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Quick start - view a document

In this document
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  • A valid evaluation or commercial license key. If you do not have a license key, please contact sales for a commercial license key or click here to get an evaluation key.
  • The PDFTron Android SDK package.
  • The latest version of Android Studio.
  • Minimum API: 16 (using Android Support Libraries)
  • Recommended target API: 28

In this quick start tutorial you will create a simple Android app that will open a PDF document stored in your Android project by using DocumentActivity. The sample code for this tutorial is available at our GitHub repository.

  1. On the Android welcome screen, click Start a new Android Studio project:
  1. Create a new Android Studio project with an Empty Activity and set the minimum SDK to API 16. You can learn more about the system requirements here.

  2. For simplicity, we'll integrate the PDFTron SDK into our project using Gradle. You can learn more about how Gradle is used in Android Studio at the Gradle guides.

    Find your file in the root folder of your project and add your credentials to this file:

  3. Now find your project's root-level build.gradle file:

    and add the PDFTron Maven repository to the repositories tag:

    allprojects {
        repositories {
            maven {
                url "s3://pdftron-maven/release"
                credentials(AwsCredentials) {
                    accessKey AWS_ACCESS_KEY
                    secretKey AWS_SECRET_KEY

    Copy the following as is, do not import org.gradle.api.credentials.Credentials:

    Please make sure the above is added to the repositories block in the allprojects, not in buildscript.
  4. Then in your app module's build.gradle file (usually app/build.gradle) add the following:

    android {
        defaultConfig {
            multiDexEnabled true
            vectorDrawables.useSupportLibrary = true
            manifestPlaceholders = [pdftronLicenseKey:PDFTRON_LICENSE_KEY]
        configurations.all {
            resolutionStrategy.force ""
            resolutionStrategy.force ""
            resolutionStrategy.force "android.arch.lifecycle:runtime:1.0.3"
    dependencies {
        implementation "com.pdftron:pdftron:6.9.5"
        implementation "com.pdftron:tools:6.9.5"
        implementation ''

    You should also sync your project when you make changes in your Gradle files.

    If you encountered any issue with gradle sync, check out the Troubleshooting guide.
  5. In order to support all the features in DocumentActivity, we need to include the Android permissions listed in the table below. However if you would like to disable certain features and customize your document viewer, you should leave out unnecessary permissions. You can learn more about permissions here.

    FeatureRelevant permission
    Accessing documents in local storage, including:
    • Reading documents in local storage
    • Writing to PDF files (including annotation creation) in local storage
    • Creating PDF files in local storage
    • Opening a PDF from a URL
    • HTML to PDF conversion
    • Realtime collaboration
    • Creating sound annotations

    In this sample we'll add all the permissions to AndroidManifest.xml so we can support all the features in the viewer. In this file, we'll also need to add a reference to our PDFTron license key. The resulting AndroidManifest.xml file should look something like this:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <manifest ...>
        <!-- Required permissions are added here -->
        <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/>
        <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" />
        <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO" />
        <!-- Add multidex support and enable largeHeap -->
            <!-- Reference to our PDFTron license key -->
            <!-- Document viewer activity declaration-->
            <activity android:name="com.pdftron.pdf.controls.DocumentActivity"
  6. If you would like to customize the appearance of the viewer activity, define CustomAppTheme (referenced by DocumentActivity in AndroidManifest.xml) in res/values/styles.xml:

        <!-- Custom theme that will be used by the document reader -->
        <style name="CustomAppTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.DayNight.NoActionBar">
            <item name="colorPrimary">@color/app_color_primary_day</item>
            <item name="colorPrimaryDark">@color/app_color_primary_dark_day</item>
            <item name="colorAccent">@color/app_color_accent</item>
            <!-- Action bar -->
            <item name="actionModeBackground">?attr/colorPrimary</item>
            <item name="windowActionModeOverlay">true</item>

    DocumentActivity extends AppCompatActivity and uses AppCompat Toolbar. It's important that you define a Theme.AppCompat theme for CustomAppTheme. The recommended theme is Theme.AppCompat.*.NoActionBar. Other custom themes can also be used, however be sure to disable the action bar manually:

    <style name="CustomAppTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.*">
        <!-- Action bar -->
        <item name="windowActionModeOverlay">true</item>
        <item name="windowActionBar">false</item>
        <item name="windowNoTitle">true</item>
  7. Now add a PDF file to the res/raw folder of your project (you can use our sample here) and call it sample.pdf, we are going to reference this file in the next step.

  1. In onCreate of your launcher activity, call DocumentActivity.openDocument(Context, int) to open this PDF file with the document reader:

    This launches DocumentActivity with our sample PDF document with default viewer configurations, and you should see the following:

    You can also view your document in DocumentActivity by specifiying a local file path, an HTTP/HTTPS url, or a Content Uri:

    Please note that any changes made to files opened from res/raw will not be saved on the disk.

    The source code for this tutorial can be found on our GitHub repository.

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