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How to add layers in a PDF using C# and VB.NET?

Platform: WinForms |
Control: PDF
Tags: pdf, layer

The layers are also known as Optical Content that refers to sections of content in a PDF document, which is selectively viewed or hidden by document authors or consumers. This capability is useful in items such as CAD drawings, layered artwork, maps, and multi-language documents.

Syncfusion Essential PDF is a .NET PDF library used to create, read, and edit PDF documents. Using this library, you can add layer to a PDF in C# and VB.NET.

Steps to add layer to PDF programmatically:

  1. Create a new C# console application project. Create new console application
  2. Install the Syncfusion.Pdf.WinForms NuGet package as reference to your .NET Framework application from NuGet.org. Install nuget packages
  3. Include the following namespaces in the Program.cs file.


using Syncfusion.Pdf;
using Syncfusion.Pdf.Graphics;



Imports Syncfusion.Pdf
Imports Syncfusion.Pdf.Graphics


  1. Use the following code snippet to add a layer to the PDF document.


//Create the PDF document
PdfDocument document = new PdfDocument();
PdfPage page = document.Pages.Add();
//Add the first layer
PdfPageLayer layer = page.Layers.Add("Layer1");
PdfGraphics graphics = layer.Graphics;
graphics.TranslateTransform(100, 60);
//Draw an arc
PdfPen pen = new PdfPen(System.Drawing.Color.Red, 50);
RectangleF bounds = new RectangleF(0, 0, 50, 50);
graphics.DrawArc(pen, bounds, 360, 360);
//Add another layer on the page
PdfPageLayer layer2 = page.Layers.Add("Layer2");
graphics = layer2.Graphics;
graphics.TranslateTransform(100, 180);
//Draw an ellipse
graphics.DrawEllipse(pen, bounds);
//Save the document
//Close the document
//This will open the PDF file so, the result will be seen in default PDF viewer



'Create the PDF document
Dim document As New PdfDocument()
Dim page As PdfPage = document.Pages.Add()
'Add the first layer
Dim layer As PdfPageLayer = page.Layers.Add("Layer1")
Dim graphics As PdfGraphics = layer.Graphics
graphics.TranslateTransform(100, 60)
'Draw an arc
Dim pen As New PdfPen(System.Drawing.Color.Red, 50)
Dim bounds As New RectangleF(0, 0, 50, 50)
graphics.DrawArc(pen, bounds, 360, 360)
'Add another layer on the page
Dim layer2 As PdfPageLayer = page.Layers.Add("Layer2")
graphics = layer2.Graphics
graphics.TranslateTransform(100, 180)
'Draw an ellipse
graphics.DrawEllipse(pen, bounds)
'Save the document
'Close the document
'This will open the PDF file so, the result will be seen in default PDF viewer


A complete working sample can be downloaded from PDFLayerSample.zip.

By executing the program, you will get the PDF document as follows. Screenshot of output PDF file

Take a moment to peruse the documentation for adding layers in a PDF document, where you can find other options like adding annotation to layer, removing layers from an existing PDF document, and toggling the visibility of layers.

Refer here to explore the rich set of Syncfusion Essential PDF features.

An online sample link to adding layers with different shapes in the PDF document.


Starting with v16.2.0.x, if you reference Syncfusion assemblies from trial setup or from the NuGet feed, include a license key in your projects. Refer to link to learn about generating and registering Syncfusion license key in your application to use the components without trail message.



I hope you enjoyed learning about how to add layers in a PDF using C# and VB.NET.

You can refer to our WinForms PDF’s feature tour page to know about its other groundbreaking feature representations. You can also explore our WinForms PDF documentation to understand how to present and manipulate data.

For current customers, you can check out our WinForms components from the License and Downloads page. If you are new to Syncfusion, you can try our 30-day free trial to check out our WinForms PDF and other WinForms components.

If you have any queries or require clarifications, please let us know in comments below. You can also contact us through our support forumsDirect-Trac, or feedback portal. We are always happy to assist you!


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