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PHP Create PDF file on fly With PDFlib

This tutorial demos how to create a PDF file on fly with PDFlib.

The PDF ( portable document format) file is an versatile format for transferring a document over the Internet. Many companies use the PDF format to transfer contracts, manuals, and other documents over the Internet without trying to convert them to HTML or changing the format of the document in any way.

This code will be useful if you were considering creating invoices, reports or any other hardcopy file for your client.

Testing PDFlib installation

This tutorial needs PdfLib properly installed. PDFlib is available for download at, but requires that you purchase a license for commercial use.

First, you need test if your PHP supports PDFlib or not. Copy the following code to a file (phpinfo.php) and save it in your web root. Then launch it like : http://your-web-site/phpinfo.php.


If your PHP supports PDFlib, you will see an section looks like the following::

PDF Support: enabled
PDFlib Gmbh Version: 5.0.3
Revision: $Revision: $

Get input from Client

We will put client input into our PDF dynamically. Use the following code to get client input.

<title>Name Entry Level</title>
<form method="POST" action="pdfdemo.php">

Enter your text here please =>
<input type="text" name="input" size="20" maxlength="20">

<input type="submit" value="Submit" name="submit">
<input type="reset" value="Reset" name="reset">


Create PDF with CPDF

We use the following code to create PDF. Save the following code as cpdfdemo.php.


$mytext=$_POST[' input'];

$pdf = pdf_new();

pdf_begin_page($pdf, 595, 842);
pdf_set_font($pdf, "Times-Roman", 30, "host");
pdf_set_value($pdf, "textrendering", 1);
pdf_show_xy($pdf, $mytext, 50, 750);

$data = pdf_get_buffer($pdf);

header("Content-type: application/pdf");
header("Content-disposition: inline; filename=test.pdf");
header("Content-length: " . strlen($data));

echo $data;

$_POST['xxx'] gets parameters from client.

pdf_new(); creates a PDF file.

pdf_open_file($pdf) open a PDF file in memory.

pdf_begin_page sets PDF sizes: A4 is 595 x 842, Letter is 612 x 792 and Legal is 612 x 1008.

pdf_get_buffer reads PDF file into buffer.

pdf_show_xy writes text to a specified location, x=50, y=750 in this example.

header("Content-type: application/pdf") tells the brower there is a PDF file.



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