Prince vs Pressbooks mPDF. Are there diferences?


Are diferences? or the final product will be almost the same?


Prince is an elegant and advanced PDF rendering engine, used by commercial publishers such as Hachette. All Pressbooks PDF themes are built to style Prince PDF exports.

mPDF is a less-powerful utility that we don’t actively support, and no Pressbooks themes have been built to style mPDF outputs.

Using Prince, you will get professional-looking, typeset PDFs, designed per the theme, ready to go to a Print on Demand service, or offset printer.

Using mPDF you will get (as far as I know) a basic PDF output that is readable, but not styled as a printable book, and without any change from one PB template to the next.


Being able to print to PDF is one of the more important features of Pressbooks for our stakeholders.

Is there a comparison anywhere of mPDF and Prince?

I’d like to have a quality export that can compare to what Prince sounds like it does, but an open source option instead.

Have other Pressbooks adopters found a way to improve the output of mPDF? Or are they all on the licensing train with Prince?

Theme Options? What happened?

I am the maintainer for the mPDF plugin, though it would be accurate to categorize my maintenance efforts as neglectful. There is much that could be improved with the plugin, including updating the mPDF class to the latest version and attending to the outstanding issues - I wish I the bandwidth so we could compare the latest version of Prince to the latest version of a well maintained plugin.


If I had the technical skills, I’d help out. Sadly, I don’t.

Thanks for the work you’ve done so far on the plugin @brad.


Now, we are working with the metadata for PB. Afther that I hope the next work in PB from our team will be to make better how looks like the PDF afther the exportation from mPDF.

Maybe prince looks like better, but maybe with a litle of work, mPDF is not so bad after all. For me is cheaper to spend some hours of work making better how mPDF pdf´s looks like than pay for prince.

(Our team have not too much experience with wordpress, that´s why we preffer to work just with easy tasks, I believe we could make better the export experience with the CSS and some new setting but not to update and make better the plugin itself)


@wmeinke, I initially used the mPDF option when we first installed Pressbooks as a test instance on some local servers. I did put in the needed $ for a Prince license in the first successful grant we wrote for OER, and encouraged Unizin to purchase a server license for Prince when they agreed to host Pressbooks for us, so we’re no longer using the mPDF option.


@SteelWagstaff can you send me a copy of one page with prince? And i will copy and paste in mine and i will export with mPDF. I would like to see differences, to see if it is worth it.

If we did edit css in mPDF , will be never good enough?


@colomet, it’d probably be a more useful comparison if we were both working with the same content and the same theme. Do you have some specific content that you’d like to compare outputs for?


@SteelWagstaff, I did send you 3 pages on Slack. Thanks in advance


Examples of a page with Prince and mPDF:




We’ve got a sprint planned for next week to breath some life back into the mPDF plugin. If you have any outstanding issues, bugs, or feature requests please add them to the queue before Monday