Introduction

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PyMuPDF is a Python binding for MuPDF – “a lightweight PDF and XPS viewer”.

MuPDF can access files in PDF, XPS, OpenXPS, CBZ (comic book archive), FB2 and EPUB (e-book) formats.

These are files with extensions .pdf, .xps, .oxps, .cbz, .fb2 or .epub (so you can develop e-book viewers in Python …).

PyMuPDF provides access to many important functions of MuPDF from within a Python environment, and we are continuously seeking to expand this function set.

MuPDF stands out among all similar products for its top rendering capability and unsurpassed processing speed. At the same time, its “light weight” makes it an excellent choice for platforms where resources are typically limited, like smartphones.

Check this out yourself and compare the various free PDF-viewers. In terms of speed and rendering quality SumatraPDF ranges at the top (apart from MuPDF’s own standalone viewer) – since it has changed its library basis to MuPDF!

While PyMuPDF has been available since several years for an earlier version of MuPDF (v1.2, called fitz-python then), it was until only mid May 2015, that its creator and a few co-workers decided to elevate it to support current releases of MuPDF.

PyMuPDF runs and has been tested on Mac, Linux, Windows XP SP2 and up, Python 2.7 through Python 3.7 (note that Python supports Windows XP only up to v3.4), 32bit and 64bit versions. Other platforms should work too, as long as MuPDF and Python support them.

PyMuPDF is hosted on GitHub. We also are registered on PyPI.

For MS Windows and popular Python versions on Mac OSX and Linux we have created wheels. So installation should be convenient enough for hopefully most of our users: just issue

pip install –upgrade pymupdf

If your platform is not among those supported with a wheel, your installation consists of two separate steps:

  1. Installation of MuPDF: this involves downloading the source from their website and then compiling it on your machine. Adjust setup.py to point to the right directories (next step), before you try generating PyMuPDF.
  2. Installation of PyMuPDF: this step is normal Python procedure. Usually you will have to adapt the setup.py to point to correct include and lib directories of your generated MuPDF.

For installation details check out the respective chapter.

There exist several demo and example programs in the main repository, ranging from simple code snippets to full-featured utilities, like text extraction, PDF joiners and bookmark maintenance.

Interesting PDF manipulation and generation functions have been added over time, including metadata and bookmark maintenance, document restructuring, annotation / link handling and document or page creation.

Note on the Name fitz

The standard Python import statement for this library is import fitz. This has a historical reason:

The original rendering library for MuPDF was called Libart.

“After Artifex Software acquired the MuPDF project, the development focus shifted on writing a new modern graphics library called *Fitz. Fitz was originally intended as an R&D project to replace the aging Ghostscript graphics library, but has instead become the rendering engine powering MuPDF.”* (Quoted from Wikipedia).

License

PyMuPDF is distributed under GNU GPL V3 (or later, at your choice).

MuPDF is distributed under a separate license, the GNU AFFERO GPL V3.

Both licenses apply, when you use PyMuPDF.

Note

Version 3 of the GNU AFFERO GPL is a lot less restrictive than its earlier versions used to be. It basically is an open source freeware license, that obliges your software to also being open source and freeware. Consult this website, if you want to create a commercial product with PyMuPDF.

Covered Version

This documentation covers PyMuPDF v1.18.1 features as of 2020-10-18 09:50:36.

Note

The major and minor versions of PyMuPDF and MuPDF will always be the same. Only the third qualifier (patch level) may deviate from that of MuPDF.