Build your PDF and Excel reports with PHP
Office 2.0 without the fluff
Hands on The Portable Document Format (PDF) and Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet are commonly used for presentation of reports and data.
PHP, meanwhile, has become one of the most commonly used scripting languages on the web today, with 35 per cent  of web sites running PHP. The TIOBE index  of programming languages also indicates an increase in the usage of PHP.
Given the prevelance of PHP, Excel and PDF it's fortunate there exists class libraries for the generation of PDF documents and Excel spreadsheets using PHP. In my latest guide to PHP, I shall look at generating an Excel spreadsheet using the PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR) module,
Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer and the
ClibPDF PHP library to generate a PDF report. Along the way I'll dig into PDF and Excel report features such as setting fonts and adding a hyperlink.
First, install PHP 5 and Apache2 HTTP Server and configure the Apache server with PHP. We won't discuss configuring Apache server with PHP as it was discussed in an earlier article on PHP, Accessing DB2 UDB with PHP . The
ClibPDF PHP class library extension is included in the Collection of PECL modules for PHP 5.3 . Extract the
php_cpdf.dll from the PECL modules zip file to the
C:/PHP/ext directory. Add the following PHP directive to the
php.ini configuration file.
Restart the Apache HTTP server.
Creating a PDF Document with ClibPDF
Create a PHP file
catalog.php in the
C:\Apache2\htdocs directory, the document root directory of Apache2 server. In the PHP file, create a new PDF document using the
cpdf_open ( ) function. If document compression is to be set, specify compression as a non 0 value. A file name may be specified to output the generated PDF document. If filename is not specified an in memory PDF document is created that may be output to a file or stdout.
Set the title of the document.
cpdf_set_title($cpdf, "Catalog PDF");
Start a new page using
cpdf_page_init(). Specify page number as 1, and page size as A4 (595x842). Set orientation to
portrait (0). Orientation may also be set to
landscape (1). The unit parameter is optional and specifies the number of postscript points per unit; the default value is 72, which corresponds to 1 inch.
cpdf_page_init($cpdf, 1, 0, 595, 842);
Add a bookmark for the current page. Specify the text of the bookmark in the text parameter.
cpdf_add_outline($cpdf, 0, 0, 0, 1, "Page 1");
Next, add title text of the PDF document. Start a text section with
cpdf_begin_text ( ). Set the font to Courier-Bold, font size to 25 and font encoding to
cpdf_set_font ( ). Encoding may be set to
NULL. If encoding is set to
NULL, the font's built-in encoding is used.
cpdf_set_font($cpdf, "Courier-Bold", 25, "WinAnsiEncoding");
Set the coordinates of the text with
cpdf_set_text_pos ( ). The
mode parameter specifies the unit length in postscript points. If mode is 0 or is omitted the default unit length is used.
Specify how text is to be rendered. A
rendermode value of 0 fills the text and a
rendermode value of 1 uses stroke text.
Add the text to the PDF document using
cpdf_text( ). Text coordinates may be specified with
cpdf_text(). The mode parameter in
cpdf_text() specifies the unit length in postscript points. The
orientation parameter specifies the rotation of the text in degrees. The
alignmode parameter specifies the alignment of the text.
alignmode parameter specifies alignment with respect to the (x,y) coordinates of the text. End the title section with
Next, add some text to the PDF document using
cpdf_end_text() functions. Text is added to a new line using
cpdf_continue_text( ). Create a table using
cpdf_rect(). Add header row cells using
cpdf_rect( ) and
cpdf_rect($cpdf, 1.0, 6.0, 2.0, 0.5); cpdf_stroke($cpdf);
Add text to the header cells. Specify the text position. Set text rendering to fill text. Set text font name, font size and font encoding. A row of data is added similar to a header row. A hyperlink may be added to row text using
cpdf_set_action_url ( ). For example add an hyperlink to the title column data.
cpdf_set_action_url ( $cpdf, 7.20, 5.70, 8.5, 5.85, "http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/java/library/x-jaxpval.html");
End the PDF page using
cpdf_finalize_page ( ). End the PDF document using
cpdf_finalize ( )
cpdf_finalize_page($cpdf, 1); cpdf_finalize($cpdf);
Content-type header to
application/pdf and save the PDF document to a file using
cpdf_save_to_file ( ).
Header("Content-type: application/pdf"); cpdf_save_to_file($cpdf,"catalog.pdf");
The PHP script,
catalog.php, used to generate an example PDF document is available in resources zip here . Run the
catalog.php script with the URL http://localhost/catalog.php. You can see the PDF document,
catalog.pdf in my screen shot. The hyperlinks are shown with blue rectangles in the Title column.
Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer is available as a PEAR module. Therefore, first install the PEAR package Manager. Download the PEAR PHP file . and save the file as
go-pear.php in the
C:/PHP directory, the directory in which PHP 5 is installed. Install the PEAR Package Manager with the following command.
php.ini configuration file gets modified in installing the PEAR Package Manager. Therefore, restart the Apache2 HTTP server. Download Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer  version 0.9.1. Save the zip file to the
C:/PHP directory. The
Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer has a required dependency, the PEAR OLE 0.5 package. Install the OLE 0.5 package with the following command.
C:/PHP>pear install channel://pear.php.net/OLE-0.5
Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer with the following command.
C:/PHP>pear install Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer-0.9.1.tgz
Creating an Excel Spreadsheet
Create a PHP script,
catalog-excel.php, in the
C:\Apache2\\htdocs directory. Create a
Workbook object. Specify filename as
$workbook = new Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer('catalog.xls');
Add a worksheet to the workbook. If sheet name is not specified the sheet name is Sheeti, with i in [1..].
$worksheet =& $workbook->addWorksheet('Catalog');
Set page margins in inches. Center the page horizontally.
Set the worksheet as the active worksheet.
First, we shall add a title to the worksheet. Add a format to the workbook for the title. Set the text to bold. Set the color of the cell's content to "blue". Set the font size to 25 pixels. Merge the cells in the row by setting the cell alignment to 'merge'.
$format_title =& $workbook->addFormat(); $format_title->setBold(); $format_title->setColor('blue'); $format_title->setSize(25); $format_title->setAlign('merge');
Set the worksheet title to "Catalog Spreadsheet" in the first row and the third column using the
Worksheet::write() function. The rows and columns in a worksheet are 0 indexed. The
$format_title format that we created previously is used to add the title.
$worksheet->write(0, 2, 'Catalog Spreadsheet', $format_title);
Next, add a header row for a catalog. Add another format to the workbook for the header row. Set text to bold and font size to 15 pixels. Create a format for the data to be added to the worksheet. Set the font style to italic using
Format::setItalic() and font size to 12 pixels. Set alignment of text to 'center' with
Format::setAlign(). Horizontal alignment may be set to left, center, right, fill, justify, merge, or equal_space. Vertical alignment may be set to top, vcenter, bottom, vjustify, or vequal_space. A combination of horizontal and vertical alignment may be specified by invoking the
setAlign() function more than once. Using the format for row data add a row of data with
Worksheet::write(). The rows and columns are 0 indexed. Add a hyperlink to the Title column value with
$url parameter specifies the URL of the hyperlink and the
$string parameter specifies the label for the hyperlink.
Catalog-excel.php for creating an Excel spreadsheet is available in resources zip here . Run the PHP script with the URL http://localhost/catalog.php to create an Excel spreadsheet in the
And you're out...
After all that you should now have an Excel spreadsheet that looks similar to my screen shot.
If you have, then you've successfully created a document in the business world's chosen medium for expressing information using one of the internet's hottest programming languages. ®