iTextsharp Alternative | IronPDF and iTextSharp C# Comparison

By  //  February 26, 2021

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

If you are trying to decide between itextsharp vs pdfsharp and which C# PDF library is best suited for you and your needs then you will want to take a look at iTextSharp or the iTextSharp alternative, IronPDF.

What are iTextSharp and IronPDF?

iTextSharp is a Java first open source that focuses on rendering PDFs using a programmatic API, and is a great choice for free and academic projects. IronPDF is .Net, and is more focused on providing PDFS from HTML.

This allows for developers to complete work without having to focus on how the PDF works, and makes IronPDF a great choice for pragmatic coders. Both systems can generate, change, and print PDFs in .NET Core and .NET.


Licensing is an important factor, especially for academic and developer work. iTextSharp is under the AGLP license agreement and is open source. This guarantees that anyone who uses an application that contains iTextSharp, even across a company network or the internet, is entitled to a full copy of the app’s source code.

However, if you intend to use iTextSharp for commercial applications then it is best to contact iText directly to discuss the iTextSharp license cost. IronPDF is a software that has no cost for development and the library can be licensed for commercial use at prices starting at three hundred and ninety-nine dollars.

Which library would you be most comfortable with

For about six years iTextSharp has been functioning as an open source Java codebase and has a somewhat Java flavor. If the developer is used to Java then the iTextSharp library will seem familiar.

Comparatively, IronPDF is a .NET first library with an API designed around ease of use in Visual Studio. .NET has been around for almost twenty years and is always growing and expanding, which is something IronPDF leverages.

Key Differences

There are some key differences when generating a PDF from HTML using iTextSharp and IronPDF. iTextSharp PDF to HTML uses a programmatic model that provides the PDFs and it has PDF manipulating APIs that closely follow the standard PDF.

Some of the key features include open source licensing, the ability to edit and read PDFs, a programmatic drawing model, and PDF manipulation. IronPDF is more focused on the productivity of the developer. The library is used to simplify common type complex PDF code tasks and retrieve images and text, sign PDF documents, and allow editing of PDFS with new HTML. This can all be achieved without the developer having to know or study the PDF document.


In the end both libraries are useful in their own right, but it is important to note the rendering API of iTextSharp and IronPDF are very different.

Key items to take away are that iTextSharp renders focus with a programmatic drawing model, provides basic HTML to PDF via a pdfHTML add-on, the commercial use pricing is not published, it is based on a Java API and it is excellent for academic assignments and research.

While IronPDF allows for the conversion of HTML to PDF with a full built in web browser, has explicit licenses with published pricing, makes it easy to code with .NET first design, but is not suited for academic assignments or coursework.