Installation and activation of pdfToolbox Server/CLI

pdfToolbox CLI (command line interface) offers a wide range of options to analyze, correct and enhance PDF files as well as impositioning features and color conversion.
For activating the SDK (software developer kit), please visit this page.

System requirements

The command line version of pdfToolbox is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
You can check the following website for the currently supported version of these operating systems:

You can easily test if pdfToolbox CLI is working on your system: Just type pdfToolbox --help in the terminal.

There are 64 bit versions of pdfToolbox CLI available for MacOS, Windows and Linux.  pdfToolbox CLI does also run on 64 bit systems if the required 32 bit compatibility packages are available.

at least 2 GB RAM
at least 10 GB of free Disk Space

Hardware recommendations

pdfToolbox does not have extensive hardware requirements, so a decent computer should usually satisfy for processing PDF files. Concrete requirements depend very much on the complexity of the files and the operations to be performed. Some general recommendations are:

  • For any PDF processes (checking and/or fixing) information about all PDF objects has to be available to the engine. The size of the RAM memory needs to be big enough for all such objects. If possible the size of the RAM should be not too small, especially for complex PDF files with many pages.
  •  Any operations will include reading and writing to "disc". Faster storage devices therefore speed up the process and processing will take advantage of using SSDs or similar.
  •  pdfToolbox allows for parallel processing. This will, however, only result in faster processing if the number of cores is higher than the number of parallel processes. It is recommended to have at least one additional core for system processes.



Dual-Core Processor
160 GB SATA hard disc


Quad-Core Processor

Installing the software


You can download the latest version of pdfToolbox Server/CLI from our website by requesting a trial:

  1. pdfToolbox Server/CLI: pdftoolboxserver

  2. pdfToolbox CLI: pdftoolboxcli

You can also register on our website for easy access to all pdfToolbox download links. Once registered and logged in, you can access the list of download links:

  1. pdfToolbox Server/CLI: pdftoolboxserver

  2. pdfToolbox CLI: pdftoolboxcli


To install the software start the pdfToolbox Server installer. The installation program will then take you through the necessary steps.


Extract all files from the archive to a destination folder of your choice.

Additional information is provided in <pdfToolbox CLI directory>/ReadMe.txt

NOTE: A new major version of the software should always be installed in a new directory and not in the directory of the previous version.

Request activation

Before callas pdfToolbox CLI can be used, the software has to be activated. Open a terminal window and change to your pdfToolbox CLI installation directory.

Request an activation code for full version

If you have bought a license for callas pdfToolbox Server/CLI you can active the full version with your license key that can be found on your License.pdf:

pdfToolbox --keycode [--aws] <name> <company> <licenseCode>
Click to copy

Request an activation code for trial version

If you just want to try the product, you can request an activation code for a free 14-day trial:

pdfToolbox --keycode  [--aws] <name> <company> trial


pdfToolbox --keycode "Demo Name" "callas software" trial
Click to copy


name Name of licensee (e.g. "Registered User")
company Name of company (e.g. "User's company")
licencecode Licence key obtained from the registration card or the License.pdf provided by callas or the reseller.
trial To make a request for a trial version, please use the keyword "trial" (for a pdfToolbox Server/CLI trial version)
aws For installation on Amazon Web Services (using Windows, Linux 32bit and 64bit)

The textual output of --keycode has to be send via e-mail to the e-mail address named in the text in order to receive an activation code from the registration server.

To make a request for a trial version, please use the keyword "trial" (for a pdfToolbox trial version) for this parameter.

Activating pdfToolbox CLI

After receiving the automatic reply e-mail from the activation server, save the attached 'activation file' to the file system. Then use the following command:

pdfToolbox --activate <activation file>

If no response is received or in the event of an error, please contact [email protected] to determine the exact cause.


activation file Full path to Activation PDF

It is necessary to activate the received license file to get a permantent valid license file.

The Activation.pdf (or the content of the e-mail) can only be used for activation for 48 hours.
After this time frame, a new Activation.pdf has to be requested from the activation server.

The activated license file will be stored in the user-preferences when the normal activation (command above) is used.

To create an activated license file at a custom location, just use the following command:

pdfToolbox --activate <licence file> -o=<path to result folder/License.txt>

pdfToolbox CLI is searching for the license file at various folders:

  • user-preferences-folder of actual user
  • next to the pdfToolbox CLI binary
  • cachefolder (if set)
  • user-preferences-folder for all users (shared)

When using UNIX-based-systems the environment variable CALLAS_SYSTEM_PREFERENCES the path of the standard /usr/share/callas software/callas pdfToolbox CLI can be changed:


would result in the searchpath: /tmp/callas software/callas Toolbox CLI 

It is highly recommended to use the option --cachefolder instead.

Time-limited trial version

After requesting and entering a trial activation code, pdfToolbox CLI can be tested without any restrictions. When the evaluation period has expired, processing PDF files will no longer be possible until you request and enter a new activation code.

Activation using the Standalone application

Using Windows and MacOS, also the activation dialog of the Standalone Application can be used for requesting an activation as well as using a Keycode or just for a trial version. Also the activation itself can be done using that Interface.

All activations (for Desktop, Server as well as for the DeviceLink Addons) can be done using this dialog.

Deactivate pdfToolbox using the CLI

As the activation (and the resulting license file) is bound to the hardware. It is necessary to deactivate a license on one machine before an activation takes place on the new machine.

pdfToolbox --deactivate <activation code>
activation code Unique identifier for each license

The respective license will be removed from the system

To complete the deactivation, the output of the command has to be sent manually to the activation server by e-mail.

The activation code for all license are listed using the status command:

pdfToolbox --status

Deactivation using the Standalone application

Similar to the deactivation using the CLI, the Desktop on Windows and MacOS can be used for deactivation.

The selected license will be removed from the system as well and the necessary e-mail to the activation server will be sent automatically.