I have recently started learning Markdown for use with documentation, and need to print out a few of my Markdown pages. I would like to use a command-line, Terminal, etc. utility that allows me to convert Github-flavored Markdown to PDF. It needs to have proper syntax highlighting and should not look horrible. Thanks for any help.

  • The syntax coloring on GitHub is not part of GitHub Flavored Markdown. At least as far as I know. – Der Hochstapler Dec 16 '13 at 12:51
  • @OliverSalzburg Github uses Linguist to provide syntax highlighting. – DanteTheEgregore Dec 16 '13 at 13:37
  • @dillmo, Convert to HTML first, then use Chrome to print-to-pdf. – Pacerier Feb 18 '16 at 20:30

11 Answers 11

up vote 116 down vote accepted

I've had success using grip to display markdown in Chrome and then use Chrome's "Save as PDF" option in the Print dialog.

pip install grip  
grip your_markdown.md

grip will render the markdown on localhost:5000 - just edit away and refresh the browser. Print when ready.

This gave a more reliable representation than pandoc and was lighter weight than installing latex (required by pandoc for pdf generation).

The print is not command line in this answer, but still found this easier/more reliable (looked 100% like Github for a long document including relatively linked images and code highlighting).

  • 2
    this is easy enough. – s2t2 Sep 5 '15 at 0:21
  • 10
    grip your_markdown.md --export your_markdown.html is useful option here. Exports it to the html file, which can then be printed from the command line using something like wkhtmltopdf. – Luke Exton Sep 12 '15 at 1:27
  • 1
    Unfortunately grip needs the access to GitHub. It does not work offline – nowox Oct 30 '15 at 14:06
  • 4
    Alternatively you can download (free!) Atom (atom.io), open your file in Atom, use control + shift+ M to view it in preview, save as html, then open the html in your Chrome browser and save as pdf. – Andrew Carter Jan 4 '16 at 19:54
  • 3
    This does come with the Github-like frame around it. Is there a way to print to PDF, removing the borders / title bar (i.e. printing everything inside the frame)? – Joost Mar 7 '16 at 14:05

You can also use Node.js based markdown-pdf

npm install -g markdown-pdf
markdown-pdf /path/to/markdown
  • 2
    This is pretty awesome and really easy. The link issue comes from the html5 boilerplate's print css which you can just comment out or override in your own stylesheet. – Robert Went Nov 8 '15 at 3:14
  • Would like to add that this has out-of-the-box Unicode support, which is very nice. – Niek Mar 13 '17 at 19:00
  • You can also install github-markdown-css to if you want to use GitHub's CSS file. – jpmc26 Jun 9 '17 at 23:07
  • @jpmc26 how can you use it, I am no knowledge of javascript or npm? – Abhishek Bhatia Aug 16 '17 at 18:16
  • @AbhishekBhatia This is the first result when I Googled "npm introduction": smalljs.org/package-managers/npm. It's just a file buried in node_modules once you install it. – jpmc26 Aug 16 '17 at 18:51

Take a look at pandoc. It does have syntax highlighting. It might require you making (minor) changes to your document since it has its own flavour of markdown and I don't know how closely it matches the GitHub flavour.

  • 2
    Thanks. Running pandoc -h did return support for GitHub Flavored Markdown, so I'm marking this question as resolved. – dillmo Feb 11 '14 at 23:49
  • 1
    I attempted to install pandoc on Fedora Linux and ran into a dependency nightmare - mainly LaTex related. My advice would be to skip pandoc and try other options first – IanB Aug 13 '15 at 1:13
  • For those who use non-ASCII letters and get them missing: add font options to pandoc, like these: --variable mainfont="Liberation Serif" --variable sansfont="Liberation Sans" – gluk47 Sep 13 '16 at 20:18
  • 2
    If someone is looking for just the commands: sudo apt install pandoc texlive-latex-recommended texlive-xetex texlive-luatex pandoc-citeproc etoolbox wkhtmltopdf (on Ubuntu, probably not all necessary), then pandoc --variable urlcolor=cyan myfile.md -o myfile.pdf – Tor Klingberg Jun 5 '17 at 15:31
  • @TorKlingberg Thanks, I think that is the best answer! – thc Sep 2 '17 at 19:22

If the markdown file was hosted on github repository, gitprint is an interesting option to create pdf / print.

All you need to do is to replace github.com by gitprint.com in the URL. Here is an example from gitprint's homepage.

Unfortunately, it does not work on markdown gists, and works only with markdown files at the repository.

  • 3
    It does not work with images either. :( – Adam Arold Sep 2 '14 at 13:12
  • ...and is poorly formated :( – Moebius Apr 22 '16 at 19:20
  • Interesting option. Pros: external links are maintained and accessible from the output. Cons: output is black and white, anchor links are removed, external links are not visually indicated because they are b&w. – rodey Jan 10 at 14:49

There's an online converter available at http://www.markdowntopdf.com
This provides syntax highlighting out of the box and is the simplest solution I've seen so far. It also correctly handles other features specific to GFM e.g. tables.

  • 1
    Doesn't handle images in separate files. – Larry K Oct 16 '17 at 19:11
  • works beautifully – shadi Oct 20 '17 at 15:22

As I stated in my comment, Github uses Linguist to provide syntax highlighting. On Github, you can use this to specify syntax highlighting like so:

```ruby
require 'redcarpet'
markdown = Redcarpet.new("Hello World!")
puts markdown.to_html
```

Unfortunately, there's no good way to convert Markdown directly to a PDF file with syntax highlighting.

Alternatives:

Vim:

If you have vim, you can easily achieve syntax highlighting by running the following from a terminal:

vim -c hardcopy -c quit /path/to/file.ps

Or inside of vim:

:hardcopy >/path/to/file.ps

This will produce a PostScript file that can be converted to pdf using, for example, ps2pdf:

ps2pdf /path/to/file.ps

Source-highlight:

If you'd like instead to go the route of HTML or LaTeX, you could try Source-highlight instead. A list of all languages supported by Source-highlight can be found here.

A few example Source-highlight commands include:

source-highlight -s java -f html -i Hello.java -o Hello1.html
source-highlight -s java -f html --input Hello.java --output Hello2.html --doc
source-highlight -s java -f html -i Hello.java -o Hello3.html --title "Happy Java with java2html :-)" --tab 3

Using this input file

And each outputting their own respective HTML file:

Hello1.html
Hello2.html
Hello3.html

Further examples of Source-highlight usage can be found here

Windows:

Vim, ps2pdf (provided by Ghostscript) and Source-highlight are all available via Cygwin.

I have recently created a service to convert markdown documents to PDF. It supports Github flavoured markdown as well as syntax highlighting. The service is located at: http://markdown2pdf.com

  • doesn't work with zip file : couldn't find the markdown file in the archive while there is one. – Moebius Apr 22 '16 at 19:26
  • got "error in conversion to pdf". Using markdowntopdf.com instead from kevgathuku – shadi Oct 20 '17 at 15:22

Mine solution: convert markdown with pandoc to html (don't forget to use css for pandoc to show table borders), then open it with libreoffice, choose an option export as pdf.

NB: neither of mentioned here and on the Internet solutions worked for me: 1) browser-based solutions (i.e. grip) are adding excess info, like page numbers, which I didn't manage to remove, 2) pandoc convertage to pdf is broken, for me it generates an empty table (perhaps because of unicode, and yes, I configured it to use xetex), 3) site based solutions (i.e. gitprint.com) are also adding redundant things, like github-like margins, whereas I need just a simple table I generated with awk!

  • 1
    pandoc should work for you with options like --variable mainfont="Liberation Serif" --variable sansfont="Liberation Sans" – gluk47 Sep 13 '16 at 20:17
  • @gluk47 cool, that works! – Hi-Angel Sep 19 '16 at 14:10
  • I can recommend this page for converting markdown to PDF (or for printing) markdownprint.com. – Johan O Apr 21 at 13:56

I have tried several chrome plugins and online converters.
MDtr2PDF is the best one. It supports Github-flavoured-markdown and unicode.

  • Does it support images stored in other files? – Larry K Oct 16 '17 at 19:12

For those with Linux, use pandoc.

Install:

sudo apt install pandoc texlive-latex-extra

Yes, you need -extra package because of fonts.

Convert:

pandoc --from markdown -o output.pdf my-file.md

I refined this snippet for my personal needs:

# sudo apt install grip wkhtmltopdf

MD=${1:-README.md}
PDF=${2:-"$MD".pdf}
PORT=8971
DELAY=10

printf "Converting $MD to $PDF on port $PORT\n"
printf "Waiting $DELAY seconds for server to start...\n"

grip "$MD" localhost:$PORT &
sleep $DELAY
wkhtmltopdf http://localhost:$PORT "$PDF"
kill $(ps -eo pid,command | grep grip | grep -v grep | awk '{print $1}')

Save as /usr/local/bin/md2pdf and sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/md2pdf afterwards.

Usage:

  • md2pdf converts README.md to README.md.pdf

  • md2pdf foo.md converts foo.md to foo.md.pdf

  • md2pdf foo.md bar.pdf converts foo.md to bar.pdf

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