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PDF generator using HTML and CSS

Project description


PyPI version Python versions Coveralls Read the Docs

Release Notes can be found here: Release Notes As with all open-source software, its use in production depends on many factors, so be aware that you may find issues in some cases.

Big thanks to everyone who has worked on this project so far and to those who help maintain it.


xhtml2pdf is a HTML to PDF converter using Python, the ReportLab Toolkit, html5lib and pypdf. It supports HTML5 and CSS 2.1 (and some of CSS 3). It is completely written in pure Python, so it is platform independent.

The main benefit of this tool is that a user with web skills like HTML and CSS is able to generate PDF templates very quickly without learning new technologies.

Please consider support this project using Patreon or Bitcoins: bc1qmr0skzwx5scyvh2ql28f7gfh6l65ua250qv227


The documentation of xhtml2pdf is available at Read the Docs.

And we could use your help improving it! A good place to start is doc/source/usage.rst.


This is a typical Python library and can be installed using pip:

pip install xhtml2pdf


Only Python 3.8+ is tested and guaranteed to work.

All mandatory requirements are listed in the pyproject.toml file and are installed automatically using the pip install xhtml2pdf method.

As PDF library we depend on reportlab, which needs a rendering backend to generate bitmaps and vector graphic formats. For more information about this, have a look at the reportlab docs.

The recommended choice is the cairo graphics library which has to be installed system-wide e.g. via the OS package manager in combination with the PyCairo extra dependency:

pip install xhtml2pdf[pycairo]

Alternatively, the legacy RenderPM can be used by installing:

pip install xhtml2pdf[renderpm]


You can try WeasyPrint. The codebase is pretty, it has different features and it does a lot of what xhtml2pdf does.

Call for testing

This project is heavily dependent on getting its test coverage up! Furthermore, parts of the codebase could do well with cleanups and refactoring.

If you benefit from xhtml2pdf, perhaps look at the test coverage and identify parts that are yet untouched.

Development environment

  1. If you don’t have it, install pip, the python package installer:

    sudo easy_install pip

    For more information about pip refer to

  2. We will recommend using venv for development.

  3. Create a virtual environment for the project. This can be inside the project directory, but cannot be under version control:

    python -m venv .venv
  4. Activate your virtual environment:

    source .venv/bin/activate

    Later to deactivate it use:

  5. The next step will be to install/upgrade dependencies from the pyproject.toml file:

    pip install -e .[test,docs,build]
  6. Run tests to check your configuration:


    You should have a log with the following success status:

    congratulations :) (75.67 seconds)

Python integration

Some simple demos of how to integrate xhtml2pdf into a Python program may be found here: test/

Running tests

Two different test suites are available to assert that xhtml2pdf works reliably:

  1. Unit tests. The unit testing framework is currently minimal, but is being improved on a regular basis (contributions welcome). They should run in the expected way for Python’s unittest module, i.e.:

  2. Functional tests. Thanks to mawe42’s super cool work, a full functional test suite is available at testrender/.

You can run them using make

make test       # run tests
make test-ref   # generate reference data for testrender
make test-all   # Run all test using tox


This project is community-led! Feel free to open up issues on GitHub about new ideas to improve xhtml2pdf.


These are the major milestones and the maintainers of the project:

  • 2000-2007 Dirk Holtwick (commercial project of

  • 2007-2010 Dirk Holtwick (project named “pisa”, project released as GPL)

  • 2010-2012 Dirk Holtwick (project named “xhtml2pdf”, changed license to Apache)

  • 2012-2015 Chris Glass (@chrisglass)

  • 2015-2016 Benjamin Bach (@benjaoming)

  • 2016-2018 Sam Spencer (@LegoStormtroopr)

  • 2018-Current Luis Zarate (@luisza)

For more history, see the Release Notes.


Copyright 2010 Dirk Holtwick,

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at:

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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