HTML+CSS to PDF using wkhtmltopdf
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Create PDFs using plain old HTML+CSS. Uses wkhtmltopdf on the backend which renders HTML using Webkit.



gem install pdfkit


  1. Install by hand (recomended):
  2. Try using the wkhtmltopdf-binary gem (mac + linux i386)

     gem install wkhtmltopdf-binary

Note: The automated installer has been removed.


# takes the HTML and any options for wkhtmltopdf
# run `wkhtmltopdf --extended-help` for a full list of options
kit =, :page_size => 'Letter')
kit.stylesheets << '/path/to/css/file'

# Git an inline PDF
pdf = kit.to_pdf

# Save the PDF to a file
file = kit.to_file('/path/to/save/pdf')

# can optionally accept a URL or a File.
# Stylesheets can not be added when source is provided as a URL of File.
kit ='')
kit ='/path/to/html'))

# Add any kind of option through meta tags'<html><head><meta name="pdfkit-page_size" content="Letter")


If you're on Windows or you installed wkhtmltopdf by hand to a location other than /usr/local/bin you will need to tell PDFKit where the binary is. You can configure PDFKit like so:

# config/initializers/pdfkit.rb
PDFKit.configure do |config|
  config.wkhtmltopdf = '/path/to/wkhtmltopdf'
  config.default_options = {
    :page_size => 'Legal',
    :print_media_type => true

If your external hostname is unavailable on the server where PDFKit is executed, you can configure PDFKit to use a custom root url that is prepended to the images/links in your HTML document.

# config/initializers/pdfkit.rb
PDFKit.configure do |config|
  config.root_url = ""


PDFKit comes with a middleware that allows users to get a PDF view of any page on your site by appending .pdf to the URL.

Middleware Setup

Non-Rails Rack apps

# in
require 'pdfkit'
use PDFKit::Middleware

Rails apps

# in application.rb(Rails3) or environment.rb(Rails2)
require 'pdfkit'
config.middleware.use PDFKit::Middleware

With PDFKit options

# options will be passed to
config.middleware.use PDFKit::Middleware, :print_media_type => true

With conditions to limit routes that can be generated in pdf

# conditions can be regexes (either one or an array)
config.middleware.use PDFKit::Middleware, {}, :only => %r[^/public]
config.middleware.use PDFKit::Middleware, {}, :only => [%r[^/invoice], %r[^/public]]

# conditions can be strings (either one or an array)
config.middleware.use PDFKit::Middleware, {}, :only => '/public'
config.middleware.use PDFKit::Middleware, {}, :only => ['/invoice', '/public']


  • Single thread issue: In development environments it is common to run a single server process. This can cause issues when rendering your pdf requires wkhtmltopdf to hit your server again (for images, js, css). This is because the resource requests will get blocked by the initial request and the initial request will be waiting on the resource requests causing a deadlock.

    This is usually not an issue in a production environment. To get around this issue you may want to run a server with multiple workers like Passenger or try to embed your resources within your HTML to avoid extra HTTP requests.

  • Resources aren't included in the PDF: Images, CSS, or Javascript does not seem to be downloading correctly in the PDF. This is due to the fact that wkhtmltopdf does not know where to find those files. Make sure you are using absolute paths (start with forward slash) to your resources. If you are using PDFKit to generate pdfs from a raw HTML source make sure you use complete paths (either file paths or urls including the domain).

  • Resource url differ from server env: Image sources and hrefs in the PDF link to the environment variables by default. The code is executed on the server, so if the @env domain is blocked or used interally, the PDF generated could be missing images. You can set a root_url in the configuration that is used to point to these images.


  • add amd64 support in --install-wkhtmltopdf

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Setup your development environment with: gem install bundler; bundle install
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright (c) 2010 Jared Pace. See LICENSE for details.