Wicked PDF Build Status

A PDF generation plugin for Ruby on Rails

Wicked PDF uses the shell utility wkhtmltopdf to serve a PDF file to a user from HTML. In other words, rather than dealing with a PDF generation DSL of some sort, you simply write an HTML view as you would normally, then let Wicked take care of the hard stuff.

Wicked PDF has been verified to work on Ruby 1.8.7 and 1.9.2; Rails 2 and Rails 3


First, be sure to install wkhtmltopdf.

One simple way to install all of the binaries (Linux, OSX, Windows) is through the gem wkhtmltopdf-binary. To install, simply add

gem 'wkhtmltopdf-binary'

To your Gemfile.

If your wkhtmltopdf executable is not on your webserver's path, configure it in an initializer:

WickedPdf.config = {
  :exe_path => '/usr/local/bin/wkhtmltopdf'

Note that versions before 0.9.0 have problems on some machines with reading/writing to streams. This plugin relies on streams to communicate with wkhtmltopdf.

For more information about wkhtmltopdf, see the project's homepage and github repo. There's also some documentation for a recent, stable version on the author's website, here.


script/plugin install git://github.com/mileszs/wicked_pdf.git
script/generate wicked_pdf

or add this to your Gemfile:

gem 'wicked_pdf'

You may also need to add ruby Mime::Type.register "application/pdf", :pdf to config/initializers/mime_types.rb

Basic Usage

class ThingsController < ApplicationController
  def show
    respond_to do |format|
      format.pdf do
        render :pdf => "file_name"

Usage Conditions - Important!

The wkhtmltopdf binary is run outside of your Rails application; therefore, your normal layouts will not work. If you plan to use any CSS, Javascript, or image files, you must modify your layout so that you provide an absolute reference to these files. The best option for Rails without the asset pipeline is to use the wicked_pdf_stylesheet_link_tag, wicked_pdf_image_tag, and wicked_pdf_javascript_include_tag helpers or to go straight to a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for popular libraries such as jQuery.

wicked_pdf helpers

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
    <%= wicked_pdf_stylesheet_link_tag "pdf" -%>
    <%= wicked_pdf_javascript_include_tag "number_pages" %>
  <body onload='number_pages'>
    <div id="header">
      <%= wicked_pdf_image_tag 'mysite.jpg' %>
    <div id="content">
      <%= yield %>

CDN reference

In this case, you can use that standard Rails helpers and point to the current CDN for whichever framework you are using. For jQuery, it would look somethng like this, given the current versions at the time of this writing. html <!DOCTYPE... <html... <head> <%= javascript_include_tag "http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.10.0.min.js" %> <%= javascript_include_tag "http://code.jquery.com/ui/1.10.3/jquery-ui.min.js" %>

Asset pipeline usage

The way to handle this for the asset pipeline on Heroku is to include these files in your asset precompile list, as follows:

config.assets.precompile += ['blueprint/screen.css', 'pdf.css', 'jquery.ui.datepicker.js', 'pdf.js', ...etc...]

Advanced Usage with all available options

class ThingsController < ApplicationController
  def show
    respond_to do |format|
      format.pdf do
        render :pdf                            => 'file_name',
               :disposition                    => 'attachment',                 # default 'inline'
               :template                       => 'things/show.pdf.erb',
               :file                           => "#{Rails.root}/files/foo.erb"
               :layout                         => 'pdf.html',                   # use 'pdf.html' for a pdf.html.erb file
               :wkhtmltopdf                    => '/usr/local/bin/wkhtmltopdf', # path to binary
               :show_as_html                   => params[:debug].present?,      # allow debugging based on url param
               :orientation                    => 'Landscape',                  # default Portrait
               :page_size                      => 'A4, Letter, ...',            # default A4
               :save_to_file                   => Rails.root.join('pdfs', "#{filename}.pdf"),
               :save_only                      => false,                        # depends on :save_to_file being set first
               :proxy                          => 'TEXT',
               :basic_auth                     => false                         # when true username & password are automatically sent from session
               :username                       => 'TEXT',
               :password                       => 'TEXT',
               :cover                          => 'URL, Pathname, or raw HTML string',
               :dpi                            => 'dpi',
               :encoding                       => 'TEXT',
               :user_style_sheet               => 'URL',
               :cookie                         => ['_session_id SESSION_ID'], # could be an array or a single string in a 'name value' format
               :post                           => ['query QUERY_PARAM'],      # could be an array or a single string in a 'name value' format
               :redirect_delay                 => NUMBER,
               :javascript_delay               => NUMBER,
               :image_quality                  => NUMBER,
               :zoom                           => FLOAT,
               :page_offset                    => NUMBER,
               :javascript_delay               => NUMBER,
               :book                           => true,
               :default_header                 => true,
               :disable_javascript             => false,
               :grayscale                      => true,
               :lowquality                     => true,
               :enable_plugins                 => true,
               :disable_internal_links         => true,
               :disable_external_links         => true,
               :print_media_type               => true,
               :disable_smart_shrinking        => true,
               :use_xserver                    => true,
               :no_background                  => true,
               :viewport_size                  => 'TEXT'                    # available only with use_xserver or patched QT
               :extra                          => ''                        # directly inserted into the command to wkhtmltopdf
               :margin => {:top                => SIZE,                     # default 10 (mm)
                           :bottom             => SIZE,
                           :left               => SIZE,
                           :right              => SIZE},
               :header => {:html => { :template => 'users/header.pdf.erb',  # use :template OR :url
                                      :layout   => 'pdf_plain.html',        # optional, use 'pdf_plain.html' for a pdf_plain.html.erb file, defaults to main layout
                                      :url      => 'www.example.com',
                                      :locals   => { :foo => @bar }},
                           :center             => 'TEXT',
                           :font_name          => 'NAME',
                           :font_size          => SIZE,
                           :left               => 'TEXT',
                           :right              => 'TEXT',
                           :spacing            => REAL,
                           :line               => true,
                           :content            => 'HTML CONTENT ALREADY RENDERED'}, # optionally you can pass plain html already rendered (useful if using pdf_from_string)
               :footer => {:html => { :template => 'shared/footer.pdf.erb', # use :template OR :url
                                      :layout   => 'pdf_plain.html',        # optional, use 'pdf_plain.html' for a pdf_plain.html.erb file, defaults to main layout
                                      :url      => 'www.example.com',
                                      :locals   => { :foo => @bar }},
                           :center             => 'TEXT',
                           :font_name          => 'NAME',
                           :font_size          => SIZE,
                           :left               => 'TEXT',
                           :right              => 'TEXT',
                           :spacing            => REAL,
                           :line               => true,
                           :content            => 'HTML CONTENT ALREADY RENDERED'}, # optionally you can pass plain html already rendered (useful if using pdf_from_string)
               :toc    => {:font_name          => "NAME",
                           :depth              => LEVEL,
                           :header_text        => "TEXT",
                           :header_fs          => SIZE,
                           :l1_font_size       => SIZE,
                           :l2_font_size       => SIZE,
                           :l3_font_size       => SIZE,
                           :l4_font_size       => SIZE,
                           :l5_font_size       => SIZE,
                           :l6_font_size       => SIZE,
                           :l7_font_size       => SIZE,
                           :l1_indentation     => NUM,
                           :l2_indentation     => NUM,
                           :l3_indentation     => NUM,
                           :l4_indentation     => NUM,
                           :l5_indentation     => NUM,
                           :l6_indentation     => NUM,
                           :l7_indentation     => NUM,
                           :no_dots            => true,
                           :disable_links      => true,
                           :disable_back_links => true},
               :outline => {:outline           => true,
                            :outline_depth     => LEVEL}

By default, it will render without a layout (:layout => false) and the template for the current controller and action.

Super Advanced Usage

If you need to just create a pdf and not display it: ```ruby

create a pdf from a string

pdf = WickedPdf.new.pdf_from_string('

Hello There!


create a pdf file from a html file without converting it to string

Path must be absolute path

pdf = WickedPdf.new.pdf_from_html_file('/your/absolute/path/here')

create a pdf from string using templates, layouts and content option for header or footer

WickedPdf.new.pdf_from_string( render_to_string('templates/pdf.html.erb', :layout => 'pdfs/layout_pdf'), :footer => { :content => render_to_string(:layout => 'pdfs/layout_pdf') } )

or from your controller, using views & templates and all wicked_pdf options as normal

pdf = render_to_string :pdf => "some_file_name"

then save to a file

save_path = Rails.root.join('pdfs','filename.pdf') File.open(save_path, 'wb') do |file| file << pdf end If you need to display utf encoded characters, add this to your pdf views or layouts: html ```

Page Numbering

A bit of javascript can help you number your pages. Create a template or header/footer file with this: html <html> <head> <script> function number_pages() { var vars={}; var x=document.location.search.substring(1).split('&'); for(var i in x) {var z=x[i].split('=',2);vars[z[0]] = unescape(z[1]);} var x=['frompage','topage','page','webpage','section','subsection','subsubsection']; for(var i in x) { var y = document.getElementsByClassName(x[i]); for(var j=0; j<y.length; ++j) y[j].textContent = vars[x[i]]; } } </script> </head> <body onload="number_pages()"> Page <span class="page"></span> of <span class="topage"></span> </body> </html> Anything with a class listed in "var x" above will be auto-filled at render time.

If you do not have explicit page breaks (and therefore do not have any "page" class), you can also use wkhtmltopdf's built in page number generation by setting one of the headers to "[page]": ruby render :pdf => 'filename', :header => { :right => '[page] of [topage]' }


You can put your default configuration, applied to all pdf's at "wicked_pdf.rb" initializer.

Rack Middleware

If you would like to have WickedPdf automatically generate PDF views for all (or nearly all) pages by appending .pdf to the URL, add the following to your Rails app: ```ruby

in application.rb (Rails3) or environment.rb (Rails2)

require 'wicked_pdf' config.middleware.use WickedPdf::Middleware If you want to turn on or off the middleware for certain urls, use the `:only` or `:except` conditions like so: ruby

conditions can be plain strings or regular expressions, and you can supply only one or an array

config.middleware.use WickedPdf::Middleware, {}, :only => '/invoice' config.middleware.use WickedPdf::Middleware, {}, :except => [ %r[^/admin], '/secret', %r[^/people/\d] ] `` If you use the standardrender :pdf => 'some_pdf'` in your app, you will want to exclude those actions from the middleware.

Further Reading

Andreas Happe's post Generating PDFs from Ruby on Rails

JESii's post WickedPDF, wkhtmltopdf, and Heroku...a tricky combination

StackOverflow questions with the tag "wicked-pdf"


Now you can use a debug param on the URL that shows you the content of the pdf in plain html to design it faster.

First of all you must configure the render parameter ":show_as_html => params[:debug]" and then just use it like normally but adding "debug=1" as a param:


However, the wickedpdf* helpers will use file:/// paths for assets when using :show_as_html, and your browser's cross-domain safety feature will kick in, and not render them. To get around this, you can load your assets like so in your templates: html <%= params[:debug].present? ? image_tag('foo') : wicked_pdf_image_tag('foo') %>


You may have noticed: this plugin is heavily inspired by the PrinceXML plugin princely. PrinceXML's cost was prohibitive for me. So, with a little help from some friends (thanks jqr), I tracked down wkhtmltopdf, and here we are.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request

Awesome Peoples

Also, thanks to unixmonkey, galdomedia, jcrisp, lleirborras, tiennou, and everyone else for all their hard work and patience with my delays in merging in their enhancements.