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Convert HTML Page To a PDF Using Open Source Tool

07/10/2015 Categories: Logiciel Tags:

Source: nixCraft

Do you need a simple open source cross-platform command line tool that converts web pages and HTML to a PDF file? Look no further, try wkhtmltopdf.

From the project home page:

Simple shell utility to convert html to pdf using the webkit rendering engine, and qt. Searching the web, I have found several command line tools that allow you to convert a HTML-document to a PDF-document, however they all seem to use their own, and rather incomplete rendering engine, resulting in poor quality. Recently QT 4.4 was released with a WebKit widget (WebKit is the engine of Apples Safari, which is a fork of the KDE KHtml), and making a good tool became very easy.

Software features

  1. Cross platform.
  2. Open source.
  3. Convert any web pages into PDF documents using webkit.
  4. You can add headers and footers.
  5. TOC generation.
  6. Batch mode conversions.
  7. Can run on Linux server with an XServer (the X11 client libs must be installed).
  8. Can be directly used by PHP or Python via bindings to libwkhtmltox.

A note about Debian / Ubuntu Linux user

You can install wkhtmltopdf using apt-get command:
$ sudo apt-get install wkhtmltopdf
$ sudo ln -s /usr/bin/wkhtmltopdf /usr/local/bin/html2pdf

Sample outputs:

[sudo] password for vivek:
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 10 not upgraded.
Need to get 116 kB of archives.
After this operation, 303 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 squeeze/main wkhtmltopdf amd64 0.9.9-1 [116 kB]
Fetched 116 kB in 2s (49.4 kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package wkhtmltopdf.
(Reading database ... 274164 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking wkhtmltopdf (from .../wkhtmltopdf_0.9.9-1_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up wkhtmltopdf (0.9.9-1) ...

Download wkhtmltopdf

Visit this page to grab wkhtmltopdf for Linux / MS-Windows / Apple Mac OS X. You can also use thewget command as follows:
$ wget
Sample outputs:

Resolving, 2404:6800:4001:c01::52
Connecting to||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 11175276 (11M) [application/octet-stream]
Saving to: `wkhtmltopdf-0.11.0_rc1-static-amd64.tar.bz2'
100%[======================================>] 1,11,75,276  480K/s   in 23s
2012-10-04 01:21:43 (477 KB/s) - `wkhtmltopdf-0.11.0_rc1-static-amd64.tar.bz2' saved [11175276/11175276]

Install wkhtmltopdf under Linux

Type the following tar command to extract files:
$ tar xvf wkhtmltopdf-0.11.0_rc1-static-amd64.tar.bz2
Sample outputs:


Install the same in your private ~/bin/ directory or in /usr/local/bin directory:
$ mv wkhtmltopdf-amd64 ~/bin/
ln -s ~/bin/wkhtmltopdf-amd64 ~/bin/html2pdf

$ sudo mv wkhtmltopdf-amd64 /usr/local/bin/
ln -s /usr/local/bin/wkhtmltopdf-amd64 /usr/local/bin/html2pdf

How do I use wkhtmltopdf?

The syntax is as follows:

html2pdf output.pdf
html2pdf output.pdf
html2pdf -option1  -option2 output.pdf

Example: Simple html to pdf file

In this example, convert out bash for loop page to a pdf file:
$ html2pdf /tmp/bash.for.loop.pdf
Sample outputs:

Loading pages (1/6)
Counting pages (2/6)
Resolving links (4/6)
Loading headers and footers (5/6)
Printing pages (6/6)

To view generated pdf file click here. Verify pdf file, enter:
$ file /tmp/bash.for.loop.pdf
Sample outputs:

/tmp/bash.for.loop.pdf: PDF document, version 1.4

Use the pdfinfo command to prints the contents of the ‘Info’ dictionary (plus some other useful information) from a Portable Document Format (PDF) file:
$ pdfinfo /tmp/bash.for.loop.pdf
Sample outputs:

Title:          Frequently Asked Questions About Linux / UNIX » Bash For Loop Examples » Print
Producer:       wkhtmltopdf
CreationDate:   Thu Oct  4 01:29:33 2012
Tagged:         no
Pages:          4
Encrypted:      no
Page size:      595 x 842 pts (A4)
File size:      98792 bytes
Optimized:      no
PDF version:    1.4

Grayscale pdf

The following PDF will be generated in grayscale:
$ html2pdf -g bash.for.loop.pdf

Set orientation to Landscape or Portrait

Use the following syntax:
$ html2pdf -O Landscape bash.for.loop.pdf

  • -O Landscape|Portrait. The default is Portrait.

How do I set page size?

Use the following syntax:
$ html2pdf -S SIZE bash.for.loop.pdf

  • -s Size : Set paper size to: A4, Letter, etc. (default A4)

How do I generate table of content?

A table of content can be added to the document by adding a toc the command line option. For example:
$ html2pdf toc bash.for.loop.pdf
Sample outputs:

Please note that the table of content is generated based on the H tags in the input documents.

How do I see all available options?

You can see a list of commonly used options, enter:
$ wkhtmltopdf --help
OR see all available options i.e. display more extensive help, detailing less common command switches, run:
$ wkhtmltopdf -H | less

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