Using the API

If you can make a POST request, you can use DocRaptor! The API is language agnostic, and we provide examples in popular languages. You can refine your document further with document level parameters to specify page dimensions, add headers and footers, create tables of contents, and more!

Here's some more details about what you can do with DocRaptor.

How do I test my documents?

All DocRaptor plans have unlimited test documents so you can verify the output. When you set the 'test' parameter to 'true', your documents will not count against your plan limit.

How long does a document take to generate?

Simple documents may only take a few seconds to generate, and a more complicated document with many external resources to fetch or scripts to run may take several minutes to create.

We do not impose hard limits on input size, output size, numbers of pages, document complexity, or any factor other than time. DocRaptor has two time limits enforced:

synchronous documents: 1 minute
asynchronous documents: 10 minutes

If your document goes over this time limit, it will be killed, and an error will be returned.

What do I do if I need help?

We are here to guide you while integrating, running, and debugging any issue you might have. You can always reach us via email at You can also chat with us live from our website, or send us a message by selecting "Help!" when logged into your dashboard.

If you need a hand with a specific document, you can open a Help Request right from your dashboard. This will share the document input, output, and log so we can get right to fixing your issue. Just log into your account, select "Doc Log" in the top left corner, then "Request Help" for the document you're having trouble with. Our support team will be with you as soon as we've received your request.


You'll authenticate with your API key, which can be found on your account dashboard. You can use your API key in one of two ways: either as the value of the query parameter "user_credentials", or as the username for basic HTTP authentication. You can see examples of both of these methods in our coding examples.

Making a Document

Once you've authenticated with your API key, you can POST against either or

HTTP Status Codes

This is a list of the HTTP status codes DocRaptor returns, and what they mean for your document. Understanding the response code DocRaptor returns for failed documents makes it much easier to troubleshoot problems and get the document you expected.

200 - OK

Your request was made successfully, and DocRaptor has returned a document. We will also return a 200 code when an asynchronous document has successfully generated.

400 - Bad Request

This error code means your request can not be completed as expected. DocRaptor will return this code if the download key is not valid, if the requested document has not completed, if there is an error in your generated document, or if there are errors in your HTTP POST request.

401 - Unauthorized

This status code means authorization is required, but has either not been provided or is incorrect. DocRaptor will return this status code if the API key provided is incorrect.

403 - Forbidden

A 403 status code means the request was made correctly, but the server is refusing to respond. We will return this status code if you do not have permission to view the status of that document, or if you are making too many simultaneous document generation requests.

422 - Unprocessable Entity

This error means your input document has syntax errors and DocRaptor can not process it as expected.

General API Options

The following are the parameters that DocRaptor expects when you make a POST to create a document. You can see these values in use in our coding examples.

Document Type

Specifies what type of document DocRaptor should try and create from the provided content.

Name: doc[document_type]


  • xls
  • xlsx
  • pdf

Document Content

The content that DocRaptor should use to create the document.
e.g. “<table><tr><td>Example!</td></tr></table>”

Name: doc[document_content]

You must supply either this or the following parameter, document_url.

Document URL

The URL that DocRaptor should request the content from to create the document. e.g. “

Name: doc[document_url]

You must supply either this or the previous parameter, document_content.


A name for the document. This can be any string that you find meaningful to describe this document - it is just used for identification purposes on the account dashboard.

Parameter Name: doc[name]


Specifies if this document should be created using test mode. All of our plans have unlimited test documents that do not count against your monthly limit. This way you can play with styles until you get a good looking document without wasting any of your allotted documents.

Parameter Name: doc[test]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

When test mode is on, generated PDFs will be watermarked, and generated Excel documents will be cut off after 20 rows. This parameter is optional.


Specifies that you need support with your document. This will trigger an email to you and to support.

Parameter Name: doc[help]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

When a document is in help mode, we'll store your document contents for review until it's resolved. You can have up to 5 active help requests at any given time.


An arbitrary tag string for the document. Useful if you have multiple applications using DocRaptor under the same DocRaptor account, and you want to differentiate in the logs between each app.

Parameter Name: doc[tag]


Specifies if DocRaptor should try to validate your input HTML. When 'strict' is set to 'true', and your input does not pass our HTML validation, DocRaptor will fail the document and report any HTML errors found.

For PDFs, by default, we do not validate your input HTML. Generally, invalid HTML will make a valid PDF file, even if the styling is not correct.

However, we always validate input HTML when creating XLS files. Unlike PDFs, XLS files are not free-form, and elements must map to XLS cells clearly and exactly.

Parameter Name: doc[strict]

Default (PDF): none
Default (XLS): html


  • none   (PDF only)
  • html


Setting this parameter to true will use DocRaptor's custom JavaScript engine to run any JavaScript in your HTML before sending it to Prince for conversion.

DocRaptor's JavaScript engine is separate from Prince's JavaScript engine. Our engine has been specifically designed to provide support for popular JavaScript tools and libraries, such as Typekit and Highcharts.

We do not recommend using both engines when creating your document. Prince's JavaScript engine will run after DocRaptor's has finished, and using both engines can result in unexpected changes to your HTML. Please contact us if you need a hand determining which engine to use.

This parameter is false by default because loading and running external scripts can add a significant amount of time to document processing. If there are errors running your JavaScript, the document creation process will fail, and the errors will be returned so you can see what went wrong.

Parameter Name: doc[javascript]

Default: false


  • true
  • false


Set the HTTP referrer to this URL when rendering the page.

This is useful if you have to make JavaScript calls that depend on the referrer being set. Typekit functionality requires this to be set explicitly when using document_content.

Parameter Name: doc[referrer]

Default: document_url

Asynchronous Job

DocRaptor attempts to create documents using synchronous creation by default. We set a time limit of 60 seconds for synchronous creation. When a synchronous request completes, DocRaptor will return your generated document.

If you have very large or complex documents, you may wish to switch to asynchronous job creation. Setting this parameter to true will extend the time spent on your job to 600 seconds, queue your document for background creation and DocRaptor will return JSON with a "status_id" key set. e.g.


Making an authenticated request against{status_id} will give you the status of your document job. The returned JSON from that call should look something like:

{"status":"completed", "download_url":"", "message":"Completed at Mon Jun 06 18:33:17 +0000 2011", "number_of_pages":2}

When the job is complete, DocRaptor will call the specified callback_url if one was provided, via a POST request.

Querying the status URL after the doc has been successfully created will provide a download_url in the returned JSON. The value associated with that key is a 2-time use URL from which you can download your doc. This download URL will expire 1 hour after successful asynchronous job creation.

If DocRaptor encounters an error generating your document, the status value will be "failed". A key "validation_errors" will be set with a value corresponding to the reason for the failure. An example of this is:

{"status":"failed", "validation_errors":"Name can't be blank\nName is too long (maximum is 200 characters)"}

If your document has been queued but processing has not yet begun, it will have a status of "queued". If your document is currently being processed, it will have a status of "working".

You can check out our asynchronous cURL request example to see how making an asynchronous document works.

Parameter Name: doc[async]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

If there is an error creating your document, the callback_url will never be called. The status page will explain the error.

Asynchronous Callback URL

If this parameter is provided and the async parameter is set to true, DocRaptor will send a POST request to this URL after successfully completing an asynchronous job. The POST will contain the parameter "download_url" with the value being a URL where your document can be downloaded.

Parameter Name: doc[callback_url]

If there is an error creating your document, the callback_url will never be called. The status page will explain the error.

Response Headers

For PDF documents, the response headers will contain the number of pages contained in the document.

The response header is "X-DocRaptor-Num-Pages"

PDF API Options

You should be able to send normal HTML and CSS to DocRaptor. We suggest you put any CSS in a style block in the head of your document to reduce external connections. We will download external resources (images, style sheets, etc.) to produce your PDF. It will go faster the fewer resources we have to look up.

Images can be embedded directly as data URIs in the HTML document you send to DocRaptor.

It is important to use the correct character encoding and locale in your document if you are sending non-ASCII/Unicode characters in the HTML document.
More information about encoding.

  • <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8"/>
  • <html lang="pt-BR">

If you are attempting to use page breaks, make sure the element that the CSS page-break property is on is not floated or within a floated element, or the page break will not function.

Running JavaScript before the HTML is converted to a PDF is supported - see the JavaScript parameter. You can also read about prince-pdf-script, which allows JavaScript execution in the PDF reader at the time a PDF is opened.

DocRaptor uses Prince to generate PDFs, and we are currently running Prince 10 in production. You can check out Prince's documentation here.

PDF Options

We expose a number of extra options for Prince through our API that you can set. prince_options are a subset of parameters that can be changed when making your POST request. These correspond to the Prince command line options that you can see documented here.

Base URL

Specify the base URL of the input document.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][baseurl]

This can also be accomplished by using the HTML Base tag.

No XInclude

Disable XInclude processing.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][no_xinclude]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

No Network

Disable network access (prevents HTTP downloads).

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][no_network]

Default: false


  • true
  • false


Specify the username for HTTP authentication.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][http_user]

HTTP Password

Specify the password for HTTP authentication.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][http_password]

HTTP Proxy

Specify the HTTP proxy server.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][http_proxy]

HTTP Timeout

Specify how long to wait, in seconds, when requesting an external resource. This parameter accepts a value ranging from 1 to 60. By default, DocRaptor will attempt to fetch any external resource for up to 10 seconds. You can set a longer timeout to force DocRaptor to wait for a large file, for example, or shorten it to skip resources that are unavailable.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][http_timeout]

Default: 10

Options: 1 - 60


Disable SSL verification (not recommended).

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][insecure]

Default: false


  • true
  • false


We apply "print" style sheets by default. You can override this by specifying the style sheet you want to use instead (eg. screen).

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][media]

No Author Style Sheets

Ignore author style sheets.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][no_author_style]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

No Default Style Sheets

Ignore default style sheets.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][no_default_style]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

No Embedded Fonts

Disable font embedding in PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][no_embed_fonts]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

No Subset Fonts

Disable font subsetting in PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][no_subset_fonts]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

No Compression

Disable compression of PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][no_compress]

Default: false


  • true
  • false


Encrypt PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][encrypt]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

Key Bits

Set encryption key size.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][key_bits]


  • 40
  • 128

User Password

Set PDF user password.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][user_password]

Owner Password

Set PDF owner password.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][owner_password]

Disallow Print

Disallow printing of PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][disallow_print]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

Disallow Copy

Disallow copying from PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][disallow_copy]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

Disallow Annotate

Disallow annotation of PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][disallow_annotate]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

Disallow Modify

Disallow modification of PDF output.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][disallow_modify]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

Input Type

Specify the input type of the document to be used by Prince during processing.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][input]

Default: html


  • html
  • xml
  • auto

Prince Version

Specify the version of Prince to use.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][version]


  • 7.1
  • 8.1
  • 9.0
  • 10

If no parameter is supplied, your documents will use Prince 10 by default. You can change your default prince version via the “Edit Profile” link on your user dashboard.

Prince JavaScript

Use Prince's built-in JavaScript engine. Note that this is a separate engine from DocRaptor's JavaScript engine. We generally recommend using DocRaptor's engine, but Prince's engine is necessary in certain cases, such as drawing in a canvas element with JavaScript.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about running JavaScript in your document.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][javascript]

Default: false


  • true
  • false

Prince CSS DPI

By default, Prince sets the page DPI for generated PDFs to 96. However, when using Prince 9.0 or higher, you can override this setting to use the DPI you prefer.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][css_dpi]

Default: 96


  • 72
  • 200
  • etc.

Prince PDF Profile

If you need PDF profile support (Prince 9+ only!), you can set this option. See Prince's documentation for details.

Parameter Name: doc[prince_options][profile]

Default: none

Options (Prince 10):

  • PDF/A-1b
  • PDF/X-3:2003
  • PDF/X-4

Excel API Options

The general technique for producing an XLS file is to send some us some HTML in the form of a table per worksheet, with the tables' rows and cells corresponding to the same in excel. Below is a picture of a simple example transformation which also demonstrates the use of named worksheets (via the name attribute).

You can style cells, rows, and the entire table using style attributes, and those attributes cascade. Below is a picture of a simple background-color example transformation.

Read through our coding examples for more large examples.

Excel XLS Version Support

We currently produce Excel '97 compatible XLS files. As such, features added to excel later than that are not currently supported.

Special Table & Cell Attributes

Several element attributes have special meaning in DocRaptor. Below is a picture of those in action.


Setting the name attribute on a table element will name the sheet produced by the table.


Setting the password attribute on a table element will password protect the sheet produced by the table with the given password. By default this means that all cells in the sheet will be read-only, unless the password is entered. You can control what cells will be read-only using the -xls-locked style.


Setting the colspan on a table cell will create a merged cell


Setting the rowspan on a table cell will create a merged cell from cells below the current cell.

Multiple Worksheets

Creating multiple worksheets is easy. Just send more than one table in your request, wrapped inside a "tables" tag.

Specific Styles

What follows is a list of styles we support as part of a style attribute's value and the options they take. Excel-specific styles have been prefixed with ‘-xls-’. The options should more or less correspond to the options found via “Format Cell” in Excel.


The content type for the cell in Excel.

Default: auto

  • auto - will try and determine the excel cell type automatically based off the cell contents
  • number
  • formula
  • datetime
  • boolean
  • blank


The horizontal alignment for cell content.

Default: general

  • general
  • left
  • right
  • center
  • justify
  • fill


The vertical alignment for cell content.

Default: bottom

  • bottom
  • top
  • center
  • justify


Amount of indentation of the cell content. Integer value from 0 to 14.

Default: 0


Cell content wrapping. If set to wrap, then Excel will wrap data in cells with this format so that it fits within the cell boundaries.

Default: nowrap

  • nowrap
  • wrap


Sets the text orientation for this cell.

Default: horizontal

  • horizontal (0)
  • vertical (90)
  • stacked
  • 0
  • 45
  • 90
  • 270
  • 315
  • 360

Arbitrary amounts are not allowed. The option closest to what you pass us will be chosen.
360 is equivalent to 0.


Sets the background pattern.

Default: none (solid if background-color is set)

  • none
  • 6.25%
  • 12.5%
  • 25%
  • 50%
  • 75%
  • solid
  • horizontal stripe
  • vertical stripe
  • reverse diagonal stripe
  • diagonal stripe
  • diagonal crosshatch
  • thick diagonal crosshatch
  • thin horizontal stripe
  • thin vertical stripe
  • thin reverse diagonal stripe
  • thin diagonal stripe
  • thin horizontal crosshatch
  • thin diagonal crosshatch


Sets the background color for the cell. Can take any named web color or hex value.

Default: transparent (grey if -xls-background-pattern is set)

These colors will be translated to the closest of the ~64 valid colors for Excel. Certain colors (such as black) will cause Excel to ignore the background pattern you set.

    border-top-color, border-bottom-color, border-left-color, border-right-color

    Sets the border color for the cell. Can take any named web color or hex value.

    Default: transparent (if a border color is set, the default will be black)

    These colors will be translated to the closest of the ~64 valid colors for Excel.

      border-top-style, border-bottom-style, border-left-style, border-right-style

      Sets the border style (lines that appear around a cell)

      Default: none (if color is set, the default is thin).

      • none
      • thin
      • medium
      • dashed
      • dotted
      • thick
      • double
      • hair
      • medium dashed
      • dash dot
      • medium dash dot
      • dash dot dot
      • medium dash dot dot
      • slanted dash dot


      Sets the font family.

      Default: Arial


        Sets the font size in points.

        Default: 10pt


          Sets if the font should be italic or not.

          Default: normal

          • normal
          • italic


          Sets the weight of the font.

          Default: normal

          • normal (400)
          • bold (700)
          • bolder (900)
          • lighter (200)
          • 100
          • 200
          • 300
          • 400
          • 500
          • 600
          • 700
          • 800
          • 900


          Sets the text decoration.

          Default: none

          • none
          • line-through
          • underline


          Sets the text color for the cell. Can take any named web color or hex value.

          Default: black

          These colors will be translated to the closest of the ~64 valid colors for Excel.


          Sets the number/date format for the cell. There are many possible options for this. A few of the important ones are below, with more documentation to come in the future. As a warning, if you use a number format on a text or date cell, the results may be unpredictable.

          Formatting Numbers and Text

          Default: default

          • default
          • text
          • integer
          • float
          • percent float
          • percent integer
          • accounting float
          • accounting integer
          • accounting red float
          • accounting red integer
          • exponential
          • fraction_one_digit
          • fraction_two_digits
          • thousands_float
          • thousands_integer

          Formatting Currency

          • currency_dollar
          • currency_euro_prefix
          • currency_euro_suffix
          • currency_japanese_yen
          • currency_pound

          Formatting Dates and Times

          • date_format1 (m/d/yy)
          • date_format2 (d-mmm-yy)
          • date_format3 (d-mmm)
          • date_format4 (mmm-yy)
          • date_format5 (h:mm AM/PM)
          • date_format6 (h:mm:ss AM/PM)
          • date_format7 (h:mm)
          • date_format8 (h:mm:ss)
          • date_format9 (m/d/yy h:mm)
          • date_format10 (d/m/yy)
          • date_format11 (d/m/yy h:mm:ss) (xlsx-only)
          • date_format12 (dd.MM.yyyy) (xlsx-only)


          Sets the height of a row. Only valid on tr elements.

          Default: auto


          Sets the width of a column. The last width specified for a column wins (i.e., if you specify the width for a column in both row 1 and row 2, the width specified in row 2 is used).

          Default: auto


          Sets if this cell is locked. Only has meaning if a password has been set for the sheet that will contain this cell.

          Default: true

          • true
          • false


          When reading values for cells, what character delimits large numbers (i.e. 1 million written as ‘1,000,000’ is delimited by the comma character). If you are using this, you probably want to set ‘-xls-decimal-delimiter’, too.

          Default: ,


          When reading values for cells, what character delimits the begin of the decimal portion of numbers (i.e. 11/10 written as 1.1 is delimited by the period character). If you are using this, you probably want to set ‘-xls-thousands-delimiter’, too.

          Default: .

          Coding Examples

          In this section, you'll find examples for making HTTP POST requests to our servers using C#, cURL, Java, jQuery, .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Rails.

          You can read through our documentation here, or check out our repositories located at GitHub. If you have an example you'd like to share let us know and we'll share it with the world.

          If you would like to see a more complex example you can check out this Using Doc Raptor to create Excel Spreadsheets tutorial by the guys at Switch on the Code!

          C# Examples

          We provide a simple CLI program example (as opposed to a full blown GUI solution) as well as a WPF example. You can find the entire solution for the WPF example at GitHub.

          CLI Example

          WPF Example

          cURL Example

          Here you'll find examples for making documents with a cURL request.

          cURL Synchronous Examples

          cURL Asynchronous Example

          Java CLI Example

          jQuery Examples

          Here you'll find several examples for creating PDF and Excel files with jQuery. We provide documentation for creating documents from forms and URLs, as well as using a jQuery plugin written by one of our users.

          Note: if you don't want to expose your API key in your client-side JavaScript, check out Referrer-based Document Generation. Also, DocRaptor fully supports the CORS specification, allowing cross-site HTTP requests.

          jQuery Form Based

          jQuery URL Based

          jQuery plugin

          David Baldwin made a nice DocRaptor jQuery plugin. Examples and usage details can be found on that page.


          One of our users wrote a .NET wrapper for asynchronous document creation:

          Node.js Examples

          Here you'll see several example implementations using Node.js. Our first example implementation has no dependencies, and we also provide examples using the HTTP client libraries, request and restler.

          Node.js Implementation

          Node.js Implementation Using Request

          Node.js Implementation Using Restler

          PHP Examples

          If you're using DocRaptor with PHP, you've got several options!

          PHP Wrapper Example

          You can use the official PHP API wrapper , which requires PHP 5.4 or newer as well as the PHP cURL extension.

          PHP Client Example

          You can also use a client written in PHP 5 by one of our users. This example works with PHP 5.3 or newer, and also requires the PHP cURL extension.

          Example using pecl_http

          Finally, you can use this example, which requires pecl_http to be installed on your server.

          Python Examples

          Thanks to John Keyes, there is a Python wrapper that closely matches the functionality of the official Ruby gem. Below are a couple of examples of that wrapper in action.

          Python Example

          Python Async Example

          Ruby Examples

          We provide Ruby examples using the official DocRaptor gem, as well as using the HTTParty gem.

          DocRaptor Gem Example

          DocRaptor Gem using Async Functionality

          HTTParty Example

          Rails Example

          We've provided a couple of excerpts from a complete Ruby on Rails example that you can get at GitHub.

          Note: You can define a PDF layout to be used for all of your PDFs by creating an application.pdf.haml (or .erb) file. This technique can also be used to create an XLS layout.

          Note: Rails runs development mode through WEBrick by default. WEBrick is single-threaded, so if your app is hitting its other endpoints in order to generate PDFs, you'll want to use something that supports concurrent requests in development like unicorn, passenger, or thin. You could also run multiple WEBrick instances on different ports.

          API Key Setup

          Add this to config/environment.rb to define your API key:

          Controller Example

          Some sample code from a controller:

          HAML Example

          Sample HAML code to generate an Excel file:

          Referrer-Based Documents

          DocRaptor makes it easy to convert any webpage you have control over into a document using a simple anchor tag. On your account management page, you can add domains you would like to link to DocRaptor, and requests to DocRaptor to create docs that have that domain as part of their HTTP_REFERER HTTP header will be generated using your account without the need for an API key. Click "domains” after logging in to manage your domains!


          Once you've set up your domains, you can make a GET request against either:


          Example Code

          Live Example

          Documentation PDF

          Document Listing API

          You can also get a list of previously created documents through the API. This is just information like the name, the date, and if it was a test document. Since we don't actually store the created document, we can't return that. Info about the documents is returned as XML or JSON in a paginated list, ordered by date of creation (most recent first).


          You can make a GET request against either:

          • (or .xml)
          • (or .xml)


          The following are the parameters that DocRaptor expects when you request the document listing.


          Specifies the page (in terms of pagination) of documents to return

          Name: page

          Default: 1

          Per Page

          Specifies the number of documents per page (in terms of pagination) to return

          Name: per_page

          Default: 100

          Document Log Listing API

          You can also get a list of all previously attempted document creations. The returned data here includes information about document creation success and failure, any errors that were encountered, and information about generation time. The information is returned as XML or JSON in a paginated list, ordered by date of creation (most recent first).


          You can make a GET request against either:

          • (or .xml)
          • (or .xml)


          The following are the parameters that DocRaptor expects when you request the doc log listing.


          Specifies the page (in terms of pagination) of documents to return

          Name: page

          Default: 1

          Per Page

          Specifies the number of documents per page (in terms of pagination) to return

          Name: per_page

          Default: 100

          Search Start

          Specifies the start date of the search range for returning doc log entries.

          Name: search[start]

          Default: 1 month ago

          Search End

          Specifies the end date of the search range for returning doc log entries.

          Name: search[end]

          Default: The current date