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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

QuestionmagicPDF should do the trick [modified] PinmemberAbramson uri1-Mar-13 15:21 
AnswerRe: have you tried [link removed] / ? PinmemberJibesh1-Mar-13 15:42 
QuestionCould not load type 'SuperJockey.PDF.DisplayPDF'. PinmemberMCA.Bhupendra10-Feb-13 0:29 
AnswerRe: Could not load type 'SuperJockey.PDF.DisplayPDF'. PinmemberCum7me30-Jul-14 3:30 
Questionhtml to pdf Pinmembersweval28-Dec-11 23:09 
GeneralEO HTML to PDF converter (C# and VB.NET) Pinmemberszchenh14-Apr-11 12:17 
GeneralReg DLL file Pinmembervimaldreams106-Apr-11 5:03 
GeneralHTML to PDF converter based on Webkit [ .NET / JAVA / C++ / PHP / Python / Ruby ] Pinmembercodeivan7-Feb-11 13:08 
Generalbest way to convert HTML to pdf from your with all styling and formatting Pinmembergo2amitech30-Jul-10 21:58 
GeneralMy vote of 1 PinmemberAvinash T P14-Jul-10 20:52 
GeneralHTML to PDF [modified] PinmemberFlorin Chivu7-Mar-10 7:36 
GeneralMy vote of 2 PinmemberAJFK2-Feb-10 5:49 
GeneralI got error: C:\Windows\system32\LIBEAY32.dll is not a valid windows image Pinmemberhalifaxdal3-Apr-09 11:41 
GeneralNot able to view DisplayPDF.aspx page. Pinmemberriteshmanglani8-Jan-09 21:16 
I corrected plenty of things in code, and it goes till Response.Redirect("DisplayPDF.aspx?File=" + sFile); successfully in Default.aspx page. However, it doesn't display DisplayPDF.aspx page. I am getting the following error..

Description: An error occurred during the compilation of a resource required to service this request. Please review the following specific error details and modify your source code appropriately.

Compiler Error Message: CS0115: 'ASP.displaypdf_aspx.GetTypeHashCode()': no suitable method found to override

Source Error:

Line 427:
Line 428: [System.Diagnostics.DebuggerNonUserCodeAttribute()]
Line 429: public override int GetTypeHashCode() {
Line 430: return -183858480;
Line 431: }

I am not able to fix it Frown | :(
Any help or pointers would be highly appreciable.

GeneralOpen source / free HTMLDOC or GHTMLDOC download site Pinmemberdaluu21-Nov-08 12:59 
GeneralRe: Open source / free HTMLDOC or GHTMLDOC download site Pinmemberpc.huff13-Apr-09 18:35 
GeneralRe: Open source / free HTMLDOC or GHTMLDOC download site Pinmemberdaluu14-Apr-09 9:38 
GeneralRe: Open source / free HTMLDOC or GHTMLDOC download site Pinmemberpc.huff14-Apr-09 9:42 
GeneralRe: Open source / free HTMLDOC or GHTMLDOC download site Pinmemberpc.huff14-Apr-09 9:45 
GeneralDownloading PDF PinmemberVinoth Dhakshinamoorthy17-Jun-08 4:16 
GeneralRe: Downloading PDF Pinmemberbkstylz13-Aug-08 9:30 
GeneralRe: Downloading PDF PinmemberDarthJay29-Aug-08 11:47 
GeneralRe: Downloading PDF Pinmembereva xanthou20-May-09 6:15 
GeneralRe: Downloading PDF Pinmemberjlfritz16-Dec-10 5:07 
GeneralRe: Downloading PDF PinmemberGudny26-Sep-11 4:06 

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