Overriding Classes in Our iOS Viewer

PSPDFKit has a unique and easy-to-use system that allows you to subclass classes that are used deeply within the framework without having to know where they’re all instantiated.

The PDFConfigurationBuilder object has an overrideClass(_:with:) method in the builder, which is where you can register your subclasses to be used in place of the default PSPDFKit classes.

Let’s say you want to move the ScrubberBar all the way to the top. Classes usually don’t manage their placement themselves, so in this example, the class is managed by the UserInterfaceView, which requires you to override the class. We usually expose a variety of hooks that are meant to be modified in a subclass:

extension UserInterfaceView {

    /// Update these to manually set the frame.
    open func updateDocumentLabelFrame(animated: Bool)
    open func updatePageLabelFrame(animated: Bool)
    open func updateThumbnailBarFrame(animated: Bool)
    open func updateScrubberBarFrame(animated: Bool)

@interface PSPDFUserInterfaceView (SubclassingHooks)

// Update these to manually set the frame.
- (void)updateDocumentLabelFrameAnimated:(BOOL)animated;
- (void)updatePageLabelFrameAnimated:(BOOL)animated;
- (void)updateThumbnailBarFrameAnimated:(BOOL)animated;
- (void)updateScrubberBarFrameAnimated:(BOOL)animated;


Here we’re interested in modifying the updateScrubberBarFrame(animated:) method.

First, we create a custom subclass where we override this method:

class CustomUserInterfaceView: UserInterfaceView {

    override func updateScrubberBarFrame(animated: Bool) {
        super.updateScrubberBarFrame(animated: animated)

        // Stick scrubber bar to the top.
        var newFrame = dataSource!.contentRect
        newFrame.size.height = 44
        scrubberBar.frame = newFrame

@interface PSCCustomUserInterfaceView : PSPDFUserInterfaceView @end

@implementation PSCCustomUserInterfaceView

- (void)updateScrubberBarFrameAnimated:(BOOL)animated {
    [super updateScrubberBarFrameAnimated:animated];

    // Stick scrubber bar to the top.
    CGRect newFrame = self.dataSource.contentRect;
    newFrame.size.height = 44.f;
    self.scrubberBar.frame = newFrame;


Next, we register our custom subclass:

let pdfController = PDFViewController(document: document) {
    $0.overrideClass(UserInterfaceView.self, with: CustomUserInterfaceView.self)
PSPDFConfiguration *configuration = [PSPDFConfiguration configurationWithBuilder:^(PSPDFConfigurationBuilder *builder) {
    [builder overrideClass:PSPDFUserInterfaceView.class withClass:PSCCustomUserInterfaceView.class];

PSPDFViewController *pdfController = [[PSPDFViewController alloc] initWithDocument:document configuration:configuration];

That’s it! From now on, every time PSPDFKit creates a UserInterfaceView, it actually uses CustomUserInterfaceView.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Your subclass must be an actual subclass or we’ll throw an exception to warn you.

  • Only classes that already conform to the Overridable protocol can be overridden. Don’t add conformance to this protocol for any other existing classes or for your new ones.

  • Most methods require that you call them on super.

  • Model-related classes need to be registered in Document’s overrideClass(_:with:).

  • Overrides need to be registered before calling any other method on the object (e.g. trying to set an override on the document after unlock(withPassword:) has been called will silently fail — it’d be too expensive to check all calls for timing correctness).

  • If you see a getter/setter property pair or a read-only getter, don’t override it unless doing so is specifically documented. In most cases, this will lead to unexpected/inconsistent/buggy behavior. PSPDFKit will even detect and assert some of these attempts, but we can’t possibly anticipate every use and every way to dynamically override properties. In most cases, there will be a better way to achieve what you’re trying to do — ping us on support; we’re happy to help.