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Abstract: There are .MD Files that cover a specific topic in a good format for our collaboration platform and we are all used to write and read them. Our customers need this information in a similar fashion, but we want to add our logo and corporate footer, table of contents and such things. We want to send it as PDF.

Currently we open an MS-Word Template and copy-paste the HTML that gets displayed from the MD editor (e.g. stackedit.io) into it and then polish it and make sure everything looks good and keeps to the CI (fonts, etc.).

We want to optimize that process. We are flexible when it comes to the template, MS Word is not a requirement. But we should be able to modify it relatively easy (so we don't want to learn LaTeX first).

A big plus would be if the solution can be run automatically so that I can add a trigger to our version control system and automatically generate the PDF whenever one of the MDs was changed.

If some scripting is required for the solution, that is fine but I will not write and maintain a new program for it, so just a library is not sufficient.

Payment: This is a business process and as such commercial solutions are acceptable.

Operating System: Windows 10, Linux, BSD, OSX are all fine. SaaS / Cloud is fine. For cloud solutions or similar, they and their servers need to be located in the EU/EWG because of data protection agreements we have with our customers.

GUI is not required but would be nice for the template design.

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    I'm using Pandoc for that. You can define an ODT Template, and out comes a LibreOffice document (in my case) – certainly it also handles PDF (not tried that directly, hence just a comment as pointer). If that doesn't suffice, you could also take a look at PrinceXML – which I use egto generate PDFs for my books from HTML. That's highly flexible. The free version has a small watermark, just try it out – and if it fits, you can buy licenses to get rid of the watermark. Prince is available for Linux, Mac, Windows and BSD :) – Izzy Nov 20 '20 at 15:29
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You could eliminate the MS Word step by directly printing from the MD viewer or editor to a PDF printer such as LEADTOOLS ePrint. (Disclosure: I'm a LEADTOOLS employee).

This also gives you the ability to produce bookmarks similar to a table-of-contents, which I tested as follows:

  1. Print from the preview pane of a markdown editor like this:
    MarkdownTest-Print

  2. Then use the Enhanced PDF Options of ePrint to produce content-based bookmarks, based on headings:
    MarkdownTest-Bookmarks

The resulting PDF looks like this:
MarkdownTest-Output

The process of saving PDF and producing bookmarks can be automated using the Task Printers feature of ePrint.

Also, if you have a Markdown viewer that supports automated printing (for example through command-line arguments), you could automate the whole thing because once you define the settings for one or more LEADTOOLS ePrint task printers, you can use them to print silently without displaying any dialog boxes.

You can try yourself using the free evaluation edition of ePrint from this page.

ePrint lets you design overlays that contain images (e.g. logos), headers and footers (page number, date, etc.). An overlay can be added to specific print job, or to a task printer to add onto every page sent to that particular printer. Different task printers can use same or different overlays. Overlays are designed using the ePrint Workstation application as explained in the Stationery/Overlays Toolbar help topic. Email support is free, so feel free to download, try and ask during evaluation.

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  • How would I add the layout elements (logo, corporate footer, etc.)? The .MD file doesn't have them, the .MD viewer does not know of "pages" so can't have a "footer", etc. Where could I add such things in this setup? – Angelo Fuchs Dec 9 '20 at 20:01
  • ePrint lets you design overlays that contain images (e.g. logos), headers and footers (page number, date, etc.). An overlay can be added to specific print job, or to a task printer to add onto every page sent to that particular printer. Different task printers can use same or different overlays. Overlays are designed using the ePrint Workstation application as explained in the Stationery/Overlays Toolbar help topic. Email support is free, so feel free to download, try and ask during evaluation. – Amin M. Dodin Dec 12 '20 at 5:44

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