PDF Editing in PHP?


Does anyone know of a good method for editing PDFs in PHP? Preferably open-source/zero-license cost methods. :)

I am thinking along the lines of opening a PDF file, replacing text in the PDF and then writing out the modified version of the PDF?

I have programmatically created PDF files in the past using FPDF, but found it a little unwieldy at times.

8/10/2008 9:58:24 PM

Accepted Answer

If you are taking a 'fill in the blank' approach, you can precisely position text anywhere you want on the page. So it's relatively easy (if not a bit tedious) to add the missing text to the document. For example with Zend Framework:

require_once 'Zend/Pdf.php';

$pdf = Zend_Pdf::load('blank.pdf');
$page = $pdf->pages[0];
$font = Zend_Pdf_Font::fontWithName(Zend_Pdf_Font::FONT_HELVETICA);
$page->setFont($font, 12);
$page->drawText('Hello world!', 72, 720);

If you're trying to replace inline content, such as a "[placeholder string]," it gets much more complicated. While it's technically possible to do, you're likely to mess up the layout of the page.

A PDF document is comprised of a set of primitive drawing operations: line here, image here, text chunk there, etc. It does not contain any information about the layout intent of those primitives.

8/11/2008 12:54:22 AM

There is a free and easy to use PDF class to create PDF documents. It's called FPDF. In combination with FPDI (http://www.setasign.de/products/pdf-php-solutions/fpdi) it is even possible to edit PDF documents. The following code shows how to use FPDF and FPDI to fill an existing gift coupon with the user data.

$pdf = new FPDI();


// import page 1 
$tplIdx = $this->pdf->importPage(1); 
//use the imported page and place it at point 0,0; calculate width and height
//automaticallay and ajust the page size to the size of the imported page 
$this->pdf->useTemplate($tplIdx, 0, 0, 0, 0, true); 

// now write some text above the imported page 
$this->pdf->SetFont('Arial', '', '13'); 
//set position in pdf document
$this->pdf->SetXY(20, 20);
//first parameter defines the line height
$this->pdf->Write(0, 'gift code');
//force the browser to download the output
$this->pdf->Output('gift_coupon_generated.pdf', 'D');

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