UNIX and Linux PDF generator

About Form2PDF

Form2PDF is a standalone UNIX PDF utility for converting text files to PDF, optionally adding a background image (a form) in the process. It can also send the resulting PDF file as an e-mail with the PDF file as an attachment. This is done through a built-in SMTP client and it does not depend on any other components.

It can be used to add a nice look-and-feel to invoices, confirmations, license keys and any other documents that are generated in a text environment and sent out to customers or other recipients.

Form2PDF is compatible with Acrobat Reader 4 and later.

UNIX PDF creator

Performance

As an example Form2PDF can convert a text document with 100.000 lines (approx 1.500 pages) to PDF, adding a background image to each page, in less than three (3) seconds on an Intel-based server running Linux.

Licensed mode vs demo mode

Form2PDF is licensed per server locked to the hostid. The license key is added to the configuration file /etc/form2pdf.cfg by default. If a license is missing Form2PDF will run in demo mode and random lines in the output will be replaced with an informational text.

You can purchase licenses online here »

The background image

The background image must be in PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format. It will be scaled to the page size regardless of the actual image size. It is therefore important that the image has the same proportions as the page, otherwise it will be distorted. Default page size is 842 x 595 pixels (A4, 72 dpi).

SmartDraw is a software application that can be used to easily create forms and save them in PNG-format.

Form-feed

Form2PDF supports form-feeds (Ctrl-L or character 0x0c) in the text. When a form-feed is encountered the current page will be finalized and a new page created.

Fonts

There are 14 built-in fonts in the PDF format which can always be used. The default font is a fixed space font called "Courier". Please note that font names are case-sensitive.

The following fonts are available:

Usage

Form2PDF takes a number of parameters on the command-line. Most of these parameters can also be defined in a configuration file. An input and output file must be specified, all other parameters are optional. Run "form2pdf --help" for more information about available parameters.

Convert a text file to PDF
form2pdf data.txt output.pdf

Convert a text file to PDF adding a background image
form2pdf --bgimage bg.png data.txt output.pdf

Convert a text file to PDF adding a background image to page 1 only
form2pdf --bgimage bg.png --bgimagepages 1 data.txt output.pdf

Convert a text file to PDF (read data from stdin, write to stdout)
cat data.txt | form2pdf --bgimage bg.png - - >output.pdf

Convert a text file to PDF and send it as e-mail
form2pdf --bgimage bg.png --mailto user1@example.com --sender \
  user2@example.com data.txt output.pdf

For more information check the "User's Guide".

Sample files (also in distribution)

form2pdf.cfg - Configuration file
testdata.txt - Text, 2 pages (sample order acknowledgment)
testbg.png - Background image (PNG format)
test.pdf - Resulting PDF when using above text and image

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