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Generate PDF in Salesforce For free in 2023 [Updated]

Kritik Garg

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Generate PDF in Salesforce

In every business generating PDF files from invoices, bills, articles, reports, etc. is necessary. As a PDF (portable document file), we can keep it offline for later consumption instead of viewing the same detail using the network.

In this post, we will explain how to Generate PDF in Salesforce with a button click. In this implementation, we will show Generate PDF button in Salesforce on the Account details page. After clicking a button, a PDF will be generated.

Salesforce has in-build PDF generation tool, that can generate PDF document dynamically without using any third party app. Later generated PDF can be saved as File on Salesforce Record or can be sent via Email.

Steps to generate pdf in Salesforce

  1. Create a Static Resource (optional)
  2. Create a VF page
  3. Create a button to Generate PDF

What you need before start

  1. Your Company Logo image (PNG/JPEG) : Logo will appear on top of generated PDF
  2. Working Salesforce Org

Let's Start generating pdf in Salesforce

Create a Static Resource for your company logo:

To create a static resource:

  1. From Setup, enter Static Resources in the Quick Find box, then select Static Resources.
  2. Click New.
  3. In the Name text box, enter the text "companyLogo".
  4. Next to the File text box, click Browse to navigate to a local copy of your Company Logo.
  5. Set the Cache Control to public.
  6. Click Save.
create static resource

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Create a Visualforce Page:

VFPage

To create Visualforce pages :

  1. From Setup, enter Visualforce Pages in the Quick Find box, then select Visualforce Pages.
  2. Click New.
  3. In the Label text box, enter the text "MyFirstPDF". (The same name will be entered into the name)
  4. Copy and paste the below code
  5. Click Quick Save to save your changes and continue editing your page. Your Visualforce markup must be valid before you can save your page.
<apex:page id="MyFirstPDF" standardController="Account" renderAs="pdf">
    <body>
        
         <div class="" style="min-height: 2in;">
            <!-- SECTION: header w/ company address and logo -->
            <table class="header-table">
                <tr>
                    <td style="width: 75%">
                        <apex:image width="2.75in" url="{!$Resource.companyLogo}"/>
                    </td>
                    <td style="">
                        <table style="width: 2.8in;border: solid 1px black; border-collapse: separate; ">
                            <tr>
                                <td style="text-align: center; font-size: 16pt; font-weight: bold; border-bottom: solid 1px black"
                                    colspan="2">Invoice Summary
                                </td>
                            </tr>

                            <tr>
                                <td>&nbsp;&nbsp;Date:</td>
                                <td style="text-align:right;"> 
       								{!DAY(TODAY())}-{!MONTH(TODAY())}-{!YEAR(TODAY())}&nbsp;&nbsp;
                                </td>
                            </tr>
                            <tr>
                                <td>&nbsp;&nbsp;Account:</td>
                                <td style="text-align:right;">Jack-Rich&nbsp;&nbsp;</td>
                            </tr>
                        </table>
                    </td>
                </tr>
            </table>
        </div>
        <table >
            <tr>
                <td >Address:</td>
                <table Style="padding-left: 90px;">
                    <tr>
                        <td>
                            Jack-Rich
                        </td>
                    </tr>                       
                    <tr>
                        <td>
                            1704 Weeksville Road
                        </td>
                    </tr>
                    <tr> 
                        <td>
                           Elizabeth City, 27909
                        </td>
                    </tr>                     
                </table>
            </tr>
        </table>
        <br/>
        <br/>
        <br/>
        <div style="min-height: 5.7in;">
            <table style="width: 100%;">
                 <tr>
                    <th>Date</th>
                    <th>Billing</th>
                    <th>Email</th>                    
                    <th style="text-align:right;">Paid Amount</th>
                    <th style="text-align:right;">Due Amount</th>
                    <th style="text-align:right;">Total Amount</th>
                  </tr>
                  <tr>
                    <td>01-01-2022</td>
                    <td>000001</td>
                    <td>example@gmail.com</td>                  
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$1000</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$9000</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$10000</td>
                  </tr>
                  <tr>
                    <td>04-01-2022</td>
                    <td>000002</td>
                    <td>example1@gmail.com</td>                   
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$2500</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$8500</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$11000</td>
                  </tr>
                  <tr>
                    <td>11-02-2020</td>
                    <td>000003</td>
                    <td>example2@gmail.com</td>                   
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$4000</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$8000</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$12000</td>
                  </tr>
                <tr>
                    <td>17-03-2020</td>
                    <td>000004</td>
                    <td>example3@gmail.com</td>                    
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$4400</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$6000</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$10400</td>
                  </tr>
                <tr>
                    <td>09-04-2020</td>
                    <td>000005</td>
                    <td>example4@gmail.com</td>                 
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$7000</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$2000</td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;">$9000</td>
                  </tr>
                <tr>
                    <td><b>Total</b></td>
                    <td></td>
                    <td></td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;"><b>$19300</b></td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;"><b>$33500</b></td>
                    <td style="text-align: right;"><b>$51400</b></td>
                  </tr>
             </table>
         </div>   
      	 <div class="footer" style="">
         <hr/>
            <table align="center" style="width: 100%;">   
                <tr>
                    <td colspan="2" style="font-size: 10pt; color: green;">
                        <table style="width: 100%; border-collapse: collapse; border: 1px solid black; ">
                            <tr>
                                <td style="text-align: left;">Arrify</td>                         
                                <td style="text-align: right;">www.arrify.com</td>
                            </tr>
                        </table>
                    </td>
                </tr>
            </table>      
       </div>
    </body>
</apex:page>

Create a Detail Page Button on the Account to generate PDF:

To Create a Button on Account

CreateVFButton 1 1
  1. From Setup, click Object Manager, then click Account.
  2. Click Buttons, Links, and Actions, then click New Button or Link.
  3. Name the button "Generate PDF".
  4. Select Detail Page Button.
  5. Set Content Source "Visualforce Page"
  6. Select content "MyFirstPDF"
  7. Click Save, then click OK. Now add it to the Account page layout.
  8. Click Page Layouts, then click Account Layout.
  9. From the Buttons category in the palette, drag "Generate PDF" into the Custom Buttons area on the page layout.
  10. Click Save. OK! Now let’s test it.
  11. From the App Launcher, find and select Sales, then click the Accounts tab.
  12. Open an account record.
  13. In the highlights panel, not only do you see the fields from the object’s compact layout, but you also see an actions menu. The actions menu is a combination of the standard buttons, custom buttons, and actions from the page layout.
  14. Expand the actions menu, and select Generate PDF. The browser opens a new window or tab that shows you the PDF. 

Generate PDF with APEX

Salesforce provides a way to generate PDF documents using Apex, which is a programming language that enables developers to create custom functionality for their Salesforce org. This can be useful for creating documents such as invoices, contracts, and reports.

To generate a PDF with Apex, you can use the PageReference.getContentAsPDF() method. This method allows you to create a new page reference and set the content type to PDF.

Here's an example of how you might use it:

// Create a new page reference
PageReference MyFirstPDF = new PageReference('/apex/MyFirstPDF');

// Set the account id as a parameter
MyFirstPDF.getParameters().put('accountId', someAccountId);


// Create a new PDF document and add the contents of the page reference to it
ContentVersion cont = new ContentVersion();
cont.Title = 'MyFirstPDF';
cont.PathOnClient = 'MyFirstPDF.pdf';
cont.VersionData = MyFirstPDF.getContentAsPDF();
cont.Origin = 'H';

insert cont;    

In this example, MyFirstPDF is a Visualforce page that renders the content of your PDF. You can use the <apex:page> tag and its various attributes and child tags to control the layout and appearance of your PDF. You can also use Apex code in your Visualforce page to retrieve data from your Salesforce org and populate the PDF with dynamic content.

Once you have generated your PDF document, you have a few options for storing it:

Save the PDF to the Salesforce Files or Attachments object, which allows you to store and manage the document within Salesforce.

Send the PDF via email using the Messaging.SingleEmailMessage class.

 
 Messaging.SingleEmailMessage mail = new Messaging.SingleEmailMessage();
 mail.setToAddresses(new String[] {'your@email.com'});
 mail.setSubject('Generate PDF from Apex Salesforce');
 mail.setHtmlBody('Generate PDF from Apex Salesforce');
 mail.setFileAttachments(new Messaging.EmailFileAttachment[] {attach});
 
 //Send the email
 Messaging.sendEmail(new Messaging.SingleEmailMessage[] {mail});

Store the PDF on a cloud service such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 via Salesforce to AWS3 Integration.

This Apex code can be used in a variety of contexts, including triggers, Apex Batch, or any other place where Apex is supported.

Fonts supported By Salesforce PDF Generation

Visualforce PDF rendering supports a limited set of fonts. To ensure that PDF output renders as you expect, use the supported font names. For each typeface, the first font-family name listed is recommended.

Typefacefont-family Values
Arial Unicode MSArial Unicode MS
Helveticasans-serif, SansSerif, Dialog
Timesserif Times
Couriermonospace Courier Monospaced DialogInput
Supported fonts - Salesforce PDF Generation
  • These rules apply to server-side PDF rendering. Viewing pages in a web browser can have different results.
  • Text styled with a value not listed here uses Times. For example, if you use the word “Helvetica,” it renders as Times because that’s not a supported value for the Helvetica font. We recommend using “sans-serif”.
  • Arial Unicode MS is the only multibyte font available. It’s the only font that provides support for the extended character sets of languages that don’t use the Latin character set.
  • Arial Unicode MS doesn’t support bold or italic.
  • Web fonts aren’t supported when the page is rendered as a PDF file. You can use web fonts in your Visualforce pages when they’re rendered normally.

Custom Code vs Third-Party Apps for PDF generation

Parameter Custom Code S-Docs PDF Butler
Setup Cost $250 - $400 (Based on document) $200 $160
Subscription Cost
(For 10 Users)
$0 $125/Month*
(*Anual Contract)
$140/Month
Speed Fastest Moderate Slow
Security Most Secure
(No external service)
Moderate Depends on Their Server
Updates Not Needed Need to install update in every release

Salesforce PDF Generation Limits:

  • The maximum response size when creating a PDF file must be less than 15 MB before being rendered as a PDF file. This limit is the standard limit for all Visualforce requests.
  • The maximum file size for a generated PDF file is 60 MB.
  • The maximum total size of all images included in a generated PDF is 30 MB.
  • PDF rendering doesn’t support JavaScript-rendered content.
  • Rendering a Visualforce page as a PDF file is intended for pages designed and optimized for print.

Generate PDF Using Third-Party App:

There are multiple apps that can generate PDFs in Salesforce. Most of them are paid and pull data from Salesforce to their server and output will be pushed back to Salesforce. This method took some extra time compared to native Salesforce PDF generation. Also, there are some data security issues.

Top apps on app exchange:

PDF Butler: PDF Butler is a tool for generating PDF documents from Salesforce data using custom templates. It offers a range of features, including the ability to create PDFs from records, related records, and custom objects, as well as support for formula fields and dynamic content. PDF Butler offers a paid version, with prices starting at $14 per user per month.

Easy PDF: Easy PDF is a tool for generating PDF documents from Salesforce data using custom templates. It offers a range of features, including the ability to create PDFs from records, related records, and custom objects, as well as support for formula fields and dynamic content.

Conga Composer: Conga Composer is a tool for generating PDF documents, as well as other types of documents and reports, from Salesforce data using custom templates. It offers a range of features, including the ability to create PDFs from records, related records, and custom objects, as well as support for formula fields and dynamic content.
Conga Composer prices start from $200/month ($20/user/month with 10 minimum users required).

S-Docs: SDocs is a tool for generating PDF documents from Salesforce data using custom templates. It offers a range of features, including the ability to create PDFs from records, related records, and custom objects, as well as support for formula fields and dynamic content.

SDocs pricing starts at $1500 per year for 1-10 users. This means that if you have 1-10 users who will be using the app, you will pay $1500 per year for the app.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Salesforce generate PDF in Lightning?

PDF in salesforce can be generated easily without using any other app. That can work in Salesforce Lightning as well as Salesforce Classic.

What does it cost to generate PDF in Salesforce?

Cost depends on how you generate PDF. By using a third-party app there will be a monthly cost (per user based) along with the initial setup cost. Using visualforce, it's completely free from monthly cost, it requires initial setup only.

Conclusion

Generating a PDF within Salesforce can be done with VisualForce and Apex. It is very easy (even for those with very little VisualForce and Apex experience). You are able to generate any Salesforce page as a PDF by adding the renderAs attribute to the component, and specifying “pdf” as the rendering service.

We first need to create a Visualforce page that will have the PDF Content. Below is the simple Visualforce page that will display Account details with the help of the Account Standard Controller.

Official document about visualforce

Learn more How to generate PDF for Salesforce Quote (No code)

Kritik Garg

Kritik Garg

Freelance Salesforce Developer & Consultant

Kritik Garg is a highly skilled Salesforce developer and consultant with a proven track record of successfully completing projects of various sizes and complexities, from short-term assignments to long-term partnerships. He is the founder and CEO of Arrify, and is available to work on projects in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
If you are looking for Salesforce Assistant, contact Kritik now.
Kritik has extensive experience working with various industries, including banking, healthcare, education, telecommunications, and manufacturing. He is an expert in Salesforce Sales, Service, and Marketing cloud, and is skilled in programming and developing various Salesforce features, such as APEX Programming, Lightning framework, VisualForce pages, Triggers, Workflows, Page Layouts, Roles, Profiles, Reports & Dashboards.

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