Digital Invoicing

Best HTML to PDF Conversion Practices: How to Convert HTML to PDF Without Errors

August 7, 2021
Author
Inkit Team

You may see ‘Conversion to PDF failed’ messages when you convert HTML to PDF documents for many reasons. Maybe, you’ve configured the wrong commands, skipped the mandatory PDF conversion steps, or initially selected the wrong approach to complete HTML render to PDF. The same happens with CSS to PDF, Word documents, and other PDF conversions. Rendering is a complicated process.

We’ve run a survey to detect the most common conversion to PDF failed reasons and troubleshooting steps. Different businesses dealing with rendering engines shared their tips and best practices. Check out their experiences with HTML web page conversion to avoid conversion to PDF failed error messages yourself.

What Professionals Say About Their HTML Render to PDF Approaches

Inkit’s team asked respondents about the most common conversion failure reasons they face and their fail-proof methods for converting HTML files to PDF format on the first try. Here’s what they've told us:

HTML to PDF Conversion Challenge #1. Complicated Source Page Design: Images, Fonts, Layout.

Problem with Vector Graphics

If the conversion is not successful, one or more of the pages may be too complicated. In other words, they have too many vector objects. Follow these steps to troubleshoot:

  • Identify the complex pages by looking at which ones take a long time to load in a PDF reader.
  • Delete these pages and run a test to determine whether a conversion is possible.
  • Simplify the complex page designs or convert them to bitmap graphics.

If there are complex vector graphics on the website, they will be challenging to see. When you put too many things on a page, the design program usually does this. You can try to create a PDF optimized for the web or a linear PDF. The print dialogue can be used to accomplish this.

HTML to PDF Conversion

Problem with Fonts

By exporting with fonts, you can ensure that your fonts are integrated into the uploading document. If the text on your page is not sharp, make sure that:

  • There are no overlapping images or graphics in the text. This comprises images and graphics that are partially or entirely transparent. Putting the text under a fine section of a circle image, for example, could cause issues with the text's appearance. Please re-arrange the layers in the document so that the text is on top to remedy this. This is even when text is not overlapped by anything).
  • You don't use outlines while exporting your text.

Problem with layout

If you are having trouble with text, images, or another aspect of your layout, follow the instructions below:

  • Try using a different PDF version (for example, v 1.3) or an alternative PDF printer.
  • Bitmaps should be used instead of vector graphics.”

(Miranda Yan, Founder of VinPit)

HTML to PDF Conversion Challenge #2. Settings and Configurations

“The most effective way of ensuring your HTML renders well as a PDF is double-checking to ensure you’ve clearly defined the file path. Failing to define this crucial command often sees you generate PDF versions of your document that will be lacking, especially in page structure and visuals in reports. Additionally, check to ensure that PDF settings match the version of PDF you would like to render from your HTML source.”

(Katherine Brown, the founder of Spyic)

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HTML to PDF Conversion Challenge #3. Tool Limitations

“For marketers, it is best to have a supportive program like Adobe Acrobat, as with most browsers that have a toolbar to utilize this tool, to convert a marketing web page, print the document, or ‘Send us an email’ to their specific prospects.  

The main challenges are the lack of support for the Page Media specification and CSS fragmentation properties by some browser rendering engines. Also, the limitations of the browser printing, which one has no control over.”

(Harriet Chan, CocoFinder)

HTML to PDF Conversion Challenge #4. Code Issues

“Now that there is a PDF viewer in the browser, it's finally easier to get a high-quality PDF file from your stunning HTML template. But, there are still many steps you have to take, and quite often, the result is not as expected.

So here are my tips:

  1. If you want to get a high-quality PDF file like any other webpages, add this line of code into the body tag of your HTML template: var pdf = new Object();
  2. Then close down all your browser tabs and reopen them.
  3. Open your browser's inspector tool, find the "object inspector," and expand the PDF node. Then zoom as close as you can to the PDF you want to get from your HTML template.
  4. Copy and paste that code into that location, then click "Refresh" after you've pasted it into this location: then press return (or “Enter”). If done right, a text will pop up saying, "The PDF was successfully generated".
  5. Copy and paste the text that pops up into your reply and hit "Save".
  6. You can now get any other high-quality PDF file generated from an HTML template.

With this method, you don't have to worry about Adobe Acrobat anymore! Yet, there are still many challenges:

  • For example, sometimes your PDF doesn't get adequately generated if you've added the line of code in step 1.
  • Sometimes, you can't even preview your PDF correctly when the Adobe Acrobat viewer pops up in your browser because the viewer window is too small to fit within your HTML template fully. Then you have to download and install Adobe Acrobat again to preview it.”

(Lynda Fairly, NumLooker)

Code Issues

Tips and Best Practices for Error-Free HTML to PDF Rendition

Here’s a brief checklist of best HTML to PDF conversion practices we’ve summarized for your convenience:

  • Double-check the file path, PDF settings, and custom configurations before starting HTML to PDF conversion.  
  • Simplify complex page designs.
  • Export with fonts but without outlines for your text export.
  • Learn your tool’s limitations.
  • Use an API for regular HTML to PDF conversions.

“If you don’t have enough skills or a developer that can create this process for you, the best route is using an API for converting HTML to PDF. There are a few out there, and they let you implement them in your existing code quite easily. Besides the conversion, some of them come with additional benefits, such as encryption at rest.”

(Petra Odak, CMO at Better Proposals)

Learn How to Integrate Pre-Built PDF Rendering Software

In some cases, HTML to PDF rendering can be done manually using web browser engines; in others, it requires custom software development or integration. When HTML render to PDF is large-scale, conversion to PDF failed messages are more likely to appear because of poor software choice or configuration. That’s why we recommend using reliable PDF converters like Inkit.

Inkit Render as a PDF Converter API

Inkit Render is a part of Inkit’s reach enablement platform (REP) created to optimize HTML to PDF conversion. It’s an API that enables developers to layer HTML render to PDF functionality to existing solutions. They don’t have to spend several months creating a complex PDF converter since the rendering capabilities can be integrated in less than a day. This allows companies that need HTML to PDF rendering to avoid failed conversions and considerably cut the development time and budget.

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