Giuseppe Castagno



Open Office PDF Builder



This page is no longer maintained.

Some of the OOPDFBuilder functionality were added to the OOo 2.0 core code.

A brief description of my code contribution to OOo is available here.

The protection feature (Security Tab on the PDF Export Options dialog) was added by me in the OOo 2.0 core code.

Job details can be seen in the issue 12626.

The PDF Export Filter specification (file OOo) can be downloaded from the site.

beppec56 at openoffice dot org.

Current version: 0.9.45. (2004-05-18)

This page is a very short description of the OOPDFBuilder JavaTM application used to generate the PDF files from Open Office Writer documents.

This application is under GPL so:

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


What it does

What it does not do

There are some drawbacks

Last changes



Next in the stack

Legal stuff


Interesting links

What it does

    If an outline of the chapters exists (Tools | Outline Numbering.. in Open Office menu), it generates the outline for the PDF file reader (the left bookmark pane in the reader);

    it converts the Hyperlink in links internal to PDF document if they are internal in the Writer document, being them in the main text, or in tables or in frames, the type of presentation in PDF is selectable (the way it is visualized and highlighted);

    it converts the Internet hyperlink in the document to Internet hyperlink. If the link is in the form someone@somedomain.dom it is converted in a call to the Internet browser to open the default mailer to send the mail;

    the references are converted to links, with some small defects if they are in a table or in a frame and span more than a line, see Limits and Known Bugs, again the presentation is selectable;

    the notes are converted to PDF annotation, the color and the icon type can be chosen;

    the footnotes are double linked with their corresponding text, using the presentation of the references;

    the OOo bookmarks in a document can be used as targets from another PDF document, with this option intra-document links can be generated;

    the document information: keywords, title, subject, creation date, author and modification date are collected as well;

    the pdf document can be password protected, to do this you'll need an additional JavaTM package that can be downloaded from here: , download the Compiled code jar1(PDF/HTML) Follow the directions in the OOPdfBuilder manual to install it.

What it does not do

    It does not generate the thumbnails if used with Ghostscript, but Acrobat® Reader® 5.1 and up generates them “on the fly” while reading the PDF document;

    it does not generate the links for the index of figures and of tables, because Open Office does not generate them. This could be improved if the index of illustrations and tables are generated as a list of references, in the manual there is an example;

    it does not generates links to endnotes, because the page where the endnote text lives seems not reachable through the cursor programmatically.

There are some drawbacks

    If the hyperlink or reference spans more than two lines of text only the first and the last are converted;

    the PDF creation of the current open document cannot distinguishes among documents, so it can only be used with one opened document at a time;

    the references in tables and in frames are not generated very well, some work yet to be done checking the table cell or frame paragraph limits. This doesn't happen if the reference does not span more than a line of text or if the link is generated from a hyperlink;

    sometimes Open Office (1.1.1) crashes at the end of the job, especially with long document, this is true especially when generating named destinations from bookmarks;

    if the view PDF option is used, the Java(tm) application stays running, waiting for the viewer application to close. If the reader was already active when the view PDF action was launched by the application at the end of PDF generation, this behavior is not observed.
    This happens in Windows(tm) environments. In order to avoid this the possibility of starting a short launching task was added;

    the manual needs updating.

Last changes


    added the possibility to password protect a PDF file, for example a file generated with itself (Export to PDF);

    the default resource initialization to English wasn't working correctly, now it should.


    corrected outline generation, some headers where not detected correctly

    added default initialization of the language resources to English.

    added a selection to debug the document being processed


    added English to Italian translations.


    Partly corrected the rounding problem of link position in large document

    added PDF linearization for web display (through Ghostscript)

    added cross-document linking possibility

    added password protection, through an external Java library

    started to add the multi language support, English and Italian

    added stability to the application, in conjunction with OOo 1.1.1


    Major changes in the pdfmark generation engine, I got some hints from Martin W Brown macro code,

    the application appears slightly more stable,

    used a new method to scan the OO document for links.

    the document is printed before pdfmark generation.


If you only need upgrade the jar package, you can simply download it OOPdfBuilder.jar (162 kbyte).

To learn more, you may download the zipped PDF manual/specification (, 317 kbyte).

Or, if you prefer, you can download the byte code and the specification above, Java source included under GPL license.

( file, 1,194 kbyte).


to have some support, the “[PDF]” (without quotes) is added to the subject, so the mail will be routed correctly and, please, use only text mail.

Next in the stack

    Check it in other document languages.

    Converting files recursively in directories.

    Add PDF article thread generation.

Legal stuff


Adobe, Acrobat, PDFMaker, PDFWriter, Distiller, PostScript are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

GhostScript is a registered trademark of Artifex Software Inc.

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Microsoft, Windows, and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Interesting links

The Open Office official site.

Another PDF generation macro (OpenOffice macro language).

A lot of OpenOffice macros in SourceForge.

The Andrew Pitonyak site (very good for macro learning).

The Java(tm) package to protect the PDF files


with questions or comments about this web site.

English site last modified: 2006-09-26 17.59.11 this page is Document made with Nvu