AWS Lambda PDF Generator

· 485 words · 3 minutes read

This is an example of how to convert HTML code into a PDF using AWS’ Lambda service and S3 Triggers. So that once a HTML file is upload to S3 it will automatically be converted into a PDF which should appear in the same bucket shortly after - all using a serverless function.

To do this, other than the standard library, we’re using a Go wkhtmltopdf library and the Go AWS sdk. The wkhtmltopdf Go libaray is a wrapper to the binary file - which will need to be included in our final zip file that we upload to lambda.

package main

import (


var sess *session.Session

func init() {
    // Let wkhtmltopdf where to find our bin file (in the zip)
    os.Setenv("WKHTMLTOPDF_PATH", os.Getenv("LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT"))
    // Setup AWS S3 Session (build once use every function)
    sess = session.Must(session.NewSession(&aws.Config{
        Region: aws.String("eu-west-1"),

func main() {
    // Start() is when Lambda will connect and start running functions.
    // Everything before this is setup, and anything after won't be run.

func LambdaHandler(ctx context.Context, s3Event events.S3Event) {
    for _, record := range s3Event.Records {
            "[%s - %s] Bucket = %s, Key = %s \n",
        err := ProcessFile(record)
        if err != nil {

// ProcessFile handles a single S3 event, this will do the conversion from HTML
// to PDF for a single file only and write it back to it's origin.
func ProcessFile(record events.S3EventRecord) error {
    s3Item := record.S3

    // Get the HTML file from S3
    obj, err := s3.New(sess).GetObject(&s3.GetObjectInput{
        Bucket: &s3Item.Bucket.Name,
        Key:    &s3Item.Object.Key,
    defer obj.Body.Close()

    pdfBytes, err := GeneratePDF(obj.Body)
    if err != nil {
        return err

    // Replace .html filename with .pdf
    newKey := strings.Replace(s3Item.Object.Key, ".html", ".pdf", -1)
    fmt.Println("Rename to: " + newKey)

    // Put the PDF back onto S3
    fmt.Println("Save File to: " + s3Item.Bucket.Name)
    _, err = s3.New(sess).PutObject(&s3.PutObjectInput{
        Bucket: &s3Item.Bucket.Name,
        Key:    &newKey,
        Body:   bytes.NewReader(pdfBytes),
    return err

// GeneratePDF converts the file body from S3 into a PDF as a byte array to
// write back to S3.
func GeneratePDF(s3Obj io.Reader) ([]byte, error) {

    pdfg, err := wkhtmltopdf.NewPDFGenerator()
    if err != nil {
        return nil, err

    // Pass S3 Object body (as reader) directly into wkhtmltopdf

    // Create PDF document in internal buffer
    if err := pdfg.Create(); err != nil {
        return nil, err

    // Return PDF as bytes array
    return pdfg.Bytes(), nil

For this to work, you’ll need to:

  • Name the code above go-pdf-lambda.go and run go build go-pdf-lambda.go to make the binary file.
  • Set your Lambda root Handler to the go binary filename (go-pdf-lambda in our example)
  • Give your lambda function/role read & write permissions to S3 (through IAM)
  • Include a copy of wkhtmltopdf along with your lambda file inside the zip (download here)

How the zip file should look:

Image of Author Edd Turtle

Author:  Edd Turtle

Edd is the Lead Developer at Hoowla, a prop-tech startup, where he spends much of his time working on production-ready Go and PHP code. He loves coding, but also enjoys cycling and camping in his spare time.

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