Need a Java Tool to watermark PDF files when they are downloaded by users

gdkinney_2 used Ask the Experts™
Need a Java Tool to watermark PDF files when they are downloaded by users.

I think this should be a free tool that I can implement to watermark pdf files that users download.

I need to do the following:

1) Display a watermark on the first page of the document.
2) I will need to display a static message on the top and bottom of each page of the document.
3) I will need to display a date and time stamp on the top and bottom of each page of the document for indicating when the document was downloaded.

Thanks in advance
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Sounds like you need itext:


Is itextpdf free?  I believe we need something that is free.
it is free
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We are using Struts.  We have a wrapper class called DownloadDocument that implements org.apache.struts.actions.DownloadAction.  I send this class a contentType (a String) and a inputStream (an InputStream) in its constructor.

Here is the call to the constructor:
downlloadDocument downloadDocument = new DownloadDocument("application/pdf", inputStream);

parameter inputStream is a;

How would I then use itextpfd or some other Java watermarking tool to watermark downloadDocument the way I described above?

You would add logic in your DownloadDocument or a helper class to add your additions to the original pdf.  Here is an example from the itext site of superimposing image and text. Your needs seem to be much simpler - just adding a few pieces of text.  There are many other examples of using the library at


What I really need to do is make a copy of the original pdf file, then watermark that file and return that copy of the original once it has been watermarked.  I can save the watermarked file as maybe temp.pdf but I do not want to overwrite the original file with the watermarks.

Is there a way I can do this in itextpdf?  Is there a way I can make a copy of a pdf then watermark the copied file and then save this copied watermarked file under another filename like maybe temp.pdf?

you can save it, but you don't have to - you could just stream the updated bytes directly out.


Hi onlyaymie,

I am brand new to itextpdf so I have no idea how to do that.  I really need some concrete examples.

I would advise taking a look at the extensive examples on the itext site.


I am using the following to watermark a file:

private void getNewFile(String oldFile) {

      try   {
             PdfReader pdfReader = new PdfReader(oldFile);
             int n = pdfReader.getNumberOfPages();
             int i = 1;
             PdfContentByte under;
             PdfContentByte over;
             // Get the PdfStamper object        
             PdfStamper pdfStamper = new PdfStamper(pdfReader, new  FileOutputStream(newFile));

             // Get the PdfContentByte type by pdfStamper.      
             //PdfContentByte underContent = pdfStamper.getUnderContent(1);
             BaseFont bf = BaseFont.createFont(BaseFont.HELVETICA,
             BaseFont.WINANSI, BaseFont.EMBEDDED);

             while (i <= n)  {
                   under = pdfStamper.getUnderContent(i);
                   //Mark only the first page of document
                   if (i == 1)  {
                        under.setFontAndSize(bf, 30);
                        under.showTextAligned(Element.ALIGN_LEFT, "SERRA/EPA", 200, 400, 45);
                   //Mark top of each page of document - Center text
                   under.setFontAndSize(bf, 14);
                   under.showTextAligned(Element.ALIGN_LEFT, "DO NOT DISTRIBUTE", 200, 800, 0);

                   //Mark bottom of each page of document - Center text
                   under.showTextAligned(Element.ALIGN_LEFT, "DO NOT DISTRIBUTE", 200, 0, 0);


      } catch (Exception de) { }

Is there a better to do it than using the showTextAligned method?  It uses absolute positioning.  I'd like a method that would put the text at the top and bottom of each page centered automatically without using absolute positioning.  Also I need a large text across the first page of the document centered at a 45 degree angle going up across the page.  I am using iText for PDF document marking in Java.

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