Sending PowerShell Results to PDF (Part 3)

by Dec 24, 2018

In the previous tip we explained how you can use PowerShell on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 to set up a PDF printer that prints anything to a PDF file, of course unattended. To make it really useful, let’s wrap it into a function called Out-PDFFile. Anything you pipe to this new command is turned into a PDF file.

Important: for this function to work, you must have set up the printer “PrintPDFUnattended” as instructed in the previous tip!

Here is the Out-PDFFile function:

function Out-PDFFile { param ( $Path = "$env:temp\results.pdf", [Switch] $Open ) # check to see whether the PDF printer was set up correctly  $printerName = "PrintPDFUnattended" $printer = Get-Printer -Name $printerName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue if (!$?) { Write-Warning "Printer $printerName does not exist." Write-Warning "Make sure you have created this printer (see previous tips)!" return } # this is the file the print driver always prints to  $TempPDF = $printer.PortName # is the printer set up correctly and the port name is the output file path?  if ($TempPDF -notlike '?:\*') { Write-Warning "Printer $printerName is not set up correctly." Write-Warning "Make sure you have created this printer as instructed (see previous tips)!" return } # make sure old print results are removed  $exists = Test-Path -Path $TempPDF if ($exists) { Remove-Item -Path $TempPDF -Force } # send anything that is piped to this function to PDF  $input | Out-Printer -Name $printerName # wait for the print job to be completed, then move file  $ok = $false do { Start-Sleep -Milliseconds 500 Write-Host '.' -NoNewline $fileExists = Test-Path -Path $TempPDF if ($fileExists) { try { Move-Item -Path $TempPDF -Destination $Path -Force -ea Stop $ok = $true } catch { # file is still in use, cannot move  # try again  } } } until ( $ok ) Write-Host # open file if requested  if ($Open) { Invoke-Item -Path $Path } } 

Now it’s trivial to pipe results to a PDF file:

 PS> Get-Service | Out-PDFFile -Path $home\desktop\services.pdf -Open PS> Get-ComputerInfo | Out-PDFFile -Path $home\Desktop\computerinfo.pdf -Open 

Voilá. That was easy!

Note that we deliberately chose to create a “Simple Function”. This way, all piped input is available in the $Input automatic variable. If you start adding attributes to the parameters, i.e. to make the -Path parameter mandatory, you turn the code into an “Advanced Function”, and $input no longer exists. We’ll look into this tomorrow. – PowerShell Conference EU 2019 – June 4-7, Hannover Germany – visit There aren’t too many trainings around for experienced PowerShell scripters where you really still learn something new. But there’s one place you don’t want to miss: PowerShell Conference EU – with 40 renown international speakers including PowerShell team members and MVPs, plus 350 professional and creative PowerShell scripters. Registration is open at, and the full 3-track 4-days agenda becomes available soon. Once a year it’s just a smart move to come together, update know-how, learn about security and mitigations, and bring home fresh ideas and authoritative guidance. We’d sure love to see and hear from you!

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