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Wkhtmltopdf python wrapper to convert html to pdf using the webkit rendering engine and qt

Project description

Python 2 and 3 wrapper for wkhtmltopdf utility to convert HTML to PDF using Webkit.

This is adapted version of ruby PDFKit library, so big thanks to them!


  1. Install python-pdfkit:

    $ pip install pdfkit
  2. Install wkhtmltopdf:

  • Debian/Ubuntu:

    $ sudo apt-get install wkhtmltopdf

Warning! Version in debian/ubuntu repos have reduced functionality (because it compiled without the wkhtmltopdf QT patches), such as adding outlines, headers, footers, TOC etc. To use this options you should install static binary from wkhtmltopdf site or you can use this script.

  • Windows and other options: check wkhtmltopdf homepage for binary installers


For simple tasks:

import pdfkit

pdfkit.from_url('', 'out.pdf')
pdfkit.from_file('test.html', 'out.pdf')
pdfkit.from_string('Hello!', 'out.pdf')

You can pass a list with multiple URLs or files:

pdfkit.from_url(['', '', ''], 'out.pdf')
pdfkit.from_file(['file1.html', 'file2.html'], 'out.pdf')

Also you can pass an opened file:

with open('file.html') as f:
    pdfkit.from_file(f, 'out.pdf')

If you wish to further process generated PDF, you can read it to a variable:

# Use False instead of output path to save pdf to a variable
pdf = pdfkit.from_url('', False)

You can specify all wkhtmltopdf options. You can drop ‘–’ in option name. If option without value, use None, False or ‘’ for dict value:. For repeatable options (incl. allow, cookie, custom-header, post, postfile, run-script, replace) you may use a list or a tuple. With option that need multiple values (e.g. –custom-header Authorization secret) we may use a 2-tuple (see example below).

options = {
    'page-size': 'Letter',
    'margin-top': '0.75in',
    'margin-right': '0.75in',
    'margin-bottom': '0.75in',
    'margin-left': '0.75in',
    'encoding': "UTF-8",
    'custom-header' : [
        ('Accept-Encoding', 'gzip')
    'cookie': [
        ('cookie-name1', 'cookie-value1'),
        ('cookie-name2', 'cookie-value2'),
    'no-outline': None

pdfkit.from_url('', 'out.pdf', options=options)

By default, PDFKit will show all wkhtmltopdf output. If you dont want it, you need to pass quiet option:

options = {
    'quiet': ''

pdfkit.from_url('', 'out.pdf', options=options)

Due to wkhtmltopdf command syntax, TOC and Cover options must be specified separately. If you need cover before TOC, use cover_first option:

toc = {
    'xsl-style-sheet': 'toc.xsl'

cover = 'cover.html'

pdfkit.from_file('file.html', options=options, toc=toc, cover=cover)
pdfkit.from_file('file.html', options=options, toc=toc, cover=cover, cover_first=True)

You can specify external CSS files when converting files or strings using css option.

Warning This is a workaround for this bug in wkhtmltopdf. You should try –user-style-sheet option first.

# Single CSS file
css = 'example.css'
pdfkit.from_file('file.html', options=options, css=css)

# Multiple CSS files
css = ['example.css', 'example2.css']
pdfkit.from_file('file.html', options=options, css=css)

You can also pass any options through meta tags in your HTML:

body = """
        <meta name="pdfkit-page-size" content="Legal"/>
        <meta name="pdfkit-orientation" content="Landscape"/>
      Hello World!

pdfkit.from_string(body, 'out.pdf') #with --page-size=Legal and --orientation=Landscape


Each API call takes an optional configuration paramater. This should be an instance of pdfkit.configuration() API call. It takes the configuration options as initial paramaters. The available options are:

  • wkhtmltopdf - the location of the wkhtmltopdf binary. By default pdfkit will attempt to locate this using which (on UNIX type systems) or where (on Windows).

  • meta_tag_prefix - the prefix for pdfkit specific meta tags - by default this is pdfkit-

Example - for when wkhtmltopdf is not on $PATH:

config = pdfkit.configuration(wkhtmltopdf='/opt/bin/wkhtmltopdf')
pdfkit.from_string(html_string, output_file, configuration=config)


  • IOError: 'No wkhtmltopdf executable found':

    Make sure that you have wkhtmltopdf in your $PATH or set via custom configuration (see preceding section). where wkhtmltopdf in Windows or which wkhtmltopdf on Linux should return actual path to binary.

  • IOError: 'Command Failed'

    This error means that PDFKit was unable to process an input. You can try to directly run a command from error message and see what error caused failure (on some wkhtmltopdf versions this can be cause by segmentation faults)


  • 0.6.0
    • Support repeatable options

    • Support multiple values for some options

    • Fix some corner cases when specific argument order is required

    • Some Python 3+ compatibility fixes

    • Update README

  • 0.5.0
    • Allow passing multiple css files

    • Fix problems with external file encodings

    • Rise an error when X server is missing on *nix systems

    • Fix tests that was broken with latest wkhtmltopdf release

    • Update README

  • 0.4.1
    • More easier custom configuration setting

    • Update README

  • 0.4.0
    • Allow passing file-like objects

    • Ability to return PDF as a string

    • Allow user specification of configuration

    • API calls now returns True on success

    • bugfixes

  • 0.3.0
    • Python 3 support

  • 0.2.4
    • Add History

    • Update

  • 0.2.3
    • Fix installing with

    • Update README

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