Dave's Notebook

iTextSharp – HTML to PDF – Positioning Text

The next series of things I’m going to introduce about using iTextSharp are all going to lead toward taking HTML text and placing it on the PDF document.

There are several items we need to cover before we even get to the part about converting the text from HTML to PDF text. The first is placing the text on the document where it is supposed to be.

Once again, we are building on previous articles about using iTextSharp. So if you are just jumping in, you might want to go take a look at the other articles. You can find a list at the bottom of this post.

To place a block of text on the screen that is going to have multiple formats in it (bold, underline, etc) I use the ColumnText class. This allows me to specify the rectangle or, if I want, some irregular shape, to place the text in. I handle determining where this rectangle is on the page in the same way that I determine where an image should go. I have the designer place a form field on the screen and then I use that to get my coordinates.

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float[] fieldPosition = null;
fieldPosition =
fields.GetFieldPositions("fieldNameInThePDF");
left = fieldPosition[1];
right = fieldPosition[3];
top = fieldPosition[4];
bottom = fieldPosition[2];
if (rotation == 90)
{
left = fieldPosition[2];
right = fieldPosition[4];
top = pageSize.Right - fieldPosition[1];
bottom = pageSize.Right - fieldPosition[3];
}

Once I have the position, the next thing I need to do is to create my ColumnText object. This requires the same ContentByte object that we used for the images.

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PdfContentByte over = stamp.GetOverContent(1);
ColumnText ct = new ColumnText(over);

And now I can set the rectangle to print into.

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ct.SetSimpleColumn(left, bottom, right, top,
15, Element.ALIGN_LEFT);

The 15 represents the leading you want (space between characters vertically). You may need to adjust that number.

Once you have your rectangle, you can add paragraphs to it. Paragraphs are composed of smaller units called chunks that can be formatted. If you want a paragraph that is all formatted the same you can make a call that looks like this.

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Paragraph p = new Paragraph(
new Chunk("Some Text here",
FontFactory.GetFont(
"Arial", 14, Font.BOLD, Color.RED)));

and then add the paragraph to your rectangle

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ct.AddElement(p);

iTextSharp – The easy way

iTextSharp The Easy Way When I first started generating PDFs dynamically, I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the API. Not just with iTextSharp, but it seemed that all of the APIs were complex. In looking through the API and comparing it to what I was actually trying to accomplish, I found there was a very small subset of classes and methods that I needed to use to accomplish the task at hand. Now that I’ve learned more, I still use this same subset of commands for 90% of what I need to do in iTextSharp. The reason we produce PDFs programmatically at all is because we need to dynamically generate some information on the page. Most of the time, this information comes out of a database and gets placed on the same location of the page each time the page is generated. The rest of the information is static. So what I normally do is have my designer or project manager create a PDF for me with form fields located where he wants the information to go. Using the form fields, he can define the font, size, color, and position he wants to display the text with. All I have to worry about is getting the text into the field. This works out nicely because once I’ve filled in the forms, he can move them around until he’s happy with them without asking for my help. We’ve already covered setting the MIME type information in our first post, so the rest of this discussion will assume you’ve already done that. The next thing you’ll want to do is load the PDF document that has the form fields in it and create a stamper object. The stamper is what we use to grab the form fields object which we will use to set the form field values.

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PDFs Using iTextSharp

iStock_000002747386Medium There are several libraries on the market now that allow you to create PDF documents from your .NET applications. The one I’ve chosen to use is extSharp, an open source library that is a port of the open source library for Java, iText.

While there are several sites on the Internet that provide examples of how to use iText, I’ve found that the documentation for iTextSharp is a little harder to come by. So I thought it might be helpful if I provided some posts on how I use iTextSharp along with some of the gotchas I’ve encountered along the way.

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C# “” better than string.Empty?

arct-013I recently read an article that argued that “” is “Better than String.Empty”

The argument is that since string.Empty doesn’t work in all situations, we should not use it at all. He further argues that since the compiler can’t optimize code using string.Empty, the performance gains we might lose due to our lack of this optimization further supports the argument that we should not use it at all.

But at what price?

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VB.NET - Char from String with Option Strict

G04B0079 So here’s the question:

I’m using String.Split() and need to pass in a Char or a Char array as the parameter. If I pass in a string String.Split(“/“) I get an error “Option Strict On disallows implicit conversions from ‘String’ to ‘Char’.”

Obviously, the easiest way to fix this would be to turn off Option Strict, but I would prefer to keep it on. So how do I pass in the Char instead of a String in this situation?”

There are actually several ways to accomplish what you are trying to do.

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