C# – Generate PDF from ASP.NET from raw HTML/CSS content


I'm sending emails that have invoices attached as PDFs. I'm already – elsewhere in the application – creating the invoices in an .aspx page. I'd like to use Server.Execute to return the output HTML and generate a PDF from that. Otherwise, I'd have to use a reporting tool to "draw" the invoice on a PDF. That blows for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that I'd have to update both the .aspx page and the report for every minor change. What to do…

Best Solution

There is no way to generate a PDF from an HTML string directly within .NET, but there are number of third party controls that work well.

I've had success with this one: http://www.html-to-pdf.net and this: http://www.htmltopdfasp.net

The important questions to ask are:

  1. Does it render correctly as compared to the 3 major browsers: IE, FF and Safari/Chrome?
  2. Does it handle CSS fine?
  3. Does the control have it's own rendering engine? If so, bounce it. You don't want to trust a home grown rendering engine - the browsers have a hard enough problem getting everything pixel perfect.
  4. What dependencies does the third party control require? The fewer, the better.

There are a few others but they deal with ActiveX displays and such.