Usage of PDFKit with Rails 3.2.8 and Ruby 1.9.3

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PDFkit is a powerful library which generates PDF from HTML + CSS. It uses “wkhtmltopdf” on the back-end which renders HTML using Webkit. Here is a simple example which describes the installation of “wkhtmltopdf” and usages of pdfkit. I have used rails 3.2.8 and ruby 1.9.3 as my environment.


Install the “wkhtmltopdf” library

Download the “wkhtmltopdf” library from the link


  • Download the exe file and install it.
  • Remember the installation path


  • Download the binary for your architecture at the
  • Extract the file to a directory that is in your PATH, such as /opt or /usr/local/bin and run from there.

For Debian/Ubuntu use the following command:

apt-get install wkhtmltopdf

Step-2: Installing PDFKit

In your bundle file write

gem 'pdfkit'

Then install

bundle install

Step-3: Configuration of PDFKit

Create a new file “pdfkit.rb” in “config/initializers/” path and write the following

If you are in windows then you need to give the path to the exe file generated after installation. If you are in linux and the path is set as the default path then you don’t need to give the path.

PDFKit.configure do |config|
config.wkhtmltopdf = 'C:Program Fileswkhtmltopdfwkhtmltopdf .exe'
config.default_options = {
:page_size => 'Legal',
:print_media_type => true
# config.root_url = "http://localhost" # Use only if your external hostname is unavailable on the server.

Step-4: Middleware Setup

Write the following in the “config/application.rb

require 'pdfkit'
config.middleware.use PDFKit::Middleware

Step-5: Usages

Creating PDF in a file path

Now to generate the pdf file by writing down the following codes on one of your controller actions

kit ="<h1>Hello</h1><p>This is PDF!!!</p>"
file_path = your_file_path
pdf = kit.to_file file_path

Now you can find the PDF file being generated on the file path.

Displaying PDF on browser

<p id="pdf_link"><%= link_to "Download Invoice (PDF)", order_path(@order, :format => "pdf") %></p>

Your PDF will be displayed on the browser.

You can also add “.pdf” to any of our application’s URLs to get a PDF version of that page.

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Jayadev Das - Post Author

Do what you do best in – that’s what I’ve always believed in and that’s what I preach. Over the past 25+ years (yup that’s my expertise ‘n’ experience in the Information Technology domain), I’ve been consulting to small, medium and large companies ‘About Web Technologies, Mobile Future as well as on the good-and-bad of tech. Blogger, International Business Advisor, Web Technology Expert, Sales Guru, Startup Mentor, Insurance Sales Portal Expert & a Tennis Player. And top of all – a complete family man!

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