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Fill Out PDF Forms with PHP and PDFtk

How to Fill Out PDF Forms with PHP and PDFtk?

By Pooja Sharma / December 13, 2021

December 14, 2021
How to Fill Out PDF Forms with PHP and PDFtk?

Today PDF files have become one of the most common methods of sharing documents online. Using a PDF document is often the foremost option whether you need to provide your clients’ documents to third-party service providers like insurance companies or banks, or simply need to send a CV to an employer. Working with PDF files allows you to share plain as well as formatted text, hyperlinks, images, and even different fillable forms that you need.

In this blog, we will be understanding that how one can fill out PDF forms using PHP and a tremendous PDF manipulation tool known as PDFtk Server. Here we will be demonstrating how one can work dynamically by adding data in PDF form through Html forms.

A fillable PDF is a PDF document that contains some fields that are editable without PDF editor software. To fill the fillable PDF dynamically one has to create an HTML form and dynamically bind it. To accomplish this, we will create a PHP script.

Below are the following step and some software & library to fill fillable PDF.

Prerequisites:

Step 1) Go to the above PDFtk server Link and install the PDFtk server according to your operating system.

After installing the software open the command prompt and run Command:

Step 2) Create a folder for the script on your local server, folder name can be anything. In this case, we have created a folder named: “fillable-pdf”, now create index.php in fillable-pdf folder.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/index.php

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
<title>How To Fill A Fillable PDF Form with PHP using PDFtk</title>

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.0.0/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-Gn5384xqQ1aoWXA+058RXPxPg6fy4IWvTNh0E263XmFcJlSAwiGgFAW/dAiS6JXm" crossorigin="anonymous">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css">

</head>
<body>
<div class="container">

<form action="handler.php" method="POST">

<h1>Generate Fillable PDF Dynamically</h1>
<p>Fill the form and your data will fill in a PDF</p>
<div class="form-group row">

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="text" name="fname" class="form-control" placeholder="First Name">
</div>

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="text" name="lname" class="form-control" placeholder="Last Name" required>
</div>

</div>
<div class="form-group row">

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="email" name="email" class="form-control" placeholder="Email" required>
</div>

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="tel" name="phone" class="form-control" placeholder="Phone" required>
</div>

</div>
<div class="form-group">

<textarea name="message" cols="30" rows="10" class="form-control" placeholder="Your Message" required></textarea>

</div>
<button type="submit" class="btn btn-block btn-success">Sumbit</button> 
</form>
</div>
</body>
</html>

Create style.css file for form looks good. www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/style.css

body {
padding: 5rem 0;
}

.btn-block {
display: block;
width: 10%;
}

.btn-success {
color: #fff;
background-color: #0062cc;
border-color: #007bff;
}

.btn-success:hover {
color: #fff;
background-color: #0062cc;
border-color: #0062cc;
}

Step 3) Create composer.json file for installing PDFtk library.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/composer.json

{
"name": "mrdigital/pdftk",
"autoload" : {

"psr-4" : {

"Classes\\":"./classes"

}
},
"require": {
"mikehaertl/php-pdftk": "^0.10.3"
}
}

After this, run this command:

Composer require mikehaertl/php-pdftk, this command creates a vendor folder and downloads the PDFtk library.

Step 4) Check the sample fillable pdf file fields and map fields with handler.php file. Then open fillable pdf on any editor software to check input fields with mapped fields names. You can use this https://www.pdffiller.com/ site to get field’s name.

Also, read: Extract any type of data from excel sheet using Azure function

Step 5) Create a handler file to handle post requests, mapping pdf fields value to post form value.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/handler.php

<?php 

if ($_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'] != 'POST') {
exit;
}

define('ACCESSCHECK', TRUE);

require_once 'vendor/autoload.php';

use Classes\GeneratePDF;

$data = [

'name_field' => $_POST['fname'] .' ' . $_POST['lname'],
'email_field' => $_POST['email'],
'phone_field' => $_POST['phone'],
'enquiry_field' => $_POST['message']
];

$pdf = new GeneratePdf;
$response = $pdf->generate($data);

print_r($response);

Step 6) Create Folder Classes for Create class GenratePDF.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/classes/GeneratePDF.php

<?php
namespace Classes;

if(!defined('ACCESSCHECK')) {
die('Direct access not permitted');
}

use mikehaertl\pdftk\Pdf;

class GeneratePDF {

public function generate($data)
{

try {

$filename = 'pdf_fillabel' . rand() . '.pdf';

$pdf = new Pdf('./test.pdf');
$pdf->fillForm($data)
->flatten()
->saveAs( './pdf_fill/' . $filename);
return $filename;
}
catch(Exception $e)
{
return $e->getMessage();
}

}
}

Step 7) Create a pdf_fill folder for storing fillable pdf.

Step 8) Protect your folder for security reasons, create index.php empty file in classes and pdf_fill folder.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/classes/index.php or www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/pdf_fill/index.php

<?php
// Nothing here

Also, read: Top Web app development frameworks for 2022: get the most scalability at lower costs

Wrapping Up

With the above implementation, you can install PDFtk and learn some of its useful commands like dump_data_fields and fill_form. With all the above steps you will be able to successfully achieve the pdf fillable custom functionality.

Please note that this implementation is basic, and we have tried to keep things as simple as possible. If still, you are having some problem you can connect with our development team for any further assistance.

[sc name="Web Development"] [add_newsletter] [add_related_page_diff_contents blog_cat = "web-application"]

Today PDF files have become one of the most common methods of sharing documents online. Using a PDF document is often the foremost option whether you need to provide your clients’ documents to third-party service providers like insurance companies or banks, or simply need to send a CV to an employer. Working with PDF files allows you to share plain as well as formatted text, hyperlinks, images, and even different fillable forms that you need.

In this blog, we will be understanding that how one can fill out PDF forms using PHP and a tremendous PDF manipulation tool known as PDFtk Server. Here we will be demonstrating how one can work dynamically by adding data in PDF form through Html forms.

A fillable PDF is a PDF document that contains some fields that are editable without PDF editor software. To fill the fillable PDF dynamically one has to create an HTML form and dynamically bind it. To accomplish this, we will create a PHP script.

Below are the following step and some software & library to fill fillable PDF.

Prerequisites:

Step 1) Go to the above PDFtk server Link and install the PDFtk server according to your operating system.

After installing the software open the command prompt and run Command:

Step 2) Create a folder for the script on your local server, folder name can be anything. In this case, we have created a folder named: “fillable-pdf”, now create index.php in fillable-pdf folder.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/index.php

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
<title>How To Fill A Fillable PDF Form with PHP using PDFtk</title>

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.0.0/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-Gn5384xqQ1aoWXA+058RXPxPg6fy4IWvTNh0E263XmFcJlSAwiGgFAW/dAiS6JXm" crossorigin="anonymous">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css">

</head>
<body>
<div class="container">

<form action="handler.php" method="POST">

<h1>Generate Fillable PDF Dynamically</h1>
<p>Fill the form and your data will fill in a PDF</p>
<div class="form-group row">

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="text" name="fname" class="form-control" placeholder="First Name">
</div>

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="text" name="lname" class="form-control" placeholder="Last Name" required>
</div>

</div>
<div class="form-group row">

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="email" name="email" class="form-control" placeholder="Email" required>
</div>

<div class="col-lg-6">
<input type="tel" name="phone" class="form-control" placeholder="Phone" required>
</div>

</div>
<div class="form-group">

<textarea name="message" cols="30" rows="10" class="form-control" placeholder="Your Message" required></textarea>

</div>
<button type="submit" class="btn btn-block btn-success">Sumbit</button> 
</form>
</div>
</body>
</html>

Create style.css file for form looks good. www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/style.css

body {
padding: 5rem 0;
}

.btn-block {
display: block;
width: 10%;
}

.btn-success {
color: #fff;
background-color: #0062cc;
border-color: #007bff;
}

.btn-success:hover {
color: #fff;
background-color: #0062cc;
border-color: #0062cc;
}

Step 3) Create composer.json file for installing PDFtk library.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/composer.json

{
"name": "mrdigital/pdftk",
"autoload" : {

"psr-4" : {

"Classes\\":"./classes"

}
},
"require": {
"mikehaertl/php-pdftk": "^0.10.3"
}
}

After this, run this command:

Composer require mikehaertl/php-pdftk, this command creates a vendor folder and downloads the PDFtk library.

Step 4) Check the sample fillable pdf file fields and map fields with handler.php file. Then open fillable pdf on any editor software to check input fields with mapped fields names. You can use this https://www.pdffiller.com/ site to get field’s name.

Also, read: Extract any type of data from excel sheet using Azure function

Step 5) Create a handler file to handle post requests, mapping pdf fields value to post form value.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/handler.php

<?php 

if ($_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'] != 'POST') {
exit;
}

define('ACCESSCHECK', TRUE);

require_once 'vendor/autoload.php';

use Classes\GeneratePDF;

$data = [

'name_field' => $_POST['fname'] .' ' . $_POST['lname'],
'email_field' => $_POST['email'],
'phone_field' => $_POST['phone'],
'enquiry_field' => $_POST['message']
];

$pdf = new GeneratePdf;
$response = $pdf->generate($data);

print_r($response);

Step 6) Create Folder Classes for Create class GenratePDF.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/classes/GeneratePDF.php

<?php
namespace Classes;

if(!defined('ACCESSCHECK')) {
die('Direct access not permitted');
}

use mikehaertl\pdftk\Pdf;

class GeneratePDF {

public function generate($data)
{

try {

$filename = 'pdf_fillabel' . rand() . '.pdf';

$pdf = new Pdf('./test.pdf');
$pdf->fillForm($data)
->flatten()
->saveAs( './pdf_fill/' . $filename);
return $filename;
}
catch(Exception $e)
{
return $e->getMessage();
}

}
}

Step 7) Create a pdf_fill folder for storing fillable pdf.

Step 8) Protect your folder for security reasons, create index.php empty file in classes and pdf_fill folder.

www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/classes/index.php or www/public_html/ fillabe-pdf/pdf_fill/index.php

<?php
// Nothing here

Also, read: Top Web app development frameworks for 2022: get the most scalability at lower costs

Wrapping Up

With the above implementation, you can install PDFtk and learn some of its useful commands like dump_data_fields and fill_form. With all the above steps you will be able to successfully achieve the pdf fillable custom functionality.

Please note that this implementation is basic, and we have tried to keep things as simple as possible. If still, you are having some problem you can connect with our development team for any further assistance.

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Are you looking for a reliable web development company? Our highly skilled web developers enables us to deliver result oriented web development services. Contact our team to understand, how we can help you in achieving your business goals.



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