A library for generating PDF representations of Plone objects with LaTeX.
Python TeX
Latest commit 59a8f53 Feb 22, 2017 @deiferni deiferni committed on GitHub Merge pull request #48 from 4teamwork/pg_pdf_title
Add possibility to set the pdf title via build arguments.



ftw.pdfgenerator is meant to be used for generating PDFs from structured data using predefined LaTeX views. It is not useful for converting full HTML pages into LaTeX / PDFs, although it is able to convert small HTML chunks into LaTeX.


Certified: 01/2013


ftw.pdfgenerator requires a TeX distribution with a pdflatex executable to be installed.

These TeX distributions are recommended:

The package is compatible with Plone 4.x.


Add ftw.pdfgenerator to your buildout configuration:

eggs =


The pdfgenerator uses LaTeX for generating the PDF. You need to provide a layout and a view for your context for being able to create a PDF.

Real world examples

Some packages using ftw.pdfgenerator:

Defining a layout

A layout is a multi adapter addapting context, request, builder. You can easily define a new layout using the mako templating engine (example: layout.py):

>>> from example.conference.session import ISession
>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces import IBuilder
>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces import ICustomizableLayout
>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.layout.customizable import CustomizableLayout
>>> from zope.component import adapts
>>> from zope.interface import Interface
>>> from zope.interface import implements

>>> class SessionLayout(MakoLayoutBase):
...     adapts(ISession, Interface, IBuilder)
...     implements(ICustomizableLayout)
...     template_directories = ['session_templates']
...     template_name = 'layout.tex'
...     def before_render_hook(self):
...         self.use_babel()
...         self.use_package('inputenc', options='utf8')
...         self.use_package('fontenc', options='T1')

Register the layout with zcml (example: configure.zcml):


    <adapter factory=".layout.SessionLayout"
             provides="ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces.ILaTeXLayout" />


Create a template as defined in SessionLayout.template_name (example: session_templates/layout.tex):

<%block name="documentclass">

<%block name="usePackages">

<%block name="beneathPackages">

<%block name="aboveDocument">


<%block name="documentTop">
  % if logo:
  % endif


<%block name="documentBottom">


There are more methods on the layout, see the definition in ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces.ILaTeXLayout.

Defining a LaTeX view

For every context for which a PDF is generated a LaTeX view (ILaTeXView) is rendered. The view is a multi adapter adapting context, request, layout. There is a view based on the mako templating engine which can be extended (example: views.py):

>>> from example.conference.session import ISession
>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces import ILaTeXLayout
>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces import ILaTeXView
>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.view import MakoLaTeXView
>>> from zope.component import adapts
>>> from zope.interface import Interface
>>> from zope.interface import implements

>>> class SessionLaTeXView(MakoLaTeXView):
...     adapts(ISession, Interface, ILaTeXLayout)
...     implements(ILaTeXView)
...     template_directories = ['session_templates']
...     template_name = 'view.tex'
...     def get_render_arguments(self):
...         return {'title': self.convert(self.context.Title()),
...                 'description': self.convert(self.context.description),
...                 'details': self.convert(self.context.details)}

Register the view with zcml (example: configure.zcml):


    <adapter factory=".views.SessionLaTeXView"
             provides="ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces.ILaTeXView" />


Create a template with the name defined in the class (example: session_templates/view.tex):

% if description:
  \small ${description}
% endif
\normalsize ${details}

Generating a PDF

When a layout and a view for the context are registered the PDF can be generated by simply calling the view @@export_pdf on the context.

Recursive views

When extending from ftw.pdfgenerator.view.RecursiveLaTeXView and inserting the variable latex_content in your template, the view automatically renders all children for which a ILaTeXView is found.

HTML to LaTeX conversion

ftw.pdfgenerator comes with a simple but powerful HTML to LaTeX converter which is optimized for the common WYSIWYG-Editors used in Plone.

The converter can be used:

  • in views, using self.convert(html)
  • in layouts, using self.get_converter().convert(html)

It uses regular expressions for the simple conversions and python subconverters for the more complicated conversions. The converter is heavily customizable.

Custom subconverters


Generate a footnote by wrapping any text in a span with the class footnote. Specify the footnote text in the data-footnote attribute. Example:

<span class="footnote" data-footnote="text in footnote">text on the page</span>

Customizable layouts

When using multiple, independent addon packages using ftw.pdfgenerator, every package may implement a new, specific layout. This can be painful if there is a need to customize all layouts and add a logo image for example.

For making this easier all customizable layouts can be customized with one single adapter. This only works for layouts subclassing ftw.pdfgenerator.layout.customizable.CustomizableLayout. Those layouts need to follow certain concepts and provide inheritable blocks in the mako template. Ensure you follow the standards by subclassing and running the tests from ftw.pdfgenerator.tests.test_customizable_layout.TestCustomizableLayout.

Implementing customization adapter is very simple when customizable layouts are used. For example we change the logo image (assume the logo is at custom/mylogo.png):

>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.customization import LayoutCustomization
>>> from ftw.pdfgenerator.interfaces import ILayoutCustomization
>>> from zope.interface import implements
>>> class MyCustomization(LayoutCustomization):
...     implements(ILayoutCustomization)
...     template_directories = ['custom']
...     template_name = 'layout_customization.tex'
...     def before_render_hook(self):
...         self.add_raw_template_file('mylogo.png')
...         self.layout.use_package('graphicx')
...     def get_render_arguments(self, args):
...         args['logo'] = r'\includegraphics{mylogo.png}'
...         return args

It is also possible to change the template and fill predefined slots (example: custom/layout_customization.tex):

<%inherit file="original_layout" />
<%block name="documentTop">
  my branding

The layout customization adapter adapts context, request and the original layout.


ftw.pdfgenerator is able to convert HTML-Tables to LaTeX. Since HTML and LaTeX have completely different presentation concepts the convertion is limitted.

For getting the best results theese rules should be followed:

  • Define the width of every column. The table will be streched to the text width in the defined proportions. Without defining the widths LaTeX is unable to insert newlines dynamically.
  • Use relative widths (%).
  • Define table headings using <thead> for long tables which may be splitted over multiple pages.

CSS classes:

page-break (<table>)
Force the longtable environment, allowing LaTeX to split up the table over multiple pages.
no-page-break (<table>)
Force the tabular environment, prohibiting LaTeX from splitting the table up over multiple pages. If the table is longer than the page it is truncated - content may be missing in this case.
border-grid / listing (<table>)
Display the table in a grid: every cell has a border on every side.
notListed (<table>)
When using a <caption>, do not list the table in the list of tables.
border-left (<td>, <th>)
Display a border on the left side of the cell.
border-right (<td>, <th>)
Display a border on the right side of the cell.
border-top (<td>, <th>)
Display a border on the top side of the cell.
border-bottom (<td>, <th>)
Display a border on the bottom side of the cell.
right (<td>, <th>)
Right align the content of the cell.
left (<td>, <th>)
Left align the content of the cell.
center (<td>, <th>)
Center the content of the cell.
indent2 (<td>, <th>)
Indent the content by 0.2 cm.
indent10 (<td>, <th>)
Indent the content by 1 cm.
bold (<td>, <th>)
Display cell contents in bold font.
grey (<td>, <th>)
Display cell content with grey text color.
footnotesize (<td>, <th>)
Display cell content with smaller font size (\footnotesize).
scriptsize (<td>, <th>)
Display cell content with smaller font size (\scriptsize).



This package is copyright by 4teamwork.

ftw.pdfgenerator is licensed under GNU General Public License, version 2.