How to generate PDFs?

Generating PDFs in PHP is a common requirement for various web applications, such as creating invoices, reports, or printable documents. To generate PDFs in PHP, you can use libraries like TCPDF, FPDF, or Dompdf, which provide convenient methods for creating PDF files. Here’s a general guide on how to generate PDFs in PHP using the TCPDF library as an example:


  1. Install TCPDF: Start by downloading the TCPDF library ( or installing it via Composer, a popular PHP package manager.
composer require tecnickcom/tcpdf
  1. Create a PHP Script: Write a PHP script that includes the TCPDF library and sets up a PDF document.

$pdf = new TCPDF();
$pdf->SetCreator('Your Name');
$pdf->SetAuthor('Your Name');
$pdf->SetTitle('PDF Title');
$pdf->SetSubject('PDF Subject');
$pdf->SetKeywords('PDF, example, tutorial');
$pdf->SetAutoPageBreak(TRUE, PDF_MARGIN_BOTTOM);
  1. Add Content Use TCPDF’s methods to add content to your PDF, including text, images, and tables.
$pdf->SetFont('dejavusans', '', 12);
$pdf->Cell(0, 10, 'Hello, World!', 0, 1, 'C');


  1. Output the PDF: After adding content, you can save the PDF to a file or send it as a response to a web browser.
$pdf->Output('example.pdf', 'I'); // 'I' sends the PDF to the browser

This will display the PDF in the user’s browser for viewing or downloading.


  1. Customize Styles: You can customize fonts, colors, margins, and other styles to match your specific PDF design.


TCPDF offers extensive documentation and examples to help you generate complex PDFs. Other libraries like FPDF and Dompdf have similar workflows, but with their own features and capabilities. Choose the one that best suits your project’s requirements.


Generating PDFs in PHP is a powerful feature that allows you to create dynamic and customized documents, reports, and forms, enhancing the functionality and usability of your web applications.

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Full Stack Engineer with extensive experience in PHP development. Over 11 years of experience working with PHP, creating innovative solutions for various web applications and platforms.