PDF Tools AG offers different variants of many of its products. One variant or another may be better suited for a concrete solution depending on its area of use.

The following is an overview of the available variants.

Product types


[application programming interface]

A programmable component that can be integrated in a server or client application.

It has one or more interfaces (C, Java, .NET, COM) that can be addressed in various programming languages (C/C++, Java, C#, Visual Basic, Delphi, etc.).

Typical users:

  • Programmers
  • Web developers

Typical area of use:

  • Integration in an application
  • Web application (server or client based)


A server-based solution for Windows that makes it simple to map work processes on watched directories. You can configure every watched directory individually so that documents that are copied to the folder are processed automatically.

Typical users:

  • Configuration: System administrator
  • User: Any

Typical area of use:

  • Centrally administrated departmental or corporate service that can be made available to any number of users

Shell tool

[command line tool]

A program for issuing concrete server-based or client-based commands without any programming. This can occur interactively on a Shell (Windows: Command Prompt) or automatically via batch script.
A Shell tool does not have a graphic interface.

Typical area of use:

  • Batch job processing, especially in conjunction with high throughput

Desktop product

An end user product installed on a client and equipped with a graphic interface.

Typical users:

  • End user


An add‑on is a product that can be used as an extension to another product. The OCR Add‑On is a typical example of an add‑on product. Although it can be used as a stand-alone product, it is more commonly used in connection with another work stage such as image-to‑PDF conversion or converting PDF to PDF/A.