CakePHP plugin for creating and/or rendering Pdfs, several Pdf engines supported.

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5.0.0 2023-10-03 08:38 UTC


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

Engines included in the plugin:

  • DomPdf (^2.0)
  • Mpdf (^8.0.4)
  • Tcpdf (^6.3)

Community maintained engines:



Using Composer:

composer require friendsofcake/cakepdf

CakePdf does not include any of the supported PDF engines, you need to install the ones you intend to use yourself.

Packages for the recommend wkhtmltopdf engine can be downloaded from DomPdf, Mpdf and Tcpdf can be installed via composer using one of the following commands:

composer require dompdf/dompdf
composer require tecnickcom/tcpdf
composer require mpdf/mpdf


Loading the plugin using CakePHP's console:

./bin/cake plugin load CakePdf

If you plan to use the PDF view functionality that automatically renders and returns the PDF for sending it to the browser, you should also register the pdf extension in your config/routes.php file:

$routes->scope('/', function (\Cake\Routing\RouteBuilder $routes) {
    // ...

Further setup information can be found in the usage section.


Use Configure::write('CakePdf', $config); or in controller use view builder to set view option named 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), or an array of engine config options
    • className: Engine class to use
    • binary: Binary file to use (Only for wkhtmltopdf)
    • cwd: current working directory (Only for wkhtmltopdf)
    • options: Engine specific options. Currently used for following engine:
      • WkHtmlToPdfEngine: The options are passed as CLI arguments
      • TexToPdfEngine: The options are passed as CLI arguments
      • DomPdfEngine: The options are passed to constructor of Dompdf class
      • MpdfEngine: The options are passed to constructor of Mpdf class
  • crypto: Crypto engine to be used, or an array of crypto config options
    • className: Crypto class to use
    • binary: Binary file to use
  • pageSize: Change the default size, defaults to A4
  • orientation: Change the default orientation, defaults to portrait
  • margin: Array or margins with the keys: bottom, left, right, top and their values
  • title: Title of the document
  • delay: A delay in milliseconds to wait before rendering the pdf
  • windowStatus: The required window status before rendering the pdf
  • encoding: Change the encoding, defaults to UTF-8
  • download: Set to true to force a download, only when using PdfView
  • filename: Filename for the document when using forced download


Configure::write('CakePdf', [
    'engine' => 'CakePdf.WkHtmlToPdf',
    'margin' => [
        'bottom' => 15,
        'left' => 50,
        'right' => 30,
        'top' => 45,
    'orientation' => 'landscape',
    'download' => true,
use CakePdf\View\Pdfiew;

class InvoicesController extends AppController
    // In your Invoices controller you could set additional configs,
    // or override the global ones:
    public function view($id = null)
        $invoice = $this->Invoice->get($id);
                'orientation' => 'portrait',
                'filename' => 'Invoice_' . $id,
        $this->set('invoice', $invoice);

     * Add Pdfiew::class to this $viewClasses property so that CakePHP automatically
     * switches the view class for URLs ending with `.pdf` or with appropriate `Accept` header.
     * @see
     * @var array<string>
    public function viewClasses(): array
        return $this->viewClasses[] = Pdfiew::class;

The engine and crypto config options can also be arrays with configuration options for the relevant class. For example:

Configure::write('CakePdf', [
    'engine' => [
        'className' => 'CakePdf.WkHtmlToPdf',
        // Options usable depend on the engine used.
        'options' => [
            'print-media-type' => false,
            'outline' => true,
            'dpi' => 96,
            'cover' => [
                'url' => 'cover.html',
                'enable-smart-shrinking' => true,
            'toc' => true,

         * For Mac OS X / Linux by default the `wkhtmltopdf` binary should
         * be available through environment path or you can specify location as:
        // 'binary' => '/usr/local/bin/wkhtmltopdf',

         * On Windows the engine uses the path shown below as default.
         * You NEED to use the path like old fashioned MS-DOS Paths,
         * otherwise you will get error like:
         * "WKHTMLTOPDF didn't return any data"
        // 'binary' => 'C:\\Progra~1\\wkhtmltopdf\\bin\\wkhtmltopdf.exe',


You can use CakePdf in two ways, read carefully which one you actually need. Many people mix both ways and don't get the expected results.

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

You can create PDF template and layout files for your controller actions and have them automatically rendered. Place the templates in a pdf subdir, for instance templates/Invoices/pdf/view.php, layouts will be in templates/layout/pdf/default.php.

Then for e.g. accessing the URL http://localhost/invoices/view/1.pdf would give you the generated PDF.

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

In case you don't want to use the pdf extension in your URLs, you can omit registering it in your routes configuration. You can then set the Accept request header to application/pdf to make CakePHP automatically switch to PdfView (required the viewClasses() method to be set as shown above), or explicity switch the view class in your controller action:


Instead of having the pdf rendered in the browser itself, you can force it to be downloaded by using download option. Additionally you can specify custom filename using filename options.

        'download' => true, // This can be omitted if "filename" is specified.
        'filename' => 'Invoice_' . $id, // This can be omitted if you want a file name based on URL.

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

You can use CakePdf to create raw PDF data with a view template. The view file path would look like templates/pdf/newsletter.php. Layout file path would be like templates/layout/pdf/default.php 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\Pdf\CakePdf();
$CakePdf->template('newsletter', 'default');
$CakePdf->viewVars(['key' => 'value']);
// 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

How to

Ensure css, images etc. are loaded in PDF

Use absolute URLs for static assets in your view templates for PDFs. If you use HtmlHelper::image(), or HtmlHelper::css() make sure you have set fullBase option to true.

For example

echo $this->Html->image('logo.png', ['fullBase' => true]);
echo $this->Html->css('bootstrap.css', ['fullBase' => true]);

If you are enable to get URLs for assets working properly, you can try using file system paths instead for the assets.

<img src="<?= WWW_ROOT ?>img/logo.png" />

Note: Since v0.12.16 wkhtmltopdf requires the option enable-local-file-access to be able to use local filesytem paths for assets. You can enable it by setting 'enable-local-file-access' => true in the engine config array.

Get header and footer on all pages

Here are a couple of CSS based solutions you can refer to for easily getting header footer on all PDF pages.