Reportlab – generating and downloading pdf in Flask without creating the file on the server

Solved problem: how to generate pdf with order data and reservation barcode without saving the file on disk, which can then be downloaded by the website user in Flask.

We can use the Canvas object to embed document elements such as texts, tables, etc. As an argument we can give the name of the created pdf, but in this case I will use the buffer instead of creating the file on the server. I’m explicitly entering the page size as A4.

from io import BytesIO
from reportlab.pdfgen.canvas import Canvas
from reportlab.lib.pagesizes import A4

buffer = BytesIO()
canvas = Canvas(buffer, pagesize=A4)

To use non-standard characters, register the appropriate fonts that support the required characters. In the sample pdf file, I used the Vera font.

from reportlab.pdfbase import pdfmetrics
from reportlab.pdfbase.ttfonts import TTFont

pdfmetrics.registerFont(TTFont('Vera', 'Vera.ttf'))

The registered font can now be used:

canvas.setFont("Vera", size=10)

I place the images (in this case, the reservation barcode) generated on the basis of the data from the application in the document being created using the drawImage () method, which takes the ImageReader object as the first argument, i.e.

im = ImageReader(image)
canvas.drawImage(im, x=0, y=-5*cm, width=150, height=100)

A list of text strings can be added to a document using a text object, i.e.

txt_obj = canvas.beginText(14, -6.5 * cm)
txt_lst = ["line of text 1", "line of text 2", "line of text 3"]
for line in txt_lst:
        txt_obj.moveCursor(0, 16)

A table can be added to a document as a Table class object. I separately define a list containing the data of individual table rows (table_data variable). I also define styles that are valid for all or part of the table.

t = Table(table_data, colWidths=[60, 230, 70, 60, 50], rowHeights=30)
style = [('BACKGROUND',(0,0),(-1,-2),colors.lightblue),
            ('BOX', (0,0), (-1,-1), 0.25,,
            ('INNERGRID', (0,0), (-1,-1), 0.25,,
            ('FONTSIZE', (0,0), (-1,-1), 10),
            ('ALIGN', (0, 0), (-1, -1), 'CENTER'),
            ('VALIGN', (0, 0), (-1, -1), 'MIDDLE')]
t.wrapOn(canvas, 10, 10)
    t.drawOn(canvas=canvas, x=20, y=-22*cm)

Then I save the created Canvas object and return the resulting buffer to the controller. In order to send a pdf file based on data from the buffer, I use the send_file () Flask function:

from flask.helpers import send_file

@bp.route('/get-pdf/<int:id>', methods=['GET'])
def get_pdf(id):
    contract = Contract.query.get(id)
    contractor = User.query.get(contract.contractor_id)
    booking = Booking.query.filter_by(
    pdf = create_pdf(,
    return send_file(pdf, as_attachment=True, mimetype='application/pdf',
        attachment_filename='booking.pdf', cache_timeout=0)
sample file generated on the server side, downloaded by the contractor.