Is there any PHP PDF library that can replace placeholder variables in an existing PDF, ODT or DOCX document, and generate a PDF file as the end result, without screwing up the layout?
Needs no 3rd party web service
Ability to run on shared web hosting would be ideal (no binary installations / packages required)
Mind you, a library that is able to load an existing PDF file and insert text programmatically at a specific position is not enough for my use case.
As far as my research shows, there is no library that can do this:
TCPDF can only generate documents from scratch
FPDI can read existing PDF templates, but can only add contents programmatically (no template variable replacement)
There are various DOCX/ODT template libraries out there but they don't output PDF
PHPDOCx claims to be able to do exactly what I need - but they don't offer a trial version and I'm not going to buy a cat in a bag, especially not when there seems to be no other product on the web that does this. I find it hard to believe they can do this without problems - if you have successfully done this using the product, please drop a line here.
Am I overlooking something?
Is there a way to do this using PDF forms? I am creating the source documents in OpenOffice 3.
I may be able to use standard Linux commands (
pdftk is available for example, trying that out right now.)
Update: *Argh!* I was called out of the office and the bounty expired in the meantime. Starting a new bounty: As far as my testing shows, no solution works for me perfectly yet.
Update II: I will be looking the pdftk approach soon, but I am also starting another bounty for one more round of collecting additional input. This question has now seen 1300 rep points in bounties, must be some kind of a record :)
I looked in to this previously, I think you can use pdftk (a command line utility), to fill in a PDF form using FDF/XFDF data files, which you could easily generate from within PHP. That was the best option I've seen so far, though there may well be a native library.
pdftk is quite useful in general, worth having a look at.
Update: Have a look here: http://php.net/manual/en/book.fdf.php
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