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PDF generation via http API using wkhtmltopdf
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PDF generation in python using
wkhtmltopdf <>__.

Wkhtmltopdf binaries are precompiled and included in the package making
pydf easier to use, in particular this means pydf works on heroku.

Currently using wkhtmltopdf 0.12.4 (with patched qt), requires Python 3.6+.

If you're not on Linux amd64: pydf comes bundled with a wkhtmltopdf binary which will only work on Linux amd64 architectures. If you're on another OS or architecture your milage may vary, it is likely that you'll need to supply your own wkhtmltopdf binary and point pydf towards it by setting the WKHTMLTOPDF_PATH variable.


.. code:: shell

pip install python-pdf

For python 2 use pip install python-pdf==0.30.0.

Basic Usage

.. code:: python

import pydf
pdf = pydf.generate_pdf('<h1>this is html</h1>')
with open('test_doc.pdf', 'wb') as f:

Async Usage

Generation of lots of documents with wkhtmltopdf can be slow as wkhtmltopdf can only generate one document
per process. To get round this pydf uses python 3's asyncio create_subprocess_exec to generate multiple pdfs
at the same time. Thus the time taken to spin up processes doesn't slow you down.

.. code:: python

from pathlib import Path
from pydf import AsyncPydf

async def generate_async():
    apydf = AsyncPydf()

    async def gen(i):
        pdf_content = await apydf.generate_pdf('<h1>this is html</h1>')

    coros = [gen(i) for i in range(50)]
    await asyncio.gather(*coros)

loop = asyncio.get_event_loop()

See benchmarks/ <>__
for a full example.

Locally generating an entire invoice goes from 0.372s/pdf to 0.035s/pdf with the async model.


pydf is available as a docker image with a very simple http API for generating pdfs.

Simple POST (or GET with data if possible) you HTML data to /generate.pdf.

Arguments can be passed using http headers; any header starting pdf- or pdf_ will
have that prefix removed, be converted to lower case and passed to wkhtmltopdf.

For example:

.. code:: shell

docker run -rm -p 8000:80 -d samuelcolvin/pydf
curl -d '<h1>this is html</h1>' -H "pdf-orientation: landscape" http://localhost:8000/generate.pdf > created.pdf
open "created.pdf"

In docker compose:

.. code:: yaml

image: samuelcolvin/pydf

Other services can then generate PDFs by making requests to pdf/generate.pdf. Pretty cool.


generate_pdf(source, [**kwargs])

Generate a pdf from either a url or a html string.

After the html and url arguments all other arguments are passed straight
to wkhtmltopdf

For details on extra arguments see the output of get_help() and

All arguments whether specified or caught with extra_kwargs are
converted to command line args with '--' + original_name.replace('_', '-').

Arguments which are True are passed with no value eg. just --quiet,
False and None arguments are missed, everything else is passed with


  • source: html string to generate pdf from or url to get
  • quiet: bool
  • grayscale: bool
  • lowquality: bool
  • margin_bottom: string eg. 10mm
  • margin_left: string eg. 10mm
  • margin_right: string eg. 10mm
  • margin_top: string eg. 10mm
  • orientation: Portrait or Landscape
  • page_height: string eg. 10mm
  • page_width: string eg. 10mm
  • page_size: string: A4, Letter, etc.
  • image_dpi: int default 600
  • image_quality: int default 94
  • extra_kwargs: any exotic extra options for wkhtmltopdf

Returns string representing pdf


Get version of pydf and wkhtmltopdf binary


get help string from wkhtmltopdf binary uses -h command line option


get extended help string from wkhtmltopdf binary uses -H command line


Low level function to call wkhtmltopdf, arguments are added to
wkhtmltopdf binary and passed to subprocess with not processing.

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