WindJack Solutions, Inc.

PDF CanOpener 5.0

Updated for the 64 bit version of Acrobat Pro -
The installer includes both 32bit and 64bit versions of the PDF CanOpener plug-in

PDF CanOpener is an Adobe® Acrobat® Plug-In for detailed analysis and COS level manipulation of PDF documents. It provides instant access to information about drawn objects (fonts, color spaces, page location, etc.) as well as a COS level tree view for analysis and manipulation of the internal object structure. (see the screen shots)

This is an amazingly useful tool for any serious PDF user, from creative professionals and print specialists to software developers.

Who can PDF CanOpener help?

Learning the PDF Spec:

New to PDF, need help understanding how documents are put together? PDF CanOpener's visualization of how a real document is put together is a powerful aid in helping you understand the PDF Specification.

Creative and Print Professionals:

Are your current tools just not giving you the level of detail you need? PDF CanOpener Spanner tool provides instant access to info for drawn objects by simply moving the cursor over the object. Object info can be printed, pasted on the page for review, or saved to a file for later use. For greater detail and control the Spanner tool navigates to related content, color space, pattern, font, and graphics state objects in the COS tree. Edit content streams directly for low level control of drawn page objects.

Software Developer:

Need to build or modify a structure within a PDF Document? Instantly analyze and modify existing structures in a PDF, build new structures from scratch. PDF CanOpener is the ultimate PDF developers tool for analysis, rapid prototyping, and verifying the results of your own code.


PDF Analysis

  • COS Object Tree
    Structure displayed in an easy to navigate Explorer format (Screen Shot)
  • PDF CanOpener Object Spanner Tool
    Identifies graphics objects on a PDF page (Screen Shot)
    • Color coded object highlighting
    • Cursor displays object type.
    • Popup info windows on hover or click (colors, fonts, location, transparency, blending modes, render intent, image compression, and other object specific info).
    • Discover and identify overlapping objects with arrow keys or Ctrl+Click.
    • Navigate directly to the location of related drawing resources (fonts, color spaces, graphics state, etc.) in the COS tree with one click or through the right-click menu.
    • Save XObjects to a bitmap file
  • COS Object Search Dialog
    Provides text or indirect ID searches of the COS tree. Several options for controlling scope of search.
  • Stream Viewer
    Allows the contents of any stream to be viewed in one of 4 formats, text (Unicode or ASCII), hexadecimal, XML, or a rendered image (viewable objects only, page contents, XObjects, type 3 font char procs, patterns, and thumbnails). Entry point for stream editing. (Screen Shot)


  • Simple font embedding/un-embedding.
    Add, Delete, Create, Modify, Rename, and Copy/Paste COS Objects anywhere within a PDF Document or between Documents.
  • Convert Indirect COS Objects to Direct, or Direct to Indirect.
    Edit stream data with the built-in stream editor or external editors of your choice (Text, XML, or Hexadecimal).
  • Import or export stream data from/to an external file.
    Change stream encodings, or any encoding/decoding parameter.
  • Create JavaScript icons from image XObjects
    Preview changes made to stream data before writing new data back to the file. Try changes without fear of damaging a PDF.
  • Easily create prototypes of COS Object structures.
    Print any of the info displayed by PDF CanOpener for offline analysis, review, or record keeping.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What's a COS Object?

A: The body of a PDF file is composed entirely of COS objects. They are the basic PDF building blocks and come in a a variety of types; strings, integers, arrays, etc.. Inside the PDF they are arranged in a tree structure. PDF CanOpener displays this tree structure in a Windows Explorer like fashion and allows you to edit the COS Objects.

2. I tried downloading PDF CanOpener but never received the response email. How do I get a trial version to check out?

A: All Windjack Solutions Products are downloaded through a managed process. A download request is made, after which an email is sent with a one time link to a download file. You may make as many requests as you like. It is possible that the email was blocked by your company's firewall. We will happily provide you with a direct link to the download. Without your email we would have never known about your particular download problem and been able to provide you with a download link, so thank you very much for contacting us.

3. Can I return my software for a refund?

A: The software products available on our web site are downloadable, fully functional and try-before-you-buy. We offer all customers a Free trial period to let you fully evaluate our products risk-free before you make a purchase decision. If you purchase one of our products, after your payment has cleared you will recieve an email with the license code to permanently activate the software. We do not offer refunds on software after the license code has been emailed or delivered to the customer. We have this policy since it would be impossible for you to return your registered version of our software. Unlike physical goods, electronically distributed software and software licenses can be duplicated. Once a license has been issued it is unfortunatley not possible for us to recall all copies. Therefore, WindJack Solutions, Inc does not accept product returns or exchanges. During the free trial period we offer free support via email and are available to answer any questions about our products. We strongly recommend that all customers download, install and test the trial version of any product before making a purchase.

4. I downloaded and installed PDF CanOpener but I don't see a toolbar button or menu item?

A: PDF CanOpener has both a menu item (under the Acrobat Advanced menu) and a toolbar button (On the Advanced Editing Toolbar). If these items do not appear then there may be another problem.

PDF CanOpener is a Windows only plug-in. Sorry, no Mac Version. It operates on Acrobat 5.0 Exchange, 6.0 Standard and Professional, and 7.0 Standard and Professional. It will not operate on versions of Acrobat earlier than 5.0 or on Acrobat Reader.

If you have the correct operating system, and version and type of Acrobat then check the Acrobat plug-ins folder to make sure that the PDF CanOpener installed to the correct location. Typically the plug-ins folder is located at:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Acrobat\Plug_ins\WindJack

If you have multiple versions of Acrobat on your system it may have installed into a different location than you think.

5. I'm a developer and have multiple versions of Acrobat installed on my system. PDF CanOpener installs to only the latest version. Can I use it on all of my installed Acrobats and how do I do this?

A: Yes, PDF CanOpener is a single user license. You may use with all of your copies of Acrobat as long as those copies are all on the same system. You may not share it with other users or install it on multiple systems.

As you've noted, PDF CanOpener installs to only the latest version of Acrobat on the system. It must be manually copied into the plug-ins folder for the other Acrobat versions. All versions of Acrobat have a similar folder structure. PDF CanOpener is placed in a sub-folder of the Acrobat Plug-ins folder, located at:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Acrobat\Plug_ins\WindJack

The easiest method is to copy the entire "WindJack" folder to the plug-ins folder in the other versions of Acrobat. But simply copying the "PDFCanOpener.api" file will work just as well.

6. How do I uninstall PDF CanOpener?

A: The installer registers PDF CanOpener with the Windows Operating System so it is listed in the Add/Remove Programs tool. Activate the Add/Remove Programs tool. Scroll down the program list to find and select PDF CanOpener. Right click on the selection and then click the "Remove" button.

This action will only remove the officially installed plug-in. If you have manually copied PDF CanOpener to another version of Acrobat you will have to manually delete it.

7. Where is the PDF CanOpener COS Tree Display.

A: As a convenience, PDF CanOpener uses existing "Tabbed" Acrobat Windows to display the COS Tree. These windows are also referred to as the "Navigation Tabs" in the Acrobat "View" menu. It can use any one of these windows, but defaults to displaying in the "Signatures" window. The tree display is simply drawn over top of the existing window and does not affect it in any other way.

The advantage to using these windows is that they are conveniently placed and can be easily hidden and un-hidden. These windows are initially docked into the application window, but may also be set as floating windows by simply grabbing the tab and moving it with the cursor.

The specific window PDF CanOpener uses can be changed in the PDF CanOpener Preferences, under the "Edit->Preferences-PDF CanOpener..." menu item.

8. I can't edit anything- is this a limitation of the demo version?

A: The PDF CanOpener Demo is a fully functioning version. Editing is turned on and off from the PDF CanOpener Preferences dialog, activated with:

"Edit->Preferences-PDF CanOpener..."

Check to see if editing is enabled, if it is not choose the editing option(s) you want as explained below.

The "General" tab has 3 options that relate to editing.

  1. Allow all operations - Not recommended. This option allows you to edit virtually any COS Object in the PDF. Editing some of the COS Objects will damage the PDF (since there are certain structural expectations) and should not be edited, ever.
  2. Modify - Recommended. Allows you to modify the value of COS Objects.
  3. Delete - Recommended. Allows you to delete COS Objects.

9. I'm just learning about the PDF format and only have Reader installed. Can I still use PDF CanOpener?

A: PDF CanOpener is the ideal tool for learning about the PDF internals. But No, PDF CanOpener will not work with Reader. It requires the Standard or Professional version of Acrobat 5, 6, or 7.

10. I have a file that won't open in Acrobat. Can I use PDF CanOpener to analyze and fix it?

A: Sorry, No, since PDF CanOpener is a plug-in for Acrobat, the file must be opened in Acrobat before PDF CanOpener can be used.

11. Can I delete or change Watermarks with PDF CanOpener?

A: The answer is a conditional yes. Since PDF CanOpener edits the PDF at the COS level it can perform virtually any structural or content changes. However, This is not a recommended use for PDF CanOpener. PDF CanOpener is best used for analyzing PDFs, doing minor fixes, and prototyping PDF manipulations (for software development). It is the essential tool for the person who is going to write an Acrobat plug-in that removes watermarks

12. I would like to select an item from the PDF page and discover it's color details and resolution. Will PDF CanOpener do this?

A: Yes, PDF CanOpener exposes the complete low level structure of the PDF so all the information is there. However, you need to know a little bit about PDF internals to find and interpret this info.

Easy access to this type of information has been a frequent request. So the upcoming PDF CanOpener update will include popup windows that display this and other information for every page content object. Stay tuned

13. Can PDF CanOpener extract content streams?

A: PDF CanOpener can both extract and import the contents of any stream object, encoded or decoded.

14. Can PDF CanOpener detect and display bad COS Objects?

A: Bad can mean a lot of different things. If the object is bad in a file structure kind of way then Acrobat will either repair the file when it is opened or refuse to open it. So by the time PDF CanOpener is available the object data has been fixed. When this happens Acrobat will sometimes refuse to let PDF CanOpener operate on the broken PDF. The file should be saved and reopened.

Bad can also mean that the PDF Object structure is wrong. For example, if a page rectangle object only had 3 elements (it's supposed to have 4), or the bookmark dictionaries where built improperly. Acrobat will usually open files with these kind of problems, skipping over the bad parts of the file and displaying only the good parts. PDF CanOpener is perfect for finding and repairing these types of problems, but it doesn't specifically flag problem items, you'll have to find them yourself.

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