Mako SDK


Mako is a multi-platform technology for creating, interrogating, manipulating and visualizing PDF documents, offering precise control over color, fonts, images, vector content and much more.

Mako provides developers with tools for:


View documents in mobile, cloud and desktop applications, performance-tuned for the platform with Mako TrueView™.


Detailed access to the document object model to extract, modify or supplement.


Fast, accurate conversion between multiple PDLs.


Mako’s core support for PDF is based on ISO 32000-1, the ISO standard for PDF based on PDF 1.7. Mako also supports specific Adobe extensions introduced after the standard, and Mako now supports ISO 32000-2, otherwise known as PDF 2.0.

Mako supports specific conversions to PDF/A-1a for prepress and PDF/A-1b for long-term archiving. As Mako continues to be developed, support for new and updated standards, notably PDF/X-4 and PDF/A-2, will be added.

Colour Conversion

Mako incorporates a colour management engine that is used to perform all but the most trivial colour conversion operations, referencing input and output ICC profiles that are embedded in the document, found on the local system or built-in to Mako itself, to ensure colour integrity.


Built into Mako is Global Graphic’s Jaws RIP, a high-speed RIP for fast and accurate rendering of any part of a page, complete pages or entire documents, at a chosen resolution and colour space. The integration of Jaws RIP into Mako enables high-speed rendering not just for print but for other applications where rendering accuracy and quality are paramount.

Mako TrueView™

An integral part of Mako is Mako TrueView™, a technology for page rendering, designed specifically to render digital pages on the new breed of high pixel density devices.  It’s designed from the ground up to give your users the best document viewing experience no matter what operating system or device they are using.

It’s a new approach: unlike other viewing technology, it’s multi-platform rather than cross- platform: vector content is provided to the graphics engine on each device to give optimum performance.

Digital pages are very interactive. The quality and sharpness of the page is important but so is the fluid and instant interactivity of the viewer. The page or a segment of the page needs to be continually re-rendered and brought to the screen smoothly as the user pans and zooms.

Mako TrueView takes advantage of the highly optimized and powerful rendering technologies supplied by the operating system and browser suppliers.

  • Microsoft Windows – the Mako TrueView renderer creates XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language). This is a vector application rendering format that can be hardware accelerated by the Windows and .NET runtimes.
  • Apple macOS and iOS – the Mako TrueView renderer creates Quartz 2D objects which is the graphics engine used by these operating systems.
  • Google Android – the Mako TrueView renderer creates Skia 2D based objects. This is an open source rendering engine supported by Android devices.
  • Web Browser (Cloud Apps) – the Mako TrueView renderer creates Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a standard vector format supported by HTML5-compliant browsers.

Document Manipulation

Mako technology can be used to manipulate documents at an object level e.g. text, blends, color spaces, and images. Using the Document Object Model or DOM you access the raw building blocks of documents in a way that works for all of the page description languages (PDLs) we support so you can write your document manipulation code once and apply it to multiple PDLs.

  • Optimize documents for size and complexity
  • Redact content
  • Fill in forms and flatten
  • Analyse document structure
  • Merge, Split, Extract, Rotate, Crop and Delete Pages
  • Impose pages
  • Extract text and edit
  • Edit PDF style comments
  • Edit Bookmarks
  • Add Stamps and Watermarks
  • Convert Color Spaces
  • Edit Metadata
  • Add Links

Document Conversion

Mako excels at converting one Page Description Language (PDL) to another.

Any supported input format (e.g. PDF and XPS) can be converted to any supported output format (e.g. PDF, XPS, SVG or PostScript) with extremely high fidelity.

Mako is a premium solution for PDL conversion in:

  • Desktop applications
  • File conversion servers
  • Mobile apps
  • Web services
  • Universal Printer drivers
  • Mobile Print Solutions (e.g. Android Print Services)

Where to use Mako?

Prepress for Harlequin

Mako is an ideal tool for developing custom processes for prepress. Splitting, combining, colour conversions, imposing, simplifying content complexity, adding new content such as 2D-barcodes – all of these are examples that Harlequin customers have used Mako to accomplish. They do this to improve productivity of the Harlequin RIP by ensuring the job is ‘just right’ for optimum performance and reliability.

Desktop & Server

Mako is the foundation of desktop products for

  • Processing PDF – optimising, adding new content, changing or updating images, text, vector content etc.
  • Generating new PDF content from scratch or existing content (split, combine, reorder etc.)
  • Enabling automated processes
  • Supporting complex workflows – for example, using Mako to identify documents by content such as name or code number


Mako’s Linux distribution is the ideal toolbox to implement server-side processing of documents. For example, there may be a need to downsample a high-res PDF before rendering it or delivering it to a web browser.

PDF Standards

Convert or generate PDF content to meet a given standard

  • PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-4 for printing
  • PDF/A-1b, PDF/A-2 for long-term archiving
  • PDF 2.0

Printer Drivers

Output for print workflows

Convert a PDF to a print stream that can be submitted to an output device

  • PCL5-e
  • PCL6 (PCL XL)
  • PS (PostScript)

These conversions are available on all platforms. Use them to print-enable apps running on mobile platforms (Android, iOS) or Windows 10 IOT devices.

For Windows, sample Windows drivers are provided that demonstrate how to build an output filter to convert XPS to PDF in an XPSDrv printer driver.

Windows 10 IOT

Use Mako’s features available in the UWP distribution for Windows 10 IOT, to enable

  • High-quality, PDF-based document generation – for reporting, custom content and more
  • Enable printing directly form the device
  • Deliver documents via the web


Use Mako’s features available in the Android and iOS distributions

  • Build high quality, fluid PDF viewing capability directly into your app (sample caode provided)
  • Convert between PDLs, without the need to call out to a server process
  • Use all of Mako rich APIs to manipulate document content, to customise and add value.







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