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Achievement Unlocked: 4 Tips on Converting C# & HTML to PDF

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Need an easy way to transform HTML created from your C# programs into PDFs?

Assuming there’s a quick method, you soon discover it’s a nightmare! Still, your boss needs C# HTML to PDF files by next week and the clock’s ticking. What do you do?

C# is Microsoft’s powerful, object-orientated language that works on the .NET Framework and .NET Core. When combined, developers voted the .NET platform the leader of the world’s top frameworks.

PDFs bear the standard when sharing documents. They open, print, and act the same no matter the device.

Since C# can produce HTML output, surely there’s a simple way to create a PDF?

This article gives 4 tips on PDF conversion including one-page converters and a C# PDF library.

Single HTML File Conversion Online

If you only need the odd PDF then do it manually.

Copy the markup from Visual Studio using the debugger or console line tool. Create a text file with a .html extension and paste in your HTML and save.

Next Google HTML to PDF converter. There are lots of free tools to do the job. Upload your file and press convert to create the PDF.

However, the results can be sub-par and you’re limiting yourself to one PDF. What you need is a C# PDF generator.

C# HTML to PDF Generator

Microsoft saw fit not to include an easy way to generate a PDF using native code. What they did include was the ability to use libraries.

HTML to PDF Library

There are several PDF conversion libraries available for C#, from open source to premium. But are any of them worth the integration?

Github’s open source PDF libraries section lists several free options. Some utilize a REST API (see below) while others print HTML directly to PDF.

Open source is great…when it works.

If you need a reliable way to convert thousands of PDFs then a premium solution trumps an open-source PDF library.

Scale, support, and reliability count, especially for a C# PDF viewer. Pricing relates to the support you’ll need when problems arise. And for enterprise clients, the costs are negligible compared to the benefits.

HTML to PDF API

If you’re happy with processing PDF files off-site then try an API option.

These online converters accept HTML as well as formats like Word. Your program sends the markup using a REST interface. Conversion takes place remotely then stores it using a temporary URL.

One word of caution, though. If you handle sensitive data then don’t use an external service like this unless it’s encrypted at both ends.

On-site Server Conversion

Have you considered an on-site server for conversion?

Your C# routine saves each HTML file to your network. A dedicated server script then processes each file into PDFs.

This script doesn’t need to be .NET compliant either. Python and PHP have many tools for batch processing and converting to PDF.

You could use the Cloud for this technique but be wary of data-handling compliance. Better to keep all data secure and in-house if possible.

Unlock the C# Generation

It isn’t hard to generate PDFs from your programs.

Use the techniques above to convert C# HTML to PDF in a single file or in batches. Take time to research open-source and premium libraries. Find what works best for you.

Remember to read our other great articles in the Applications section and leave feedback on our social media pages.

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