How to Generate a PDF in Laravel: Complete Guide for Developers

Creating downloadable reports and invoices is a common need in web applications. For Laravel developers, generating PDFs offers a powerful way to deliver information in a clean, structured format. This guide will walk you through the process of generating PDFs within your Laravel application, making it easy to provide users with the data they need.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the process into clear, actionable steps. You’ll learn how to use the DomPDF package, configure the Laravel application, and create Blade view templates to design your PDFs. We’ll even explore alternative packages and answer frequently asked questions to ensure you have all the information you need to get started.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to generate professional-looking PDFs within your Laravel applications. This guide is brought to you by the top-name Laravel development services provider. Thus, it ensures you receive best practices and insights from industry experts. Let’s dive in and explore how to generate a PDF in Laravel.

Why Generate a PDF in Laravel?

Generating PDFs in Laravel offers several advantages for web applications. PDFs provide a standardized document format that ensures consistent presentation across different devices. Unlike web pages, PDFs won’t be affected by browser variations or user settings, guaranteeing a reliable and predictable layout.

  • Improved User Experience. PDFs offer a convenient way for users to download and share information. They can easily print the document or save it for future reference. This level of flexibility improves the user experience by providing control over the data they access.
  • Enhanced Data Security. PDFs are naturally secure, making them ideal for sensitive information like invoices or reports. Once generated, the data within a PDF becomes difficult to modify, ensuring the integrity of your content.
  • Offline Accessibility. Unlike web pages, PDFs are accessible even without an internet connection. This allows users to download reports or invoices and reference them offline. It benefits in increasing the functionality and usefulness of your Laravel application.

Hence, generating PDFs in Laravel provides a user friendly way to deliver information within your web application. From maintaining consistent formatting to improving data security and offline accessibility, PDFs offer a valuable tool for Laravel developers. Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of generating PDFs in your Laravel application.

How to Generate a PDF in Laravel?

Generating PDFs in Laravel involves a few key steps. This guide will walk you through each step, providing clear instructions and explanations. By following these steps, you can create custom PDFs within your Laravel application in no time.

The process leverages the DomPDF package, a popular library that integrates with Laravel. We’ll explore how to install and configure DomPDF, create the necessary controllers and views. Overall, generate a PDF output as per your vision.

Step 1: Install DomPDF Package

The first step in generating PDFs within your Laravel application involves installing the DomPDF package. DomPDF is a powerful PHP library that allows you to convert HTML content into well-formatted PDFs. Here’s how to get started:

1. Use Composer. Laravel uses Composer for dependency management. To install DomPDF, navigate to your project directory in the terminal and run the following command:

composer require barryvdh/laravel-dompdf

This command will download and install the DomPDF package along with any required dependencies.

2. Package Benefits. The barryvdh/laravel-dompdf package provides a convenient way to integrate DomPDF functionality into your Laravel application. It handles configuration and offers helper functions to simplify the PDF generation process.

Once the installation is complete, you’ll be ready to configure Laravel to use DomPDF for PDF generation.

Step 2: Configure Laravel

Once you’ve installed the DomPDF package, it’s time to configure Laravel to recognize and utilize it. This involves adding the DomPDF service provider and alias to your Laravel application’s core configuration.

1. Service Provider Registration. Open the config/app.php file within your Laravel application. Locate the providers’ array and add the following line:


This line registers the DomPDF service provider with Laravel, enabling the application to access its functionalities.

2. Alias Creation (Optional). For convenience, you can create a handle for the DomPDF front. In the same config/app.php file, locate the aliases array and add the following line:

'PDF' => Barryvdh\DomPDF\Facade::class,

This creates an alias named PDF that you can use throughout your Laravel application to access DomPDF functionalities.

Step 3: Create a Controller

The next step involves creating a controller class to handle the logic behind generating your PDF. Controllers are the backbone of Laravel applications. They are responsible for receiving user requests and performing actions. In this case, our controller will handle the process of generating a PDF based on the desired data.

1. Artisan Command. Laravel provides a convenient Artisan command to generate controllers quickly. Open your terminal and navigate to your project directory. Run the following command, replacing <ControllerName> with the desired name for your controller (e.g., PdfController):

php artisan make:controller <ControllerName>

This command will create a new controller file within the app/Http/Controllers directory.

2. Controller Method. Inside the newly created controller file, define a method to handle the PDF generation request. This method will retrieve data from your application. Then format it for the PDF and use DomPDF to generate the final output.

We’ll explore the specific code for this method in a later step. For now, we’ve laid the core by creating the necessary controller to manage the PDF generation process.

Step 4: Add Route

With the controller in place, we need to define a route that tells Laravel how to reach the PDF generation functionality. Routes map incoming URLs to specific controller methods within your application.

1. Route Definition. Open the routes/web.php file within your Laravel project. This file contains routes for your web application. Add the following line to define a new route:

Route::get('/generate-pdf', 'PdfController@generatePDF');

This route definition specifies that any GET request to the /generate-pdf URL. It will be handled by the generatePDF method within the PdfController class.

2. Flexibility and Customization. You can customize the route URL to match your specific needs. For example, you could use /invoices/{id} to generate a PDF invoice for a specific ID. The route definition remains flexible, allowing you to tailor it to your application’s requirements.

Moving further, we’ll create the Blade view template that will define the content and layout of your generated PDF.

Step 5: Create a Blade View

As the controller and route are now defined, it’s time to create the Blade view template. It will dictate the content and layout of your generated PDF. Laravel Blade templates are a powerful feature in Laravel that allows you to combine HTML with PHP code to generate content.

1. View File Creation. Create a new Blade template file named pdf.blade.php within the resources/views directory of your Laravel project. This file will contain the HTML structure that will be converted into the final PDF output.

2. HTML Structure. Within the pdf.blade.php file, define the HTML code that you want to appear in your PDF. You can use standard HTML tags and CSS styles to format your content, just as you would for a web page.

3. Data Integration (Optional). If your PDF requires dynamic data from your application, you can pass that data from the controller to the view and access it using Blade directives. This allows you to generate customized PDFs based on specific data sets.

For instance, you could include elements like titles, headers, tables, and paragraphs to structure your PDF content. The flexibility of Blade templates allows you to create appealing and informative PDFs that meet your specific requirements.

Step 6: Run the Application

With all the essential pieces in place, it’s time to run your Laravel application and test the PDF generation functionality. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Start Laravel Development Server. Open your terminal and navigate to your Laravel project directory. Run the following command to start the Laravel development server:

php artisan serve

This command will start a local development server. It is typically accessible at http://localhost:8000 in your web browser.

2. Access the Route. Navigate to the route URL you defined earlier in your browser. In our example, this would be http://localhost:8000/generate-pdf. If everything is set up correctly, Laravel will execute the generatePDF method in your controller and use DomPDF to create the PDF based on your Blade view template.

3. Download or View the PDF. Depending on your controller logic, you might be prompted to download the generated PDF. It might also be displayed directly in the browser window. You can customize this behavior within your controller code to suit your application’s needs.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully generated a PDF in your Laravel application. This step-by-step guide has equipped you with the essential knowledge to create custom PDFs within your Laravel projects.

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What are the Alternatives to Generating PDFs in Laravel?

DomPDF is a popular choice for generating PDFs in Laravel, but it’s not the only option. Here are some alternative packages and libraries you can consider:

1. Laravel Snappy Package

Laravel Snappy is a wrapper around the powerful wkhtmltopdf command-line tool. It allows you to leverage the rendering capabilities of a headless browser like Chrome or Chromium to generate high-fidelity PDFs. This benefits in accurately reflecting your web page’s layout and styling. It can be mainly useful for complex layouts or situations where you need precise control over the PDF output.

2. mPDF Package

The mPDF package offers a feature-rich alternative to DomPDF. It provides extensive support for various document formats. This includes PDF, along with advanced functionalities like text wrapping, barcodes, and encryption. Where mPDF offers a broader feature set, it can have a steeper learning curve compared to DomPDF.

3. FPDF Library

FPDF is a lightweight PHP class for generating PDFs. It’s a good option for basic PDF generation needs where simplicity is preferred. However, FPDF offers less flexibility and customization compared to DomPDF or mPDF. This makes it less suitable for complex layouts or advanced features.

Yet, choosing the right PDF generation solution for your Laravel application depends on your specific requirements. DomPDF offers a good balance of ease of use and functionality for many projects.

However, Laravel Snappy and mPDF provide advanced capabilities for complex layouts or specialized needs. By understanding these alternatives, you can select the most suitable tool to generate professional-looking PDFs.

FAQs About Generating a PDF in Laravel

How to generate multiple PDFs in Laravel?
Absolutely! Laravel's flexibility allows you to loop through data sets and generate individual PDFs for each entry. You can achieve this by repeating within your controller logic and creating separate Blade views.
Can I customize the design of the PDFs generated in Laravel?
Yes, you have full control over the design of your Laravel-generated PDFs. Use Blade templates with HTML and CSS to style your content and layout. You can incorporate fonts, colors, images, and tables to create visually appealing and informative documents.
Is it possible to include dynamic data from my Laravel application in the generated PDFs?
Yes, integrating dynamic data from your Laravel application into PDFs is straightforward. Pass the data from your controller to the Blade view using Blade directives. Within the view, access this data and populate the PDF content accordingly. This allows you to generate personalized and data-driven PDFs.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the process of generating PDFs within your Laravel application. From understanding the benefits to implementing a step-by-step approach, you’re now equipped to create downloadable reports, invoices, and other valuable documents.

By leveraging DomPDF and Blade templates, you can generate clean, well-formatted documents. This improves the user experience and provides valuable functionalities within your Laravel application. Remember, the choice of PDF generation method can depend on your project requirements. Explore the available alternatives and their strengths to select the best approach for your application.

Looking to streamline the process and ensure exceptional PDF generation functionalities? Our team of experienced Laravel developers is here to take your project forward.

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Mayur Upadhyay is a tech professional with expertise in Shopify, WordPress, Drupal, Frameworks, jQuery, and more. With a proven track record in web development and eCommerce development.

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