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Peter Bromberg's .NET Blog All Things Programming

An Easy Way to Render HTML From an ASP.NET UserControl

20. March 2013 09:59 by admin in

Often we need to call RenderControl on a UserControl to get the rendered HTML and be able to pass it to a PDF or Report generator. This can be problematic because you will get exceptions saying that the control must be within a FORM tag with runat=server. Also, If there are any AJAX script - related controls such as TextBoxExtenders, you will be warned that a ScriptManager is required. Here is an easy way to avoid these issues and get back "clean" HTML:

public static string RenderUserControl(Control ctrl)


Control control = null;

const string STR_BeginRenderControlBlock = "";

const string STR_EndRenderControlBlock = "";

StringWriter tw = new StringWriter();

Page page = new Page();

page.EnableViewState = false;

HtmlForm form = new HtmlForm();

form.ID = "__temporanyForm";


form.Controls.Add(new LiteralControl(STR_BeginRenderControlBlock));

// add a ScriptManager to prevent Ajax Extender control exceptions

ScriptManager m = new ScriptManager();



form.Controls.Add(new LiteralControl(STR_EndRenderControlBlock));

HttpContext.Current.Server.Execute(page, tw, true);

string Html = tw.ToString();

int start = Html.IndexOf("");

int end = Html.Length - start;

Html = Html.Substring(start, end);

// return the rendered HTTML and send it into the PDF generator

return Html;


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