How to create a PDF viewer using Python

In this tutorial we will learn how to create PDF viewer using python, this is a GUI toolkit which uses python Tkinter module, Pdf2img module, and Python Imaging Library (PIL).

As the increasing popularity and compatibility of PDFs in almost each and every document format, whether it is Invoices, Reports or other official documents, we need an onboard PDF viewer or renderer to seek out the information repeatedly.

  • Tkinter – It is the most preferred GUI toolkit available in python, which posses the faster and easiest way of producing GUI software.
  • pdf2img – It is an easy to use command line module that provides users with a batch conversion of PDF into Images.
  • PIL/Pillow – It is a free library in python which supports opening, manipulating different image file formats.

Creating a PDF Viewer using Python

Before getting into the code you need to install the above-mentioned libraries.

Installation:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-tk
$ pip3 install pdf2image
$ pip3 install pillow

After installing the above modules and required dependencies you can get into actual code.

Source Code: Create a PDF viewer GUI in Python

# Importing required modules
from tkinter import *
from PIL import Image,ImageTk
from pdf2image import convert_from_path

# Creating Tk container
root = Tk()

# Creating the frame for PDF Viewer
pdf_frame = Frame(root).pack(fill=BOTH,expand=1)

# Adding Scrollbar to the PDF frame
scrol_y = Scrollbar(pdf_frame,orient=VERTICAL)

# Adding text widget for inserting images
pdf = Text(pdf_frame,yscrollcommand=scrol_y.set,bg="grey")

# Setting the scrollbar to the right side
scrol_y.pack(side=RIGHT,fill=Y)
scrol_y.config(command=pdf.yview)

# Finally packing the text widget
pdf.pack(fill=BOTH,expand=1)

# Here the PDF is converted to list of images
pages = convert_from_path('mypdf.pdf',size=(800,900))

# Empty list for storing images
photos = []

# Storing the converted images into list
for i in range(len(pages)):
  photos.append(ImageTk.PhotoImage(pages[i]))

# Adding all the images to the text widget
for photo in photos:
  pdf.image_create(END,image=photo)
  
  # For Seperating the pages
  pdf.insert(END,'\n\n')

# Ending of mainloop
mainloop()

Here you must be thinking why I have used two for loops one adding images to list and the second one for adding images to the text widget, I had actually used one loop but then it was only showing the last page in the PDF,  this might be happening, because I was using a single variable to hold the image and store into text widget. The conclusion that I could arrive at is that every image needs the separate permanent storage until the PDF is rendered.

Output:

How to create a PDF viewer using Python

pdf viewer using tkinter

By looking at this task code it seems to be simple, but it took me around 8 hours to arrive at this solution because in this I had tried every possible solution I could have found and lastly I had found it, this was really a challenging and interesting task.

So in this way you can create a simple PDF viewer, I hope this article might be fruitful to you, thank you ‘Keep Learning Keep Coding’.

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One response to “How to create a PDF viewer using Python”

  1. sushma says:

    Great work Man!! By the way I’m also working similar to this one but I wanna add dictionary to it which makes easier for reader to get info which he doesn’t know(Like we do Google search).
    My design is to embed a block at left which helps for searching.
    Your feedback for my idea would be helpful for me to improvize my work

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