A JavaScript PDF generation library for Node and the browser.


PDFKit is a PDF document generation library for Node and the browser that makes creating complex, multi-page, printable documents easy. It's written in CoffeeScript, but you can choose to use the API in plain 'ol JavaScript if you like. The API embraces chainability, and includes both low level functions as well as abstractions for higher level functionality. The PDFKit API is designed to be simple, so generating complex documents is often as simple as a few function calls.

Check out some of the documentation and examples to see for yourself! You can also read the guide as a self-generated PDF with example output displayed inline. If you'd like to see how it was generated, check out the README in the docs folder.

You can also try out an interactive in-browser demo of PDFKit here.


Installation uses the npm package manager. Just type the following command after installing npm.

npm install pdfkit


Coming soon!


PDFDocument = require 'pdfkit'

# Create a document
doc = new PDFDocument

# Pipe it's output somewhere, like to a file or HTTP response
# See below for browser usage
doc.pipe fs.createWriteStream('output.pdf')

# Embed a font, set the font size, and render some text
   .text('Some text with an embedded font!', 100, 100)

# Add another page
   .text('Here is some vector graphics...', 100, 100)

# Draw a triangle
   .moveTo(100, 150)
   .lineTo(100, 250)
   .lineTo(200, 250)

# Apply some transforms and render an SVG path with the 'even-odd' fill rule
   .translate(470, -380)
   .path('M 250,75 L 323,301 131,161 369,161 177,301 z')
   .fill('red', 'even-odd')

# Add some text with annotations
   .text('Here is a link!', 100, 100)
   .underline(100, 100, 160, 27, color: "#0000FF")
   .link(100, 100, 160, 27, 'http://google.com/')

# Finalize PDF file

The PDF output from this example (with a few additions) shows the power of PDFKit — producing complex documents with a very small amount of code. For more, see the demo folder and the PDFKit programming guide.

Browser Usage

There are two ways to use PDFKit in the browser. The first is to use Browserify, which is a Node module packager for the browser with the familiar require syntax. The second is to use a prebuilt version of PDFKit, which you can download from Github.

In addition to PDFKit, you'll need somewhere to stream the output to. HTML5 has a Blob object which can be used to store binary data, and get URLs to this data in order to display PDF output inside an iframe, or upload to a server, etc. In order to get a Blob from the output of PDFKit, you can use the blob-stream module.

The following example uses Browserify to load PDFKit and blob-stream, but if you're not using Browserify, you can load them in whatever way you'd like (e.g. script tags).

# require dependencies
PDFDocument = require 'pdfkit'
blobStream  = require 'blob-stream'

# create a document the same way as above
doc = new PDFDocument

# pipe the document to a blob
stream = doc.pipe(blobStream())

# add your content to the document here, as usual

# get a blob when you're done
stream.on 'finish', ->
  # get a blob you can do whatever you like with
  blob = stream.toBlob('application/pdf')

  # or get a blob URL for display in the browser
  url = stream.toBlobURL('application/pdf')
  iframe.src = url

You can see an interactive in-browser demo of PDFKit here.

Note that in order to Browserify a project using PDFKit, you need to install the brfs module with npm, which is used to load built-in font data into the package. It is listed as a devDependency in PDFKit's package.json, so it isn't installed by default for Node users. If you forget to install it, Browserify will print an error message.


For complete API documentation and more examples, see the PDFKit website.


PDFKit is available under the MIT license.