Create or Generate PDF file in ASP.NET Core

2 Aug 202217 minutes to read

The Syncfusion .NET Core PDF library is used to create, read, and edit PDF documents. This library also offers functionality to merge, split, stamp, forms, and secure PDF files.

To include the .NET Core PDF library into your ASP.NET Core application, please refer to the NuGet Package Required or Assemblies Required documentation.

Steps to create PDF document in ASP.NET Core

Create a new C# ASP.NET Core Web Application project.
Generate ASP.NET Core project using Visual Studio

Select Web Application pattern (Model-View-Controller) for the project.
.NET Core PDF generator

Install the Syncfusion.Pdf.Net.Core NuGet package as reference to your ASP.NET Core applications from NuGet.org.
Include dotnet core PDF generator NuGet

A default controller with name HomeController.cs gets added on creation of ASP.NET Core project. Include the following namespaces in that HomeController.cs file.

  • C#
  • using Syncfusion.Pdf;
    using Syncfusion.Pdf.Graphics;
    using Syncfusion.Drawing;
    using System.IO;

    A default action method named Index will be present in HomeController.cs. Right click on Index method and select Go To View where you will be directed to its associated view page Index.cshtml.

    Add a new button in the Index.cshtml as shown below.

  • C#
  • @{Html.BeginForm("CreatePDFDocument", "Home", FormMethod.Get);
    {
    <div>
        <input type="submit" value="Generate PDF Document" style="width:150px;height:27px" />
    </div>
    }
    Html.EndForm();
    }

    Add a new action method CreatePDFDocument in HomeController.cs and include the below code snippet to generate a PDF file and download it from a ASP.NET Core application.

  • C#
  • //Create a new PDF document
    PdfDocument document = new PdfDocument();
      
    //Add a page to the document
    PdfPage page = document.Pages.Add();
      
    //Create PDF graphics for the page
    PdfGraphics graphics = page.Graphics;
      
    //Set the standard font
    PdfFont font = new PdfStandardFont(PdfFontFamily.Helvetica, 20);
      
    //Draw the text
    graphics.DrawString("Hello World!!!", font, PdfBrushes.Black, new PointF(0, 0));
      
    //Saving the PDF to the MemoryStream
    MemoryStream stream = new MemoryStream();
      
    document.Save(stream);
      
    //Set the position as '0'.
    stream.Position = 0;
      
    //Download the PDF document in the browser
    FileStreamResult fileStreamResult = new FileStreamResult(stream, "application/pdf");
      
    fileStreamResult.FileDownloadName = "Sample.pdf";
      
    return fileStreamResult;

    A complete work sample can be downloaded from Create-PDF-file.zip

    By executing the program, you will get the PDF document as follows.
    ASP.NET Core PDF Generation output

    NOTE

    The WinForms and WPF controls support in .NET Core 3.0 have been provided. To run this application, please install the System.Drawing.Common NuGet package as a dependent package.

    Creating a PDF document with image

    The following code example shows how to create a PDF document with an image.

  • C#
  • //Create a new PDF document.
    PdfDocument doc = new PdfDocument();
    //Add a page to the document.
    PdfPage page = doc.Pages.Add();
    //Create PDF graphics for the page
    PdfGraphics graphics = page.Graphics;
    //Load the image as stream.
    FileStream imageStream = new FileStream("Autumn Leaves.jpg", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
    PdfBitmap image = new PdfBitmap(imageStream);
    //Draw the image
    graphics.DrawImage(image, 0, 0);
    //Save the PDF document to stream
    MemoryStream stream = new MemoryStream();
    doc.Save(stream);
    //If the position is not set to '0' then the PDF will be empty.
    stream.Position = 0;
    //Close the document.
    doc.Close(true);
    //Defining the ContentType for pdf file.
    string contentType = "application/pdf";
    //Define the file name.
    string fileName = "Output.pdf";
    //Creates a FileContentResult object by using the file contents, content type, and file name.
    return File(stream, contentType, fileName);

    Creating a PDF document with table

    The following code example shows how to create a PDF document with a simple table.

  • C#
  • //Generate a new PDF document.
    PdfDocument doc = new PdfDocument();
    //Add a page.
    PdfPage page = doc.Pages.Add();
    //Create a PdfGrid.
    PdfGrid pdfGrid = new PdfGrid();
    //Add values to list
    List<object> data = new List<object>();
    Object row1 = new { ID = "E01", Name = "Clay" };
    Object row2 = new { ID = "E02", Name = "Thomas" };
    Object row3 = new { ID = "E03", Name = "Andrew" };
    Object row4 = new { ID = "E04", Name = "Paul" };
    Object row5 = new { ID = "E05", Name = "Gray" };
    data.Add(row1);
    data.Add(row2);
    data.Add(row3);
    data.Add(row4);
    data.Add(row5);
    //Add list to IEnumerable
    IEnumerable<object> dataTable = data;
    //Assign data source.
    pdfGrid.DataSource = dataTable;
    //Draw grid to the page of PDF document.
    pdfGrid.Draw(page, new Syncfusion.Drawing.PointF(10, 10));
    //Write the PDF document to stream
    MemoryStream stream = new MemoryStream();
    doc.Save(stream);
    //If the position is not set to '0' then the PDF will be empty.
    stream.Position = 0;
    //Close the document.
    doc.Close(true);
    //Defining the ContentType for pdf file.
    string contentType = "application/pdf";
    //Define the file name.
    string fileName = "Output.pdf";
    //Creates a FileContentResult object by using the file contents, content type, and file name.
    return File(stream, contentType, fileName);

    Creating a simple PDF document with basic elements

    The PdfDocument object represents an entire PDF document that is being created. The following code example shows how to generate a PDF document and add a PdfPage to it along with the PdfPageSettings.

  • C#
  • //Creates a new PDF document
    PdfDocument document = new PdfDocument();
    //Adds page settings
    document.PageSettings.Orientation = PdfPageOrientation.Landscape;
    document.PageSettings.Margins.All = 50;
    //Adds a page to the document
    PdfPage page = document.Pages.Add();
    PdfGraphics graphics = page.Graphics;
    1. Essential PDF has APIs similar to the .NET GDI plus which helps to draw elements to the PDF page just like 2D drawing in .NET.
    2. Unlike System.Drawing APIs all the units are measured in point instead of pixel.
    3. In PDF, all the elements are placed in absolute positions and has the possibility for content overlapping if misplaced.
    4. Essential PDF provides the rendered bounds for each and every elements added through PdfLayoutResult objects. This can be used to add successive elements and prevent content overlap.

    The following code example explains how to add an image from disk to a PDF document, by providing the rectangle coordinates.

  • C#
  • //Loads the image as stream
    FileStream imageStream = new FileStream("AdventureCycle.jpg", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
    RectangleF bounds = new RectangleF(176, 0, 390, 130);
    PdfImage image = PdfImage.FromStream(imageStream);
    //Draws the image to the PDF page
    page.Graphics.DrawImage(image, bounds);

    The following methods can be used to add text to a PDF document.

    1. DrawString() method of the PdfGraphics
    2. PdfTextElement class.

    The PdfTextElement provides the layout result of the added text by using the location of the next element that decides to prevent content overlapping. This is not available in the DrawString method.

    The following code example adds the necessary text such as address, invoice number and date to create a basic invoice application.

  • C#
  • PdfBrush solidBrush = new PdfSolidBrush(new PdfColor(126, 151, 173));
    bounds = new RectangleF(0,bounds.Bottom + 90, graphics.ClientSize.Width, 30);
    //Draws a rectangle to place the heading in that region.
    graphics.DrawRectangle(solidBrush, bounds);
    //Creates a font for adding the heading in the page
    PdfFont subHeadingFont = new PdfStandardFont(PdfFontFamily.TimesRoman, 14);
    //Creates a text element to add the invoice number
    PdfTextElement element = new PdfTextElement("INVOICE " + id.ToString(), subHeadingFont);
    element.Brush = PdfBrushes.White;
    
    //Draws the heading on the page
    PdfLayoutResult result = element.Draw(page, new PointF(10, bounds.Top + 8));
    string currentDate = "DATE " + DateTime.Now.ToString("MM/dd/yyyy");
    //Measures the width of the text to place it in the correct location
    SizeF textSize = subHeadingFont.MeasureString(currentDate);
    PointF textPosition = new PointF(graphics.ClientSize.Width - textSize.Width - 10, result.Bounds.Y);
    //Draws the date by using DrawString method
    graphics.DrawString(currentDate, subHeadingFont, element.Brush, textPosition);
    PdfFont timesRoman = new PdfStandardFont(PdfFontFamily.TimesRoman, 10);
    //Creates text elements to add the address and draw it to the page.
    element = new PdfTextElement("BILL TO ", timesRoman);
    element.Brush = new PdfSolidBrush(new PdfColor(126, 155, 203));
    result = element.Draw(page, new PointF(10, result.Bounds.Bottom + 25));
    PdfPen linePen = new PdfPen(new PdfColor(126, 151, 173), 0.70f);
    PointF startPoint = new PointF(0, result.Bounds.Bottom + 3);
    PointF endPoint = new PointF(graphics.ClientSize.Width, result.Bounds.Bottom + 3);
    //Draws a line at the bottom of the address
    graphics.DrawLine(linePen, startPoint, endPoint);

    Essential PDF provides two types of table models. The difference between both the table models can be referred from the link
    Difference between PdfLightTable and PdfGrid

    Since the invoice document requires only simple cell customizations, the given code example explains how to create a simple invoice table by using PdfGrid.

  • C#
  • //Creates the datasource for the table
    DataTable invoiceDetails = GetProductDetailsAsDataTable();
    //Creates a PDF grid
    PdfGrid grid = new PdfGrid();
    //Adds the data source
    grid.DataSource = invoiceDetails;
    //Creates the grid cell styles
    PdfGridCellStyle cellStyle = new PdfGridCellStyle();
    cellStyle.Borders.All = PdfPens.White;
    PdfGridRow header = grid.Headers[0];
    //Creates the header style
    PdfGridCellStyle headerStyle = new PdfGridCellStyle();
    headerStyle.Borders.All = new PdfPen(new PdfColor(126, 151, 173));
    headerStyle.BackgroundBrush = new PdfSolidBrush(new PdfColor(126, 151, 173));
    headerStyle.TextBrush = PdfBrushes.White;
    headerStyle.Font = new PdfStandardFont(PdfFontFamily.TimesRoman, 14f, PdfFontStyle.Regular);
    
    //Adds cell customizations
    for (int i = 0; i < header.Cells.Count; i++)
    {
    if (i == 0 || i == 1)
    header.Cells[i].StringFormat = new PdfStringFormat(PdfTextAlignment.Left, PdfVerticalAlignment.Middle);
    else
    header.Cells[i].StringFormat = new PdfStringFormat(PdfTextAlignment.Right, PdfVerticalAlignment.Middle);
    }
    
    //Applies the header style
    header.ApplyStyle(headerStyle);
    cellStyle.Borders.Bottom = new PdfPen(new PdfColor(217, 217, 217), 0.70f);
    cellStyle.Font = new PdfStandardFont(PdfFontFamily.TimesRoman, 12f);
    cellStyle.TextBrush = new PdfSolidBrush(new PdfColor(131, 130, 136));
    //Creates the layout format for grid
    PdfGridLayoutFormat layoutFormat = new PdfGridLayoutFormat();
    // Creates layout format settings to allow the table pagination
    layoutFormat.Layout = PdfLayoutType.Paginate;
    //Draws the grid to the PDF page.
    PdfGridLayoutResult gridResult = grid.Draw(page, new RectangleF(new PointF(0, result.Bounds.Bottom + 40), new SizeF(graphics.ClientSize.Width, graphics.ClientSize.Height - 100)), layoutFormat);

    The following code example shows how to save the invoice document to disk and dispose the PdfDocument object.

  • C#
  • FileStream fileStream = new FileStream("Sample.pdf", FileMode.CreateNew, FileAccess.ReadWrite);
    //Save and close the PDF document 
    document.Save(fileStream);
    document.Close(true);

    The following screenshot shows the invoice PDF document created by using Essential PDF.

    ASP.NET Core PDF Invoices

    Filling forms

    An interactive form, sometimes referred to as an AcroForm is a collection of fields for gathering information interactively from the user. A PDF document can contain any number of fields appearing in any combination of pages, all of that make a single, globally interactive form spanning the entire document.

    .NET Core PDF library allows you to create and manipulate existing form in PDF document. To work with existing form documents, the following namespaces are required.

    1. Syncfusion.Pdf
    2. Syncfusion.Pdf.Parsing

    The following guide shows how to fill a sample PDF form as shown.

    Filling ASP.NET Core PDF forms

    .NET Core PDF library allows you to fill the form fields by using PdfLoadedField class. You can get the form field either by using its field name or field index.

  • C#
  • //Load the PDF document
    FileStream docStream = new FileStream("JobApplication.pdf", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
    PdfLoadedDocument loadedDocument = new PdfLoadedDocument(docStream);
    //Loads the form
    PdfLoadedForm form = loadedDocument.Form;
    //Fills the textbox field by using index
    (form.Fields[0] as PdfLoadedTextBoxField).Text = "John";
    //Fills the textbox fields by using field name
    (form.Fields["LastName"] as PdfLoadedTextBoxField).Text = "Doe";
    (form.Fields["Address"] as PdfLoadedTextBoxField).Text = " John Doe \n 123 Main St \n Anytown, USA";
    //Loads the radio button group
    PdfLoadedRadioButtonItemCollection radioButtonCollection = (form.Fields["Gender"] as PdfLoadedRadioButtonListField).Items;
    //Checks the 'Male' option
    radioButtonCollection[0].Checked = true;
    //Checks the 'business' checkbox field
    (form.Fields["Business"] as PdfLoadedCheckBoxField).Checked = true;
    //Checks the 'retiree' checkbox field
    (form.Fields["Retiree"] as PdfLoadedCheckBoxField).Checked = true;
    //Write the PDF document to stream
    MemoryStream stream = new MemoryStream();
    loadedDocument.Save(stream);
    //If the position is not set to '0' then the PDF will be empty.
    stream.Position = 0;
    //Close the document.
    loadedDocument.Close(true);
    //Defining the ContentType for pdf file.
    string contentType = "application/pdf";
    //Define the file name.
    string fileName = "output.pdf";
    //Creates a FileContentResult object by using the file contents, content type, and file name.
    return File(stream, contentType, fileName);

    The filled form is shown in adobe reader application as follows.

    Filled ASP.NET Core PDF Forms

    Merge PDF Documents

    .NET Core PDF library supports merging multiple PDF documents from stream using Merge method.

    You can merge the PDF document streams by using the following code example.

  • C#
  • //Generate a PDF document
    PdfDocument finalDoc = new PdfDocument();
    FileStream stream1 = new FileStream("file1.pdf", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
    FileStream stream2 = new FileStream("file2.pdf", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
    // Creates a PDF stream for merging
    Stream[] streams = { stream1, stream2 };
    // Merges PDFDocument.
    PdfDocumentBase.Merge(finalDoc, streams);
    //Save the PDF document to stream
    MemoryStream stream = new MemoryStream();
    finalDoc.Save(stream);
    //If the position is not set to '0' then the PDF will be empty.
    stream.Position = 0;
    //Close the document.
    finalDoc.Close(true);
    //Defining the ContentType for pdf file.
    string contentType = "application/pdf";
    //Define the file name.
    string fileName = "sample.pdf";
    //Creates a FileContentResult object by using the file contents, content type, and file name.
    return File(stream, contentType, fileName);

    NOTE

    You can also explore our .NET Core PDF library demo that shows how to create and modify PDF files from C# with just five lines of code.