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Generate PDF documents from a HTML page using ASP.NET

, 23 May 2004
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Convert HTML to PDF from an ASPX page.


This project uses an HTML to PDF exe from ESP. Please read the GNU license agreement for more information. HTMLDOC is a desktop application to create PDF documents from a HTML page. I wrote some code to use it from a web application. The best used is from a Web Report to add a PRINT to PDF button to use the C# class.

Using the code

    public string Run(string sRawUrl)
        string sFileName = GetNewName();
        string sPage = Server.MapPath("" + sFileName + ".html");            
        string sUrlVirtual = sRawUrl;
        StringWriter sw = new StringWriter();

        Server.Execute(sUrlVirtual, sw);

        StreamWriter sWriter = File.CreateText(sPage);

        System.Diagnostics.Process pProcess 
                             = new System.Diagnostics.Process();
        pProcess.StartInfo.FileName = m_sDrive + ":" + m_Directory + 
        pProcess.StartInfo.Arguments = "--webpage --quiet " + sFontSize + 
                  m_sWaterMark + " --bodyfont Arial " + sLandScape + 
                  " -t pdf14 -f " + sFileName + ".pdf " + sFileName + ".html";
        pProcess.StartInfo.WorkingDirectory = m_sDrive + ":" + m_Directory;


        return(sFileName + ".pdf");            

The class PDFGenerator contains a public method called Run that will call the process hghtmldoc.exe with the arguments you choose. The most important part is to set a working directory where the Web application has permission to read, write and execute, otherwise the program won't work, and the function pProcess.Start will raise a Win32 Exception "access denied".

StreamWriter will save the page into a HTML file on the hard disk.

The file DisplayPDF.aspx and DisplayPDF.aspx.cs will do just that, displays the generated PDF file when ready.

        private void Page_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)

            if ( Request.Params["File"] != null )
                bool bRet = false;
                int iTimeout = 0;
                while ( bRet == false )
                    bRet = CheckIfFileExist(Request.Params["File"].ToString());
                    if ( iTimeout == 10 )

                if ( bRet == true )
                    Response.ContentType = "Application/pdf";
                        Response.WriteFile( MapPath( "" + 
                                      Request.Params["File"].ToString() ) ); 
                    if ( Request.Params["Msg"] != null )
                        LabelMsg.Text = Request.Params["Msg"].ToString();

The page accepts a parameter, FILE, previously saved in the hard disk by StreamWriter. The Response.Redirect will include application/PDF, so the browser knows what kind of file is downloading and ask you to SAVE or OPEN. If you have Adobe plug-in installed on your browser, you'll be able to see the PDF from your browser.

Points of Interest

It is important you create a directory to save the HTML file and generate the PDF, also give that directory all the permissions you need to run the EXE.


Remember the HTMLDOC is copywrite ESP. Please go to this link and download the latest version. The GNU license agreement is included in the project.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Albert Pascual
Web Developer
United States United States
Al is just another Software Engineer working in C++, ASp.NET and C#. Enjoys snowboarding in Big Bear, and wait patiently for his daughters to be old enough to write code and snowboard.
Al is a Microsoft ASP.NET MVP

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRecursive Loop - IIS freeze Pinmemberninja260519-Jun-06 2:38 
Generalexcellent Pinmembersandeepsaini2k9-Jun-06 1:59 
Generalgetting this to work.. Pinmemberste_max30-May-06 1:55 
Generalsimplified instructions PinmemberBoredOfCoding11-May-06 11:28 
GeneralRe: simplified instructions PinmemberPavan Kumar Komaragiri20-Jan-07 0:30 
GeneralRe: simplified instructions Pinmemberdevenderrao14-May-08 21:24 
GeneralNot displaying PDF file PinmemberI am blue11-May-06 1:21 
GeneralHTML to PDF conversion using Pinmemberlaksnara7-Feb-06 3:22 
GeneralErrors Pinmemberjinphxaz3-Feb-06 9:29 
Generalgetting error due to pprocess.Start() Pinmembermbsum10-Jan-06 18:53 
Generalgetting error in pProcess.Start(); Pinmembermbsum3-Jan-06 1:51 
GeneralRe: getting error in pProcess.Start(); PinsitebuilderAlbert Pascual3-Jan-06 6:53 
GeneralRe: getting error in pProcess.Start(); PinmemberI am blue22-Mar-06 0:37 
GeneralRe: getting error in pProcess.Start(); Pinmemberhoangthaitu_vn25-Jul-06 22:20 
GeneralRe: getting error in pProcess.Start(); Pinmemberjcm123419-Dec-06 0:45 
GeneralRe: getting error in pProcess.Start(); Pinmembera109493225-Dec-06 17:04 
Generalmissing 'PdfLibrary' PinmemberJeremy Moore18-Aug-05 11:11 
GeneralRe: missing 'PdfLibrary' PinmemberAlbert Pascual18-Aug-05 11:16 
GeneralRe: missing 'PdfLibrary' PinmemberJeremy Moore18-Aug-05 11:23 
GeneralRe: missing 'PdfLibrary' PinmemberAlbert Pascual18-Aug-05 12:12 
GeneralRe: missing 'PdfLibrary' PinmemberAlbert Pascual18-Aug-05 12:08 
GeneralRe: missing 'PdfLibrary' PinmemberJeremy Moore18-Aug-05 12:43 
GeneralRe: missing 'PdfLibrary' PinmemberJeremy Moore18-Aug-05 13:58 
QuestionHow to Add Images to PDF Pinmembervpratap_822-Aug-05 3:27 
AnswerRe: How to Add Images to PDF PinmemberAlbert Pascual2-Aug-05 5:29 

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