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2.4.2 • Public • Published

Markdown to PDF

CircleCI NPM version XO code style

Screenshot of markdown file and resulting PDF

A simple and hackable CLI tool for converting markdown to pdf. It uses Marked to convert markdown to html and Puppeteer (headless Chromium) to further convert the html to pdf. It also uses highlight.js for code highlighting. The whole source code of this tool is only ~250 lines of JS and ~100 lines of CSS, so it is easy to clone and customize.


  • Concurrently convert all Markdown files in the current directory
  • Watch mode
  • Use your own or remote stylesheets
  • Front-matter for configuration
  • Headers and Footers
  • Page Breaks
  • Syntax highlighting in code blocks
  • Extend the options of the underlying tools


npm i -g md-to-pdf

If you want to have your own copy to hack around with, clone the repository instead:

git clone "https://github.com/simonhaenisch/md-to-pdf"
cd md-to-pdf
npm link # or npm i -g 

After this, the commands md-to-pdf and md2pdf (as a shorthand) are globally available in your cli.


If you installed via npm, run npm i -g md-to-pdf@latest in your CLI. If you cloned this repository instead, you can simply do a git pull to get the latest changes from the master branch. Unless there have been changes to packages, you don't need to re-install the package (because NPM 5+ uses symlinks, at least on Unix systems). There is a post-merge hook that should run the install for you automatically.


$ md-to-pdf [options] [path/to/file.md] [path/to/output.pdf]


  -h, --help ............... Output usage information
  -v, --version ............ Output version
  -w, --watch .............. Watch the current file(s) for changes
  --stylesheet ............. Path to a local or remote stylesheet (can be passed multiple times)
  --css .................... String of styles (can be used to overwrite stylesheets)
  --body-class ............. Classes to be added to the body tag (can be passed multiple times)
  --highlight-style ........ Style to be used by highlight.js (default: github)
  --marked-options ......... Set custom options for marked (as a JSON string)
  --pdf-options ............ Set custom options for the generated PDF (as a JSON string)
  --launch-options ......... Set custom launch options for Puppeteer
  --md-file-encoding ....... Set the file encoding for the markdown file
  --stylesheet-encoding .... Set the file encoding for the stylesheet
  --config-file ............ Path to a JSON or JS configuration file
  --devtools ............... Open the browser with devtools instead of creating PDF
  --debug .................. Show more output on errors

If no arguments are given, all markdown files in the current directory will be converted. Otherwise, the first argument is path/to/file.md and the second one optionally specifies the path/to/output.pdf. If you omit the second argument, it will derive the pdf name from the markdown filename and save it into the same directory that contains the markdown file. Run md2pdf --help for examples on how to use the cli options.

Paths to local images have to be relative to the markdown file location and the files have to be within the same directory the markdown file lives in, or subdirectories of it.

Page Break

Place an element with class page-break to force a page break at a certain point of the document (uses the CSS rule page-break-after: always), e. g.:

<div class="page-break"></div>


Set the PDF option displayHeaderFooter to true, then use headerTemplate and footerTemplate with the provided classes to inject printing values, e. g. with front-matter (the styles in the <style/> tag of the header template will be applied to both header and footer):

  format: A4
  margin: 30mm 20mm
  displayHeaderFooter: true
  headerTemplate: |-
      section {
        margin: 0 auto;
        font-family: system-ui;
        font-size: 11px;
      <span class="date"></span>
  footerTemplate: |-
        Page <span class="pageNumber"></span>
        of <span class="totalPages"></span>

Refer to the Puppeteer docs for more info about headers and footers.

Default and Advanced Options

For markdown, GFM and tables are enabled by default (see util/config.js for default options). The default highlight.js styling for code blocks is github.

For advanced options see the following links:


Option Examples
--stylesheet path/to/style.css, https://example.org/stylesheet.css
--css body { color: tomato; }
--body_class markdown-body
--highlight-style monokai, solarized-light
--marked-options '{ "gfm": false }'
--pdf-options '{ "format": "Letter", margin: "20mm" }'
--launch-options '{ "args": ["--no-sandbox"] }'
--md-file-encoding utf-8, windows1252
--stylesheet-encoding utf-8, windows1252
--config-file path/to/config.json

margin: instead of an object (as stated in the Puppeteer docs), it is also possible to pass a CSS-like string, e. g. 1em (all), 1in 2in (top/bottom right/left), 10mm 20mm 30mm (top right/left bottom) or 1px 2px 3px 4px (top right bottom left).

The options can also be set with front-matter or a config file (except --md-file-encoding can't be set by front-matter). In that case, remove the leading dashes (--) from the cli argument name and replace the hyphens (-) with underscores (_). --stylesheet and --body-class can be passed multiple times (i. e. as an array). If the same config option exists in multiple places, the priority (from low to high) is: defaults, config file, front-matter, cli arguments.

Example front-matter:

  - path/to/style.css
body_class: markdown-body
highlight_style: monokai
  format: A5
  margin: 10mm

Example config.json (can also be a .js that default exports an object):

  "stylesheet": [
  "css": "body { color: tomato; }",
  "body_class": "markdown-body",
  "highlight_style": "monokai",
  "marked_options": {
    "headerIds": false,
    "smartypants": true,
  "pdf_options": {
    "format": "A5",
    "margin": "20mm"
  "stylesheet_encoding": "utf-8"

Github Styles

Here is an example front-matter for how to get Github-like output:

stylesheet: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/github-markdown-css/2.10.0/github-markdown.min.css
body_class: markdown-body
css: |-
  .page-break { page-break-after: always; }
  .markdown-body { font-size: 11px; }
  .markdown-body pre > code { white-space: pre-wrap; }


You can just start making changes to the files in this repository. NPM 5+ uses symlinks for local global packages, so all changes are reflected immediately without re-installing the package globally (except when there are changes to required packages, then reinstall using npm i). This also means that you can just do a git pull to get the latest version onto your machine.

Ideas, feature requests and PRs are welcome. Just keep it simple! 🤓


Huge thanks to:


npm i md-to-pdf

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