. It includes pagination, headings, paragraph text, images and tables. Although there are a number of other modules to create PDFs with a high-level interface, I found that these each lack certain features (e.g. image insertion, paragraph text). This module tries to include each of those features through another existing module. Also, it is built on either PDF::Builder or PDF::API2, and provides access to that object, so content can also be added directly using that, thereby providing any powerful features required.

Updates in v0.20 Note that version 0.20 contains a number breaking changes to improve the default layout and spacing of a page. This better ensures that content added to a page "just works" in terms of its layout, without needing tweaks to its spacing. For example, headers have better spacing above and below by default. This means that PDFs produced with this version will be laid out differently to those produced with earlier versions. In the main, old code should be able to be updated by simply removing any manual spacing fudges (e.g. manual spacing for headers).



Returns the PDF::Builder or PDF::API2 object used to create the PDF.


Returns the current PDF page.


Adds a PDF page and returns it.

Note that when a PDF page is added (either via this method or automatically) the is_new_page flag records that a new page is in use with no content. See that method for more details.


Whether the current page is new with no content. When the heading or text methods are called and this is true, additional top margin is added to account for the height of the text being added. Any other content manually added will not include this margin and will leave the internal new page flag as true.


Manually clears the is_new_page flag.


Sets or returns the page orientation (portrait or landscape). The default is Portrait (taller than wide).


Sets or returns the PDF-building library in use. The choices are "PDF::Builder" and "PDF::API2" (case-insensitive). "PDF::Builder" is the default, indicating that PDF::Builder will be used unless it is not found, in which case PDF::API2 will be used. If neither is found, CtrlO::PDF will fail.


Sets or returns the width. Default is A4.


Sets or returns the height. Default is A4.


Sets or returns the page margin. Default 40 pixels.


Sets or returns the top margin. Defaults to the margin + top_padding + room for the header (if defined) + room for the logo (if defined).


Sets or returns the bottom margin. Defaults to the margin + room for the footer.


Sets or returns the top padding (additional to the margin). Default 0.

Sets or returns the header text.

Sets or returns the footer text. Page numbers are added automatically.


Sets or returns the font. This is based on PDF::Builder or PDF::API2 ttfont, which returns a TrueType or OpenType font object. By default it assumes the font is available in the exact path truetype/liberation/LiberationSans-Regular.ttf. A future version may make this more flexible.


As font, but a bold font.

The path to a logo to include in the top-right corner of every page (optional).


The scaling of the logo. For best results a setting of 0.5 is recommended (the default).


The padding below the logo before the text. Defaults to 10 pixels.


Returns the current y position on the page. This value updates as the page is written to, and is the location that content will be positioned at the next write. Note that the value is measured from the bottom of the page.


Sets the current Y position. See "y_position".


Moves the current Y position, relative to its current value. Positive values will move the cursor up the page, negative values down. See "y_position".

heading($text, %options)

Add a heading. If called on a new page, will automatically move the cursor down to account for the heading's height (based on the assumption that one pixel equals one point). Options available are:

size n

n is the font size in points, default 16

indent n

n is the amount (in points) to indent the text, default 0

topmargin n

n is the amount (in points) of vertical skip for the margin above the heading, default: calculated automatically based on font size

bottommargin n

n is the amount (in points) of vertical skip for the margin below the heading, default: calculated automatically based on the font size

text($text, %options)

Add paragraph text. This will automatically paginate. Options available are:

size n

n is the font size in points, default 10

indent n

n is the amount (in points) to indent the paragraph first line, default 0

color name

name is the string giving the text color, default 'black'


Add a table, based on PDF::Table. Options available are data to pass in the data for the table; all other options are passed to the table method of PDF::Table.

image($file, %options)

Add an image. Options available are:

scaling n

n is the scaling factor for the image, default 0.5 (50%)

alignment name

name is the horizontal alignment, default center


Return the PDF content.


Copyright 2018-2021 Ctrl O Ltd

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of either: the GNU General Public License (GPL) as published by the Free Software Foundation; or the Perl Artistic License (PAL).

See for more information.