Getting Started

issuu offers a simple REST-based interface making it quick and easy to get started.

Step 1: Apply for API key

The first thing you need to do is to apply for an API key. The only thing we require is that you have an active issuu account and that you give us a bit of information about the application you would like to build. We are very curious to see what cool stuff you come up with!

Please remember that the API key should be treated like any other password. With it you can carry out actions like deleting information and documents from your issuu account. Do not disclose or share your API key with anyone else!

Step 2: Choose API method

Before you can make a request you must choose an API method. Depending on which method you would like to call you need to choose the correct endpoint.

As a rule all requests must be made to the following endpoint:

Parameters should either be sent as part of the URL when using HTTP GET requests or inside the HTTP body for HTTP POST requests.

Every rule needs an exception though! When uploading documents a special endpoint must be used:

When uploading files you must use HTTP POST with encoding multipart/form-data.

Step 3: Make a request

To perform an action against the issuu API there are three parameters which must always be included in the request:

  1. The required parameter apiKey is used for authentication. The request will be carried out on behalf of the associated user account.
  2. The required parameter signature is used for authentication. Signing Requests describes how to calculate the signature value
  3. The required parameter action is used to specify the calling method.

You are free to choose between sending the parameters using HTTP GET or HTTP POST.<apiKey>&signature=<signature>&action=<method>

Note: All data sent to the issuu API must be UTF-8 encoded. And all data returned by the API will be UTF-8 encoded. Submitting data in a different encoding will cause the request to fail with error code 201 “Invalid field format”. See Step 5: Handle Errors for common error codes.

Request headers

When using POST it is required that you set the Content-Type header to “x-www-form-urlencoded” for all API calls except when uploading files.

Sending data as POST parameters:

POST /1_0 HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: x-www-form-urlencoded

The upload API handles only requests encoded as “multipart/form-data”. See issuu.document.upload for details.

Sending file content and data:

POST /1_0 HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: multipart/form-data; boundary=XXXXXXXXXX

It is highly recommended to use a standard library for handling the encoding when submitting HTTP requests. If the Content-Type is not specified correctly the posted parameters will not be recognized and the error code 200 “Required field is missing” is returned.

GET requests must not include a Content-Type header.

Response format

Two optional parameters are used to specify the response format:

  1. The optional parameter format is used to specify the response format as either XML or JSON/JSONP.
  2. The optional parameter jsonCallback is used to specify the name of the JSONP callback function.

When calling one of the data listing methods it is highly recommended that you use the optional parameter responseParams to limit the response to only include the parameters which are required by your application.

Step 4: Parse the response

The response from the API server has the same structure for both XML and JSON/JSONP formats. The actual payload of the response is wrapped in an “rsp” element and an attribute named “stat” indicates if the request was successful or not.


<rsp stat="ok">
    <!-- payload goes here -->


    "rsp": {
        "_content": {
            /* payload goes here */
        "stat": "ok"

The HTTP status code for the response is always 200 ‘OK’ even if the request fails.

Step 5: Handle errors

In case of errors the stat attribute will have the value “fail”. The payload of the response is then a single error object with “code” and “message” attributes. If the error is caused by one or more malformed request parameters the optional “field” attribute will indicate the name of the first offending parameter. XML

<rsp stat="fail">
    <error code="[code]" message="[message]" field="[field]"/>


    "rsp": {
         "_content": {
             "error": {
                 "code": "[code]",
                 "message": "[message]",
                 "field": "[field]"
         "stat": "fail"

The table below lists the most common errors:

Code Message Explanation
009 Authentication required Check that API key parameter was included in request
010 Invalid API key Check that API key was submitted correctly. It should consist of 32 characters
011 Bad signature Check your Request Signing procedure
200 Required field is missing Check “field” attribute to see which field is missing
201 Invalid field format Check the documentation for the method you are calling. Certain fields have special formatting requirements. Also check that you are using UTF-8 encoding
205 File size is too large Currently size of uploaded files cannot exceed 100 MB