PRODUCT COMPARISONS

A Comparison Between Wkhtmltopdf in Windows & IronPDF

Updated April 18, 2023
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IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf are both tools that can be used to convert HTML pages or complete websites including images to PDF format. However, there are several differences between the two tools in terms of their features, performance, and ease of use.

What is wkhtmltopdf?

wkhtmltopdf is an open source command-line tool that allows you to convert HTML pages or websites to PDF format. It is available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS X operating systems, and can be used with several programming languages including C# and Java.

wkhtmltopdf

How to Install wkhtmltopdf on Java and C#

Here are the steps to install wkhtmltopdf on Windows server in both C# and Java:

Installing wkhtmltopdf for C#

  1. Download the current version for Windows from the official website url: https://wkhtmltopdf.org/downloads.html
  2. Double-click the downloaded installer and follow the instructions in the installation wizard to install wkhtmltopdf.
  3. Once installed, we modify path by adding the wkhtmltopdf executable to your system's modify PATH environment variable. This can be done via the command prompt using the following command:
set PATH=%PATH%;C:\Program Files\wkhtmltopdf\bin  

Installing wkhtmltopdf for Java

  1. Download the latest version of wkhtmltopdf for Windows from the official website: https://wkhtmltopdf.org/downloads.html
  2. Extract the contents of the downloaded archive to a destination folder on your system.

In both C# and Java, the installation and usage of wkhtmltopdf involve executing the wkhtmltopdf command via the command prompt or using the ProcessBuilder class to execute the command programmatically. It is important to ensure that the wkhtmltopdf executable is added to the system's PATH environment variable and that the necessary switches and options are provided to generate the desired output PDF file.

What is IronPDF and how to install it for C# and Java

IronPDF is a library that allows developers to create, manipulate, and convert PDFs using C# and Java. It provides a wide range of features including HTML to PDF conversion, PDF generation from scratch, and PDF manipulation.

IronPDF

To install IronPDF for C#

  1. Install the IronPDF NuGet package using the Package Manager Console or via the Visual Studio UI.
  2. In your code, add the following using statement to import the IronPDF namespace:

    using IronPdf;  
    using IronPdf;  
    Imports IronPdf
    VB   C#
  3. To generate a PDF from HTML content, use the following code:

    var Renderer = new ChromePdfRenderer(); 
    var PDF = Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("IronFile.html").SaveAs("IronPDF file.pdf");  
    var Renderer = new ChromePdfRenderer(); 
    var PDF = Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("IronFile.html").SaveAs("IronPDF file.pdf");  
    Dim Renderer = New ChromePdfRenderer()
    Dim PDF = Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("IronFile.html").SaveAs("IronPDF file.pdf")
    VB   C#
  4. To create a PDF from scratch, use the following code:

    using IronPdf; var Renderer = new IronPdf.ChromePdfRenderer(); 
    // Create a PDF from a URL or local file path
    using var pdf = Renderer.RenderUrlAsPdf("https://www.amazon.com/?tag=hp2-brobookmark-us-20"); 
    // Export to a file or Stream 
    pdf.SaveAs("url.pdf");  
    using IronPdf; var Renderer = new IronPdf.ChromePdfRenderer(); 
    // Create a PDF from a URL or local file path
    using var pdf = Renderer.RenderUrlAsPdf("https://www.amazon.com/?tag=hp2-brobookmark-us-20"); 
    // Export to a file or Stream 
    pdf.SaveAs("url.pdf");  
    Imports IronPdf
    Private Renderer = New IronPdf.ChromePdfRenderer()
    ' Create a PDF from a URL or local file path
    Private pdf = Renderer.RenderUrlAsPdf("https://www.amazon.com/?tag=hp2-brobookmark-us-20")
    ' Export to a file or Stream 
    pdf.SaveAs("url.pdf")
    VB   C#

Output

To install IronPDF for Java

  1. Download the library from the IronPDF website.
  2. Add the IronPDF JAR file to your project's classpath.
  3. In your code, import the IronPDF package:

    import com.ironsoftware.ironpdf.*;  
    JAVA
  4. Once installed, generate a PDF from HTML content, use the following code:

    import com.ironsoftware.ironpdf.*;
    import java.io.IOException;
    import java.nio.file.Paths; 
    
    // Apply your license key 
    License.setLicenseKey("YOUR-LICENSE-KEY"); 
    
    // Set a log path 
    Settings.setLogPath(Paths.get("C:/tmp/IronPdfEngine.log")); 
    
    // Render the HTML as a PDF. Stored in myPdf as type PdfDocument; 
    PdfDocument myPdf = PdfDocument.renderHtmlAsPdf(" ~Hello World~  Made with IronPDF!"); 
    
    // Save the PdfDocument to a file 
    myPdf.saveAs(Paths.get("html_saved.pdf"));  
    JAVA

Note that IronPDF uses a proprietary HTML-to-PDF conversion engine and does not rely on external tools like wkhtmltopdf.

How to use IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf to manipulate PDF files in C#

IronPDF and Wkhtmltopdf are two libraries that can be used to manipulate PDF files on C#. In this section, we will explore how to use both libraries to manipulate PDF files.

Manipulate PDF Files

Manipulating PDF files with IronPDF

IronPDF is a C# library that can be used to create, manipulate, and render PDF files. It provides an easy-to-use API that allows developers to perform various operations on PDF files, such as adding text, images, and tables, as well as merging, splitting, no collate and converting PDF files. Here is an example of how to use IronPDF to add text to a PDF file:

var Renderer = new IronPdf.ChromePdfRenderer();
using var PDF = Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("Project/MyHtmlDocument.html");
Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("Project/MyHtmlDocument.html");
var Renderer = new IronPdf.ChromePdfRenderer();
using var PDF = Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("Project/MyHtmlDocument.html");
Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("Project/MyHtmlDocument.html");
Dim Renderer = New IronPdf.ChromePdfRenderer()
Dim PDF = Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("Project/MyHtmlDocument.html")
Renderer.RenderHTMLFileAsPdf("Project/MyHtmlDocument.html")
VB   C#

HTML to PDF

Manipulating PDF files with wkhtmltopdf

Wkhtmltopdf is a command-line tool that can be used to convert HTML pages to PDF files. It uses the Qt WebKit rendering engine to render the HTML pages to PDF format. Here is an example of how to use wkhtmltopdf to convert an HTML page to a PDF file:

using System.Text;
using System.Diagnostics;
static void Main(string [] args)
{
    //function calling
    ConvertChromePdfRenderer("URL", "Sample.pdf");
    Console.WriteLine("successfully created!");
    Console.ReadKey();
}
//function declaration
public static void ConvertChromePdfRenderer(string url, string filename)
{
    //function definition
    StringBuilder paramsBuilder = new StringBuilder();
    //make CLI command
    paramsBuilder.AppendFormat("\"{0}\" \"{1}\"", url, filename);
    //create new process
    using (Process process = new Process())
    {
        //specify wkhtmltopdf.exe file path to execute above CLI
        process.StartInfo.FileName = "C:\\Program Files (x86)\\wkhtmltopdf\\bin\\wkhtmltopdf.exe";
        //assign CLI as process argument
        process.StartInfo.Arguments = paramsBuilder.ToString();
        //setting the credentials
        process.StartInfo.UseShellExecute = false;
        process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardOutput = true;
        process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardError = true;
        //start execution
        process.Start();
        if (!process.WaitForExit(60000))
        {
            process.Kill();
        }
    }
}
using System.Text;
using System.Diagnostics;
static void Main(string [] args)
{
    //function calling
    ConvertChromePdfRenderer("URL", "Sample.pdf");
    Console.WriteLine("successfully created!");
    Console.ReadKey();
}
//function declaration
public static void ConvertChromePdfRenderer(string url, string filename)
{
    //function definition
    StringBuilder paramsBuilder = new StringBuilder();
    //make CLI command
    paramsBuilder.AppendFormat("\"{0}\" \"{1}\"", url, filename);
    //create new process
    using (Process process = new Process())
    {
        //specify wkhtmltopdf.exe file path to execute above CLI
        process.StartInfo.FileName = "C:\\Program Files (x86)\\wkhtmltopdf\\bin\\wkhtmltopdf.exe";
        //assign CLI as process argument
        process.StartInfo.Arguments = paramsBuilder.ToString();
        //setting the credentials
        process.StartInfo.UseShellExecute = false;
        process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardOutput = true;
        process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardError = true;
        //start execution
        process.Start();
        if (!process.WaitForExit(60000))
        {
            process.Kill();
        }
    }
}
Imports System.Text
Imports System.Diagnostics
Shared Sub Main(ByVal args() As String)
	'function calling
	ConvertChromePdfRenderer("URL", "Sample.pdf")
	Console.WriteLine("successfully created!")
	Console.ReadKey()
End Sub
'function declaration
Public Shared Sub ConvertChromePdfRenderer(ByVal url As String, ByVal filename As String)
	'function definition
	Dim paramsBuilder As New StringBuilder()
	'make CLI command
	paramsBuilder.AppendFormat("""{0}"" ""{1}""", url, filename)
	'create new process
	Using process As New Process()
		'specify wkhtmltopdf.exe file path to execute above CLI
		process.StartInfo.FileName = "C:\Program Files (x86)\wkhtmltopdf\bin\wkhtmltopdf.exe"
		'assign CLI as process argument
		process.StartInfo.Arguments = paramsBuilder.ToString()
		'setting the credentials
		process.StartInfo.UseShellExecute = False
		process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardOutput = True
		process.StartInfo.RedirectStandardError = True
		'start execution
		process.Start()
		If Not process.WaitForExit(60000) Then
			process.Kill()
		End If
	End Using
End Sub
VB   C#

In summary, IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf are two powerful tools that can be used to manipulate PDF files on C#. IronPDF provides an easy-to-use API for creating, manipulating, and rendering PDF files, while wkhtmltopdf is a command-line tool that can be used to convert HTML pages to PDF files. Both tools have their own strengths and weaknesses, and developers should choose the one that best suit their needs.

Manipulating a PDF file with IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf in Java using Qt WebKit rendering engine

Manipulating PDF files is an essential part of document management, and developers need reliable tools to help them achieve this. Java developers have access to various libraries and tools for PDF manipulation, with IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf being popular options. In this comparison, we will explore how Java developers can manipulate PDF files using these tools.

IronPDF is a C# PDF library that offers easy and fast PDF manipulation capabilities. It also has a Java version, allowing Java developers to enjoy the same features. IronPDF provides an API for working with PDFs, including creating, editing, and rendering PDF documents. It also offers support for PDF forms, annotations, set orientation and security features.

To start working with IronPDF in Java, developers need to download the IronPDF Java library from the official website and import it into their Java project.

IronPDF

On the other hand, wkhtmltopdf is a command-line tool that converts the entire HTML content to Portable Document Format using the Qt WebKit rendering engine. It is an open-source tool that is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Wkhtmltopdf offers various options and switches for customizing PDF output file, such as setting margins, page size, and orientation.

To use wkhtmltopdf in Java, developers can execute the wkhtmltopdf tool using the Process class in Java.

wkhtmltopdf

Both IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf offer reliable PDF manipulation capabilities in Java. IronPDF is more suitable for developers who prefer to work with an API, while wkhtmltopdf is ideal for developers who prefer to work with command-line tools. IronPDF is also more feature-rich and offers more options for PDF customization, while wkhtmltopdf is faster and has a smaller footprint.

Summary comparison of both libraries

Features

  • IronPDF is a fully-featured HTML to PDF converter that includes support for CSS, JavaScript, and HTML5. It can also be used to add headers, footers, and watermarks to PDF documents, and to merge multiple PDF files into a single document. Additionally, it includes OCR functionality for converting scanned documents to searchable PDFs.
  • wkhtmltopdf is a command-line tool that primarily focuses on converting HTML to PDF. It includes basic support for CSS and JavaScript, but does not support HTML5. It does not include any advanced features such as adding headers or footers, or merging PDF files.

Performance

  • IronPDF is a .NET library that is optimized for performance and can be used directly within a C# or Java application. It is capable of handling large HTML files and can generate PDFs quickly and efficiently.
  • wkhtmltopdf is a command-line tool that relies on an external process to generate PDFs. This can result in slower performance, especially when processing large HTML files.

Ease of Use

  • IronPDF is designed to be easy to use and includes a simple API that can be integrated directly into a C# or Java application. It also includes extensive documentation and support resources to help developers get up and running quickly.
  • wkhtmltopdf requires developers to work with the command-line interface, which can be more complex and time-consuming. It also lacks the same level of documentation and support resources as IronPDF.

Platform Support

  • IronPDF is a .NET library that can be used with any .NET-based platform, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. It can also be used with Java using the IKVM.NET runtime.
  • wkhtmltopdf is a command-line tool that is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It can also be used with several programming languages including C# and Java.

Cost

  • IronPDF is a commercial product that requires a paid license for use in production environments. However, it does offer a free trial version for developers to test and evaluate the tool.
  • wkhtmltopdf is an open-source tool that is free to use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

In summary, IronPDF is a more fully-featured and user-friendly HTML to PDF converter that is optimized for performance and can be used directly within a C# or Java application. However, it is a commercial product that requires a paid license for use in production environments. On the other hand, wkhtmltopdf is an open-source command-line tool that can be used with several programming languages including C# and Java, but lacks some of the advanced features and ease of use of IronPDF.

Pricing and Licensing

IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf are two popular tools used for generating PDF documents from HTML content. While both of these tools offer similar functionality, there are differences in their licensing and pricing.

IronPDF is a commercial software library that requires a license for commercial use. It offers a range of licensing options including per developer, per server, and per deployment licenses. IronPDF provides technical support and software updates for its licensed users. The pricing for IronPDF varies depending on the licensing option chosen.

On the other hand, wkhtmltopdf is an open-source tool that is available for free. It is licensed under the LGPLv3 license, which allows for the use, modification, and distribution of the software. However, it does not offer any technical support or software updates. The user community provides support and updates through various channels such as GitHub issues and Stack Overflow.

In terms of pricing, IronPDF is more expensive than wkhtmltopdf. The pricing for IronPDF starts at $399 per developer license, whereas wkhtmltopdf is free to use.

It's worth noting that both IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf use the Qt WebKit rendering engine for converting HTML content to PDF documents. They both offer command-line tools for generating PDF documents, and support a range of input formats including HTML, URLs, and local files.

IronPDF License Agreement Screen

In summary, IronPDF and wkhtmltopdf offer similar functionality for generating PDF documents from HTML content. The main differences lie in their licensing and pricing models. IronPDF is a commercial software library that requires a license for commercial use, while wkhtmltopdf is an open-source tool that is available for free to install. Both are very useful when creating a PDF app.

Conclusion

In conclusion, IronPDF is a powerful PDF manipulation library built for .NET languages. It is designed to provide developers with an easy-to-use and robust tool to create, edit, and manipulate PDF files. With a dedicated focus on ease of use and performance, IronPDF is an excellent choice for developers looking to create and manipulate PDFs in C# or Java.

On the other hand, wkhtmltopdf is a command-line tool that uses the Qt WebKit rendering engine to convert HTML into PDF files. It is open-source software that can be used on Windows, Linux, and macOS. While it is a powerful tool, its functionality is limited to converting HTML to PDF, and it requires some technical expertise to set up and use effectively.

One area where IronPDF shines compared to wkhtmltopdf is its licensing. While both softwares are licensed under the MIT License, IronPDF offers a commercial license that includes premium support and allows for use in commercial applications. This makes it a more attractive option for developers looking for a reliable and stable PDF manipulation library.

In terms of technical capabilities, IronPDF is superior to wkhtmltopdf. With features like page resizing, image compression, and document encryption, IronPDF offers developers greater flexibility in creating and manipulating PDF files. Additionally, IronPDF supports a wider range of image formats and has a simpler and more intuitive API, making it easier for developers to get started.

Lastly, it's worth mentioning that IronPDF is part of the Iron Software suite of products, which includes other useful libraries for .NET development. Developers can buy all five Iron Software products at the price of two licenses, making it an attractive package for those looking to get the most value for their money.

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