My goal is to generate a PDF view of a content node. I've set up the Views PDF module with the TCPDF class, but performance is awful. Not just slow. I mean AWFUL. It's an aggravating experience when viewing a simple page of content as a PDF, and downright painful when viewing content that should be several hundred PDF pages long. Totally unacceptable.

Does anyone have a good solution for combatting this? All I'm looking to do is take a single node and offer a "view as PDF" link/functionality. It seems like this should be pretty straightforward, but I haven't been able to solve that yet.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • In my experience PHP PDF tools are all very memory-hungry (tcpdf perhaps being the worst offender), so it makes sense that generating a few hundred pages would be a very painful process to sit through. I've yet to find a decent PHP solution for generating PDFs. Recently wrote one in java though using pdfbox and it's an absolute dream performance-wise. If you can possibly work out a solution that uses anything other than PHP to generate the PDF you'll be in a much better position. I don't know of any views modules with that sort of functionality, but you never know
    – Clive
    Sep 14, 2013 at 20:59
  • If you're not happy with the TCPDF result i.e the formatting doesn't look right, bad performance etc then I would recommend going with drupal.org/project/phpwkhtmltopdf. You will need to install wkhtmltopdf on server before you can use this module. wkhtmltopdf renders pdf through a web browser so you will get pdf looking the same way it looks on screen.
    – Ash U
    Mar 21, 2017 at 23:59

4 Answers 4


I had never had any success with the html>pdf generating tools for PHP coming out looking 1:1 without issues ranging from style to markup to server side error with the libraries and/or incompatibility with PHP versions, package errors and whatnot.

Another option is to use PhantomJS or an equivalent tool to use a headless browser to output a PDF file for you. Note though, that PhantomJS is possibly going to no longer be maintained, as Chrome now has a headless equivalent.

However, there is a module for Drupal 7 and 8 that provides this functionality (disclosure, I am a maintainer) but it may take a little elbow grease on your end to get it to work the way you'd like. A base js controller for PhantomJS is provided, but you can alter it. If all you need is an equivalent of doing File > Print to PDF in the browser, this will do it without as much hassle as all the PHP libs.


As an alternative to that, there is a hosted service provider with an API you can use as well (disclosure - I have nothing to do with it) that might suit you.


From my experience, the kind of functionality "View as PDF" is better answered with a link "Print" or "Save" outputting the content with specific html styled for that purpose. Once I did what you are trying to do, but nowadays I changed my view.


If you want to generate a pdf file from a single node, I would recommend the PDF using mPDF module.

Hope it will help you.

  • mPDF is better but if the pages are too long it does end up taking a lot of resources. I would recommend going with drupal.org/project/phpwkhtmltopdf. You will need to install wkhtmltopdf installed on server before you can use this. This will ensure that your PDF file is rendered the same way it looks on screen.
    – Ash U
    Mar 21, 2017 at 23:57

You can implement dompdf library in your custom module. It is compliant HTML layout and rendering engine written in PHP. PDF rendering is provided either by PDFLib or by a bundled version the R&OS CPDF class.

The conversion is pretty straight forward. Here is the code example:

// Require the Composer autoloader or use Composer Manager module.
// @see: http://getcomposer.org/doc/00-intro.md
require 'vendor/autoload.php';

// Disable DOMPDF's internal autoloader if you are using Composer Manager module.
define('DOMPDF_ENABLE_AUTOLOAD', false);

// include DOMPDF's default configuration
require_once 'vendor/dompdf/dompdf/dompdf_config.inc.php';

$htmlString = ''; // Replace $htmlString with html of of your content node.
$dompdf = new DOMPDF();

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