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How to make Cyrillic characters display properly when converting HTML to PDF?

I have a problem with PDF fonts. I am generating PDF from HTML and that worked fine on my local machine, which has Windows as OS. But now I deploy my application on a Linux server and my Cyrillic text is displayed as question marks.

I have a problem with PDF fonts. I am generating PDF from HTML and that worked fine on my local machine, which has Windows as OS. But now I deploy my application on a Linux server and my Cyrillic text is displayed as question marks.

This is my code:

Document document = new Document(PageSize.A4);
String myFontsDir = "C:\\";
String filePath = AppProperties.downloadLocation + "Order_" + orderID + ".pdf";
try {
    OutputStream file = new FileOutputStream(new File(filePath));
    PdfWriter writer = PdfWriter.getInstance(document, file);
    int iResult = FontFactory.registerDirectory(myFontsDir);
    if (iResult == 0) {
        System.out.println("TestPDF(): Could not register font directory " + myFontsDir);
    } else {
        System.out.println("TestPDF(): Registered font directory " + myFontsDir);
    String htmlContent = "<html><head>"
        + "<meta http-equiv=\"content-type\" content=\"application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8\"/>"
        + "</head><body>"
        + "<h4 style=\"font-family: arialuni, arial; font-size:16px; font-weight: normal; \" >"
        + "Здраво Kristijan!"
        + "</h4></body></html>";
    InputStream inf = new ByteArrayInputStream(htmlContent.getBytes("UTF-8"));
    XMLWorkerFontProvider fontImp = new XMLWorkerFontProvider(myFontsDir);
    XMLWorkerHelper.getInstance().parseXHtml(writer, document, inf, null, null, fontImp);
} catch (Exception e) {

with this piece of code, I am able to generate proper PDF documents in Latin text, but Cyrillic is displayed with weird characters. This happens on Windows, I haven't yet test it on Linux. Any advice for encoding or font?

Posted on StackOverflow on Jun 17, 2015 by chris


First this: it is very hard to believe that your font directory is C:\\. You are assuming that you have a file with path C:\\arialuni.ttf whereas I assume that the path to MS Arial Unicode is C:\\windows\fonts\arialuni.ttf. Also: make sure that the path is correct when you deploy on Linux.

Secondly: I don't think arialuni is the correct name. I'm pretty sure it's arial unicode ms. You can check this by running this code:

XMLWorkerFontProvider fontProvider = new XMLWorkerFontProvider(XMLWorkerFontProvider.DONTLOOKFORFONTS);
for (String s : fontProvider.getRegisteredFamilies()) {

The output should be:

arial unicode ms

These are the values you can use; arialuni isn't one of them.

Also: aren't you defining the character set in the wrong place?

I have slightly adapted your source code in the sense that I stored the HTML in an HTML file:

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8"/>
<h4 style="font-family: Arial Unicode MS, FreeSans; font-size:16px; font-weight: normal; " >Здраво Kristijan!</h4>

Note that I replaced arialuni with Arial Unicode MS and that I used FreeSans as an alternative font. In my code, I used FreeSans.ttf instead of arialttf.


public static final String DEST = "results/xmlworker/cyrillic.pdf";
public static final String HTML = "resources/xml/cyrillic.html";
public static final String FONT = "resources/fonts/FreeSans.ttf";
public void createPdf(String file) throws IOException, DocumentException {
    // step 1
    Document document = new Document();
    // step 2
    PdfWriter writer = PdfWriter.getInstance(document, new FileOutputStream(file));
    // step 3;
    // step 4
    XMLWorkerFontProvider fontImp = new XMLWorkerFontProvider(XMLWorkerFontProvider.DONTLOOKFORFONTS);
    XMLWorkerHelper.getInstance().parseXHtml(writer, document,
            new FileInputStream(HTML), null, Charset.forName("UTF-8"), fontImp);
    // step 5


As you can see, I use the Charset when parsing the HTML. The result looks like this:

Cyrillic using FreeSans

If you insist on using Arial Unicode, just replace this line:

public static final String FONT = "resources/fonts/FreeSans.ttf";

With this one:

public static final String FONT = "c:/windows/fonts/arialuni.ttf";

I have tested this on a Windows machine and it works too:

Cyrillic using Arial


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