CakePHP plugin for creating and/or rendering PDFs, supporting several popular PDF engines.
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CakePdf plugin

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Plugin containing CakePdf lib which will use a PDF engine to convert HTML to PDF.

Current engines:

  • DomPdf
  • Mpdf
  • Tcpdf
  • WkHtmlToPdf (requires additional installation) RECOMMENDED ENGINE




  1. Download this:
  2. Unzip that download.
  3. Copy the resulting folder to app/Plugin
  4. Rename the folder you just copied to CakePdf

[GIT Submodule]

In your app directory type:

git submodule add git:// Plugin/CakePdf
git submodule init
git submodule update

[GIT Clone]

In your plugin directory type

git clone git:// CakePdf


In your app directory type

composer require friendsofcake/cakepdf


In app/Config/bootstrap.php add:

CakePlugin::load('CakePdf', array('bootstrap' => true, 'routes' => true));


Use Configure::write('CakePdf', $config); or set Controller property $pdfConfig (only when used with PdfView) You need to define at least $config['engine']. When using CakePdf directly you can also pass the config array to constructor. The value for engine should have the Plugin.ClassName format without the Engine suffix

Configuration options:

  • engine: Engine to be used (required)
  • options: Engine options, this may vary between Engines
  • pageSize: Change the default size, defaults to A4
  • orientation: Change the default orientation, defaults to potrait
  • margin: Array or margins with the keys: bottom, left, right, top and their values
  • title: Title of the document
  • encoding: Change the encoding, defaults to UTF-8
  • binary: Path to binary (WkHtmlToPdfEngine only), defaults to /usr/bin/wkhtmltopdf
  • download: Set to true to force a download, only when using PdfView
  • filename: Filename for the document when using forced download


    Configure::write('CakePdf', array(
        'engine' => 'CakePdf.WkHtmlToPdf',
        'options' => array(
            'print-media-type' => false,
            'outline' => true,
            'dpi' => 96
        'margin' => array(
            'bottom' => 15,
            'left' => 50,
            'right' => 30,
            'top' => 45
        'orientation' => 'landscape',
        'download' => true

    class InvoicesController extends AppController {
        //in your Invoices controller you could set additional configs, or override the global ones:
        public function view($id = null) {
            $this->Invoice->id = $id;
            if (!$this->Invoice->exists()) {
                throw new NotFoundException(__('Invalid invoice'));
            $this->pdfConfig = array(
                'orientation' => 'portrait',
                'filename' => 'Invoice_' . $id
            $this->set('invoice', $this->Invoice->read(null, $id));


You can use CakePdf in 2 ways, read carefully which one you actually need. Many people mix both ways and dont get the expected results.

1: Render as PDF (including forced download) in the browser with PdfView

You can create PDF view and layout files for your controller actions and have them automatically rendered. Place the view templates in a 'pdf' subdir, for instance app/View/Invoices/pdf/view.ctp Layouts will be in app/View/Layouts/pdf/default.ctp

Make sure your InvoicesController has RequestHandler Component in the $components array. Browse to http://localhost/invoices/view/1.pdf

Additionally you can map resources by adding Router::mapResources(array('Invoices')); to your routes file and you can access the same document at http://localhost/invoices/1.pdf

2: Create PDF for email attachment, file storage etc.

You can use CakePdf lib to create raw PDF data with a view template. The view file path would look like app/View/Pdf/newsletter.ctp. Layout file path would be like app/View/Layouts/pdf/default.ctp Note that layouts for both usage types are within same directory, but the view templates use different file paths Optionally you can also write the raw data to file.


    $CakePdf = new CakePdf();
    $CakePdf->template('newsletter', 'default');
    //get the pdf string returned
    $pdf = $CakePdf->output();
    //or write it to file directly
    $pdf = $CakePdf->write(APP . 'files' . DS . 'newsletter.pdf');


You can optionally encrypt the PDF with permissions

To use encryption you first need to select a crypto engine. Currently we support the following crypto engines:

  • Pdftk


Add the following in your bootstrap.

Configure::write('CakePdf.crypto', 'CakePdf.Pdftk');

Options in pdfConfig:

  • protect: Set to true to enable encryption
  • userPassword (optional): Set a password to open the PDF file
  • ownerPassword (optional): Set the password to unlock the locked permissions
  • one of the above must be present, either userPassword or ownerPassword
  • permissions (optional): Define the permissions


By default, we deny all permissions.

To allow all permissions:

Set 'permission' to true

To allow specific permissions:

Set 'permissions' to an array with a combination of the following available permissions:

  • print
  • degraded_print
  • modify,
  • assembly,
  • copy_contents,
  • screen_readers,
  • annotate,
  • fill_in

Note about static assets

Use absolute URLs for static assets in your view templates for PDFs. If you use HtmlHelper::image(), HtmlHelper::script() or HtmlHelper::css() make sure you have $options['fullBase'] = true

Another solution would be to create a AppHelper of which it would force $options['fullBase'] = true for PDF requests. e.g:

class AppHelper extends Helper {
    public function assetUrl($path, $options = array()) {
    	if (!empty($this->request->params['ext']) && $this->request->params['ext'] === 'pdf') {
			$options['fullBase'] = true;
		return parent::assetUrl($path, $options);


Many thanks to Kim Biesbjerg and Jelle Henkens for their contributions. Want your name here as well? Create a pull request for improvements/other PDF engines.