AWS Lambda PDF Generator

· 540 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 library 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() {
    // Tell 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",
        if err := ProcessFile(record); 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,
    if err != nil {
        return err
    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.
  • Include a copy of wkhtmltopdf along with your lambda file inside the zip (download directly from here or from their download page).
  • Make sure wkhtmltopdf is set to executable with chmod +x wkhtmltopdf.

And on AWS:

  • The lambda function name doesn't matter, but it will need to be set to the Go 1.x runtime.
  • Set your Lambda root Handler to the go binary filename (go-pdf-lambda in our example)
  • Add an S3 trigger on all create events.
  • Give your lambda function/role read & write permissions to S3 (through IAM).

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.

See something which isn't right? You can contribute to this page on GitHub or just let us know in the comments below - Thanks for reading!