Java Servlet example to generate PDF using iText

iText is a free and open source library for creating and manipulating PDF files in Java. In this tutorial we are going to learn how to generate a PDF document using Java Servlet and iText. The basic idea here is to create an instance of the PdfWriter using the OutputStream of the HttpServletResponse object. Please download ( and specify iText jar file in your project classpath.

This example covers the follwing topics
  • Dynamically generate PDF from Java Servlet with data from MySQL database
  • Specify document properties such as Author, Title, Creation Date, Page Size, etc.
  • Create Text with various font size and style
  • Create a Paragraph
  • Create anchor and anchor reference
  • Create a multiple page document
Java Servlet example to generate PDF using iText
Java Servlet example to generate PDF anchor using iText
package com.as400samplecode;

import java.sql.Connection;
import java.sql.PreparedStatement;
import java.sql.ResultSet;

import javax.naming.Context;
import javax.naming.InitialContext;
import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.ServletOutputStream;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import javax.sql.DataSource;

import com.itextpdf.text.Anchor;
import com.itextpdf.text.BaseColor;
import com.itextpdf.text.Chunk;
import com.itextpdf.text.Document;
import com.itextpdf.text.DocumentException;
import com.itextpdf.text.Font;
import com.itextpdf.text.Font.FontFamily;
import com.itextpdf.text.PageSize;
import com.itextpdf.text.Paragraph;
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfWriter;

public class GeneratePDF extends HttpServlet {
 private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;

 public GeneratePDF() {

 protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
  doPost(request, response);

 protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {

  //get the output stream for writing binary data in the response.
  ServletOutputStream os = response.getOutputStream();
  //set the response content type to PDF
  //create a new document
  Document doc = new Document();

  //create some special styles and font sizes
  Font bfBold18 = new Font(FontFamily.TIMES_ROMAN, 18, Font.BOLD, new BaseColor(0, 0, 0)); 
  Font bfBold12 = new Font(FontFamily.TIMES_ROMAN, 12, Font.BOLDITALIC, new BaseColor(0, 0, 0)); 
  Font bf12 = new Font(FontFamily.TIMES_ROMAN, 12); 

  Connection conn = null;             
  PreparedStatement stmt = null;      
  String sql = null;

   //create an instance of the PdfWriter using the output stream
   PdfWriter.getInstance(doc, os); 

   //document header properties

   //add a new paragraph
   doc.add( new Paragraph("List of Countries...", bfBold18));
   //connection to the MySQL database
   Context ctx = (Context) new InitialContext().lookup("java:comp/env");
   conn = ((DataSource) ctx.lookup("jdbc/mysql")).getConnection(); 

   //just get 10 countries from my database for demo
   sql = "Select * from country where name >= 'C' order by name,code LIMIT 0,10"; 
   stmt = conn.prepareStatement(sql);

   ResultSet rs = stmt.executeQuery();  
    //create an anchor reference
    Anchor anchor = new Anchor(rs.getString("name").trim(),bfBold12);
    anchor.setReference("#" + rs.getString("code").trim());
    //add the anchor to the document
    //add an empty line
    doc.add( Chunk.NEWLINE );
   // Move cursor to the first row

    //start a new page here
    //create a new paragraph for each country
    Paragraph countryParagraph = new Paragraph();
    //create an anchor
    Anchor anchor = new Anchor(rs.getString("name"), bfBold18);
    //add the anchor to the paragraph
    //add the paragraph to the document
    //add some detail information about the country
    doc.add( new Paragraph("Country Code: " + rs.getString("code").trim(), bf12));
    doc.add( new Paragraph("Continent: " + rs.getString("continent").trim(), bf12));
    doc.add( new Paragraph("Region: " + rs.getString("region").trim(), bf12));
    doc.add( new Paragraph("Life Expectancy: " + rs.getString("lifeExpectancy").trim(), bf12));
    doc.add( new Paragraph("GNP: " + rs.getString("gnp").trim(), bf12));

   stmt = null;                                                               

   conn = null;                                                    


  }catch(DocumentException e){
  catch(Exception e){



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