212

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.

3
  • 1
    The syntax coloring on GitHub is not part of GitHub Flavored Markdown. At least as far as I know. Dec 16 '13 at 12:51
  • @OliverSalzburg Github uses Linguist to provide syntax highlighting. Dec 16 '13 at 13:37
  • 1
    @dillmo, Convert to HTML first, then use Chrome to print-to-pdf.
    – Pacerier
    Feb 18 '16 at 20:30

15 Answers 15

200

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 or similar (ex: go to http://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).

12
  • 3
    this is easy enough.
    – s2t2
    Sep 5 '15 at 0:21
  • 29
    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
  • 9
    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. Jan 4 '16 at 19:54
  • 6
    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
  • 4
    You can use Pandoc with the light-weight wkhtmltopdf instead of latex like this: pandoc README-Template.md --from=gfm --pdf-engine=wkhtmltopdf --output README.pdf
    – Asme Just
    Apr 13 '18 at 19:15
71

You can also use Node.js based markdown-pdf

npm install -g markdown-pdf
markdown-pdf /path/to/markdown
11
  • 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. 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
  • 1
    @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
  • 3
    This can also be used with npx in place of npm to avoid having to install globally for one-off usage: npx markdown-pdf /path/to/markdown
    – vulpxn
    Dec 28 '20 at 3:05
52

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.

8
  • 4
    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
  • 3
    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
  • 8
    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 Jun 5 '17 at 15:31
  • 1
    This is the only thing that worked fully with anchors intact and other extra features: pandoc -f markdown -t html5 on-premise-admin-guide.md -o test.pdf worked after installing via homebrew and installing wkhtml2pdf. Oct 30 '19 at 3:10
12

Update 2021-11: The project was abandoned, the domain is now hosting ads or malware.

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

All you needed to do is to replace github.com by gitprint.com in the URL.

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

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  • 5
    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 '18 at 14:49
  • ...aaaand it's an online casino.
    – slim
    Aug 13 at 19:42
11

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.

2
  • 7
    Doesn't handle images in separate files.
    – Larry K
    Oct 16 '17 at 19:11
  • works beautifully
    – Shadi
    Oct 20 '17 at 15:22
11

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
1
  • 3
    Didn't include any images, links and ignored things like <font color="red"> though
    – derHugo
    Jan 11 '19 at 13:08
6

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.

4

I had the most luck with VSCode and the Markdown PDF extension. The online converters screwed up the encoding for my files or inserted watermarks in the header.

Usage:

  1. Install the extension
  2. Open your MD file with VSCode, make sure Markdown highlighting is enabled
  3. Open the command palette (F1), type export and select markdown-pdf: Export (pdf)

NB: The extension installs and uses a local version of Chromium in the background.

There are several options to control formatting, they are all explained on the website linked above

1
  • This worked for me on Windows, but I had to add "markdown-pdf.breaks": true to the settings JSON file to see new lines in the PDF. Also "markdown-pdf.displayHeaderFooter": true to hide some information which was added to the PDF header and footer. And "markdown-pdf.styles": [ "C:\\Users\\<USERNAME>\\Documents\\markdown-pdf.css" ] to change the CSS based on github.com/yzane/vscode-markdown-pdf/blob/master/styles/… because I did not like the default color for inline code.
    – hb20007
    Aug 6 at 15:51
3

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

2
  • 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
2

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

1
  • Add --export to grip call so it exports to a HTML file instead of running a webserver and you might skip sleeping and replace kill with just removal of the temporary HTML file.
    – Najki
    Jun 15 at 12:16
2

I'm still looking for a command-line solution which produces results this high-quality [Update: I came up with a pandoc command which uses CSS for formatting, and looks pretty good: pandoc -f gfm -t html5 --metadata pagetitle="test.md" --css github.css test.md -o test.pdf--see my other answer here now!], but:

The Markdown Viewer plugin in Chrome works really well, and looks surprisingly similar to GitHub markdown! Just open your markdown file in Chrome with this plugin installed and activated, then use the menus to print and save as a PDF right from Chrome.

Markdown Viewer boasts the following features (emphasis added):

✔ Renders local and remote URLs
✔ Granular access to remote origins
✔ Multiple markdown parsers
✔ Full control over the compiler options
✔ Themes (including GitHub theme)
GitHub Flavored Markdown (GFM)
Auto reload on file change
Syntax highlighted code blocks
✔ Table of Contents (TOC)
MathJax and Emoji support
Remembers scroll position
✔ Markdown Content-Type detection
✔ URL detection using RegExp
✔ Toggle Content Security Policy (CSP)
✔ Override page encoding
✔ Settings synchronization
✔ Raw and rendered markdown views
Free and Open Source

Example Markdown file

Here is a sample markdown file, which is a snippet from my example markdown demo file in my project here:

test.md:

## 1.1. Align images left, right, or centered, with NO WORD WRAP:

This:

```html
**Align left:**
<p align="left" width="100%">
    <img width="33%" src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/RJj4x.png"> 
</p>

**Align center:**
<p align="center" width="100%">
    <img width="33%" src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/RJj4x.png"> 
</p>

**Align right:**
<p align="right" width="100%">
    <img width="33%" src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/RJj4x.png"> 
</p>
```

Produces this:

**Align left:**
<p align="left" width="100%">
    <img width="33%" src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/RJj4x.png"> 
</p>

**Align center:**
<p align="center" width="100%">
    <img width="33%" src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/RJj4x.png"> 
</p>

**Align right:**
<p align="right" width="100%">
    <img width="33%" src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/RJj4x.png"> 
</p>

If you'd like to set the text itself to left, center, or right, you can include the text inside the `<p>` element as well, as regular HTML, like this:

```html
<p align="right" width="100%">
    This text is also aligned to the right.<br>
    <img width="33%" src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/RJj4x.png"> 
</p>
```

Markdown Viewer output:

The above markdown file produces this output directly in my Chrome browser when viewed with the Markdown Viewer plugin installed and on. Notice it has language-aware syntax highlighting for code blocks, nice-looking, greyed code backgrounds, and reasonable column widths for output content.

Its output looks really nice, and is almost identical to GitHub's markdown output!

enter image description here

It supports themes too. See the "GitHub" theme is selected here, for instance. Just click the little m plugin icon in the top right of your Chrome browser to choose Markdown Viewer settings you want:

enter image description here


grip output:

Contrast this to the output from grip, which I think doesn't look nearly as good. grip doesn't have syntax highlighting for code blocks, greyed background for code, nor reasonable column widths for the output content. On a wide monitor, it takes up the whole width.

On Linux Ubuntu:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install grip
grip test.md

Then Ctrl + click on the url it gives you, to open the output in your browser. Ex: at http://localhost:6419/. Here's the grip-rendered output I see in Chrome:

enter image description here

See also:

  1. [my answer] How to convert Markdown + CSS -> PDF?
1

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!

4
  • 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 '18 at 13:56
  • @JohanO markdownprint.com seems to be down
    – derHugo
    Jan 11 '19 at 13:10
1

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

3
  • 1
    Does it support images stored in other files?
    – Larry K
    Oct 16 '17 at 19:12
  • 1
    No longer seems to be working, and is not TLS-secured. May 16 '19 at 14:47
  • 1
    This link is dead Jan 30 '20 at 17:24
0

I just convert from HTML instead. This works for my needs:

https://github.com/dompdf/dompdf

I found that in general Markdown is not a good format to convert to PDF, as it doesnt have native CSS support. Here is the script I use:

<?php
require 'dompdf/autoload.inc.php';
use Dompdf\Dompdf;

$dompdf = new Dompdf();
$dompdf->getOptions()->setIsFontSubsettingEnabled(true);
$s_in = file_get_contents('index.html');
$dompdf->loadHtml($s_in);

$dompdf->render();
$s_out = $dompdf->output();
file_put_contents('index.pdf', $s_out);

This solution just needs PHP (25 MB) and DomPdf (4 MB), so quite lightweight compared to other options.

0

MDPDF - Markdown to PDF converter.

A command line markdown to pdf converter with support for page headers, footers, and custom stylesheets. Mdpdf is incredibly configurable and has a JavaScript API for more extravogant usage.

Installation

Install globally to use from the command line:

npm install mdpdf -g

Usage

$ mdpdf --help

Usage:
   $ mdpdf <source> [<destination>] [options]

<source> must be a markdown file, with the extension '.md'.

Examples:
   $ mdpdf README.md
   $ mdpdf README.md --style=styles.css --header=header.hbs --h-height=22mm
   $ mdpdf README.md --footer=footer.hbs --f-height=22mm --debug
   $ mdpdf README.md --border-left=30mm

Options:
   --style=<filename>           A single css stylesheet you wish to apply to the PDF
   --header=<filename>          A HTML (.html) file to inject into the header of the PDF
   --h-height=<height>          The height of the header section
   --footer=<filename>          A HTML (.html) file to inject into the footer of the PDF
   --f-height=<height>          The height of the footer section
   --border=<size>              Border (top, left, bottom, right; default: 20mm)
   --border-top=<size>          Top border (default: 20mm)
   --border-left=<size>         Left border (default: 20mm)
   --border-bottom=<size>       Bottom border (default: 20mm)
   --border-right=<size>        Right border (default: 20mm)
   --gh-style                   Enable default gh-styles, when --style is used
   --no-emoji                   Disables emoji conversions
   --no-highlight               Disables syntax highlighting
   --debug                      Save the generated html for debugging
   --help                       Display this menu
   --version                    Display the application version
   --format=<format>            PDF size format: A3, A4, A5, Legal, Letter, Tabloid (Default: A4)
   --orientation=<orientation>  PDF orientation: portrait or landscape (Default: portrait)

  Length parameters (<height> and <size>) require a unit. Valid units are mm, cm, in and px.

Global Settings:
      You can also set a global default stylesheet by setting the MDPDF_STYLES environment variable as the path to your single css stylesheet. The --style flag will override this.

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