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Chapter 3. Syntax > Common Data Structures

3.8. Common Data Structures

As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, there are some general-purpose data structures that are built from the basic object types described in Section 3.2, “Objects,” and are used in many places throughout PDF. This section describes data structures for text strings, dates, rectangles, name trees, and number trees. The subsequent two sections describe more complex data structures for functions and file specifications.

All of these data structures are meaningful only as part of the document hierarchy; they cannot appear within content streams. In particular, the special conventions for interpreting the values of string objects apply only to strings outside content streams. An entirely different convention is used within content streams for using strings to select sequences of glyphs to be painted on the page (see Chapter 5). Table 3.31 summarizes the basic and higher-level data types that are used throughout this book to describe the values of dictionary entries and other PDF data values.


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