Supported @page properties and values

Valid @page properties:

margin, margin-bottom, margin-left, margin-right, margin-top

Valid size syntax and values:

Syntax: @page { size: <type> <orientation>; }

Where <type> is one of:
a0 .. a6
b0 .. b6

And <orientation> is one of:

Defaults to:
size: a4 portrait;

Supported @frame properties:

Valid @frame properties.

bottom, top, height
left, right, width
margin, margin-bottom, margin-left, margin-right, margin-top

To avoid unexpected results, please only specify two out of three bottom/top/height properties, and two out of three left/right/width properties per @frame object.

Supported CSS properties

xhtml2pdf supports the following standard CSS properties

border-bottom-color, border-bottom-style, border-bottom-width
border-left-color, border-left-style, border-left-width
border-right-color, border-right-style, border-right-width
border-top-color, border-top-style, border-top-width
font-family, font-size, font-style, font-weight
line-height, list-style-type
margin-bottom, margin-left, margin-right, margin-top
padding-bottom, padding-left, padding-right, padding-top
page-break-after, page-break-before
text-align, text-decoration, text-indent

xhtml2pdf adds the following vendor-specific properties:


Create PDF

The main function of xhtml2pdf is called CreatePDF(). It offers the following arguments in this order:

  • src: The source to be parsed. This can be a file handle or a String - or even better - a Unicode object.

  • dest: The destination for the resulting PDF. This has to be a file object wich will not be closed by CreatePDF. (XXX allow file name?)

  • path: The original file path or URL. This is needed to calculate relative paths of images and style sheets. (XXX calculate automatically from src?)

  • link_callback: Handler for special file paths (see below).

  • show_error_as_pdf: Boolean that indicates that the errors will be dumped into a PDF. This is usefull if that is the only way to show the errors like in simple web applications.

  • default_css: Here you can pass a default CSS definition in as a String. If set to None the predefined CSS of xhtml2pdf is used.

  • xhtml: Boolean to force parsing the source as XHTML. By default the HTML5 parser tries to guess this.** DEPRECATED **

  • encoding: The encoding name of the source. By default this is guessed by the HTML5 parser. But HTML with no meta information this may not work an then this argument is helpfull.

  • encrypt: Encrypt parameters to build password protection and encryption.

  • signature: Dictionary that pass parameters to signature engine using pkcs12, pkcs11, simple signatures key managers and sign Pades with b or ltv signs modes.

Web applications



  • The name of the first layout template is body, but you better leave the name empty for defining the default template (XXX May be changed in the future!)


By default there is just a certain set of fonts available for PDF. Here is the complete list - and their repective alias names - xhtml2pdf knows by default (the names are not case sensitive):

  • Times-Roman: Times New Roman, Times, Georgia, serif

  • Helvetica: Arial, Verdana, Geneva, sansserif, sans

  • Courier: Courier New, monospace, monospaced, mono

  • ZapfDingbats

  • Symbol

Asian Fonts Support

Now some Asian fonts are available by default for PDF. The names are not case sensitive.

Simplified Chinese:

  • STSong-Light

Traditional Chinese:

  • MSung-Light


  • HeiseiMin-W3

  • HeiseiKakuGo-W5


  • HYSMyeongJo-Medium

  • HYGothic-Medium

Just use them in the font-family property in your CSS definition.

p { font-family: STSong-Light }

If you need another font, you may have a look at the “Using Custom Fonts” section.

Arabic / Hebrew / Persian etc. Fonts Support

If you are using a language with right-to-left writing you need to specify the language name in the <pdf:language name=""/> custom tag. This is necessary to ensure the correct direction (right to left).

The following attributes for right-to-left languages are supported and tested:

  • name="arabic"

  • name="hebrew"

  • name="persian"

  • name="urdu"

  • name="pashto"

  • name="sindhi"

Usage example:

<pdf:language name="arabic"/>

<p>Some Arabic text here</p>
<p>Some English text here</p>

The Arabic letters will render from right to left, while all other Latin letters will keep their left-to-right direction.


Right now it seems like right-to-left support isn’t working while using a default font-family like p { font-family: Times-Roman }. We’re working on fixing this. However, it works by using the @font-face tag in the CSS definition and defining a custom font. Therefore you need the specified font file. “MarkaziText” for example seems to work. It can be downloaded for free here: Other fonts might work as well but haven’t been tested.

    @font-face {font-family: MyRightToLeftFont; src: url('path\to\the\font\file\MarkaziText-Regular.ttf')}

    p { font-family: MyRightToLeftFont }

Using Custom Fonts

You may also embed a new font by using the @font-face keyword in CSS like this:

@font-face {
  font-family: Example, "Example Font";
  src: url('example.ttf');

The font-family property defines the names under which the embedded font will be known. src defines the place of the fonts source file. This can be a TrueType font or a Postscript font. The file name of the first has to end with .ttf the latter with one of .pfb or .afm. For Postscript fonts pass just one filename like <name>.afm or <name>.pfb, the missing one will be calculated automatically.

To define other shapes you can do the following:

/* Normal */
@font-face {
   font-family: DejaMono;
   src: url('font/DejaVuSansMono.ttf');

/* Bold */
@font-face {
   font-family: DejaMono;
   src: url('font/DejaVuSansMono-Bold.ttf');
   font-weight: bold;

/* Italic */
@font-face {
   font-family: DejaMono;
   src: url('font/DejaVuSansMono-Oblique.ttf');
   font-style: italic;

/* Bold and italic */
@font-face {
   font-family: DejaMono;
   src: url('font/DejaVuSansMono-BoldOblique.ttf');
   font-weight: bold;
   font-style: italic;

Using TFF files with the same face-name

In specific situations we have to use .ttf files with the same face name, but working with these kind of files makes us deal with some issues. To avoid it you have to add # at the beginning of the font-family name. Please check the following example:

/* put in quotes and add # at the beginning */
@font-face {
    font-family: '#MY';
    src: url('font/Microsoft YaHei.ttf')

Outlines/ Bookmarks

PDF supports outlines (Adobe calls them “bookmarks”). By default xhtml2pdf defines the <h1> to <h6> tags to be shown in the outline. But you can specify exactly for every tag which outline behaviour it should have. Therefore you may want to use the following vendor specific styles:

  • -pdf-outline

    set it to “true” if the block element should appear in the outline

  • -pdf-outline-level

    set the value starting with “0” for the level on which the outline should appear. Missing predecessors are inserted automatically with the same name as the current outline

  • -pdf-outline-open set to “true” if the outline should be shown uncollapsed


h1 {
  -pdf-outline: true;  -pdf-level: 0;
  -pdf-open: false;

Table of Contents

It is possible to automatically generate a Table of Contents (TOC) with xhtml2pdf. By default all headings from <h1> to <h6> will be inserted into that TOC. But you may change that behaviour by setting the CSS property -pdf-outline to true or false. To generate the TOC simply insert <pdf:toc /> into your document. You then may modify the look of it by defining styles for the pdf:toc tag and the classes pdftoc.pdftoclevel0 to pdftoc.pdftoclevel5. Here is a simple example for a nice looking CSS:

pdftoc {
    color: #666;
pdftoc.pdftoclevel0 {
    font-weight: bold;
    margin-top: 0.5em;
pdftoc.pdftoclevel1 {
    margin-left: 1em;
pdftoc.pdftoclevel2 {
    margin-left: 2em;
    font-style: italic;


Tables are supported but may behave a little different to the way you might expect them to do. These restriction are due to the underlying table mechanism of ReportLab.

  • The main restriction is that table cells that are longer than one page lead to an error

  • Tables can not float left or right and can not be inlined

Long cells

xhtml2pdf is not able to split table cells that are larger than the available space. To work around it you may define what should happen in this case. The -pdf-keep-in-frame-mode can be one of: “error”, “overflow”, “shrink”, “truncate”, where “shrink” is the default value.

table {    -pdf-keep-in-frame-mode: shrink;}

Cell widths

The table renderer is not able to adjust the width of the table automatically. Therefore you should explicitly set the width of the table and to the table rows or cells.


It is possible to repeat table rows if a page break occurs within a table. The number of repeated rows is passed in the property repeat. Example:

<table repeat="1">
  <tr><th>Column 1</th><th>...</th></tr>


Borders are supported. Use corresponding CSS styles.



By default JPG images are supported. If the Python Imaging Library (PIL) is installed the file types supported by it are available too. As mapping pixels to points is not trivial the images may appear bigger in the PDF as in the browser. To adjust this you may want to use the zoom style. Here is a small example:

img { zoom: 80%; }

Position/ floating

Since Reportlab Toolkit does not yet support the use of images within paragraphs, images are always rendered in a seperate paragraph. Therefore floating is not available yet.


You can embed barcodes automatically in a document. Various barcode formats are supported through the type property. If you want the original barcode text to be appeared on the document, simply add humanreadable="1", otherwise simply omit this property. Some barcode formats have a checksum as an option and it will be on by default, set checksum="0" to override. Alignment is achieved through align property and available values are any of "baseline", "top", "middle", "bottom" whereas default is baseline. Finally, bar width and height can be controlled through barwidth and barheight properties respectively.

<pdf:barcode value="BARCODE TEXT COMES HERE" type="code128" humanreadable="1" align="right" />

Custom Tags

xhtml2pdf provides some custom tags. They are all prefixed by the namespace identifier pdf:. As the HTML5 parser used by xhtml2pdf does not know about these specific tags it may be confused if they are without a block. To avoid problems you may condsider sourrounding them by <div> tags, like this:

   <pdf:toc />



Creates a barcode.


Prints current page number. The argument “example” defines the space the page number will require e.g. “00”.


Prints total page count.


Defines the template to be used on the next page. The name of the template is passed via the name property and refers to a @page templateName style definition:

<pdf:nexttemplate name="templateName">


Create a new page after this position.


Jump to next unused frame on the same page or to the first on a new page. You may not jump to a named frame.


Creates an object of a specific size.


Creates a Table of Contents.


Used for languages with right-to-left writing like Arabic, Hebrew, Persion etc. Right-to-left writing can be defined by passing the name via the name="" property.

<pdf:language name="arabic"/>