Outputting PDFs with your own fonts from your Django application

Do you use reportlab for creating PDF files from your Django application, as instructed in Outputting PDFs with Django?
Do you wish to add your own font files?
Do you need to render Hebrew text?

If yes, the following information will help you.

When installed in a virtualenv, as recommended by good working practices, reportlab searches for font files it uses in your virtualenv/lib/python3.x/site-packages/reportlab/fonts and it is not good idea to add your own font files there.

Instead, add your font files to your_project_root_directory/reportlab_extra_fonts where your_project_root_directory is where your project’s manage.py is located. Add the following to any Python script that uses reportlab (usually views.py), after all regular reportlab import and configuration statements.
# The following configures extra reportlab fonts.
import os
from django.conf import settings
reportlab.rl_config.TTFSearchPath.append(os.path.join(settings.BASE_DIR, 'reportlab_extra_fonts'))
from reportlab.pdfbase import pdfmetrics
from reportlab.pdfbase.ttfonts import TTFont
HEBREW_FONT_NAME = 'your_font_name'
pdfmetrics.registerFont(TTFont(HEBREW_FONT_NAME, 'your_font_file_name.ttf'))
# The above configures extra reportlab fonts.

If you want to properly display Hebrew in your PDF file (the probable reason why you needed to add your own fonts in the first place), you need to convert the text yourself from logical ordering to visual ordering, because reportlab (as of version 3.4.0) does not currently process BiDi text. For this purpose, install the python-bidi package in your virtualenv (using pip install python-bidi) and add the following import statement to your views.py script:
from bidi.algorithm import get_display
Now, get_display() will reorder your BiDi text.

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.

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