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Building a multi-line PDF document using the set_text_pos() method - PHP

If you’re a PHP developer interested in developing web applications that deliver the contents of their database tables in PDF format, then hopefully this group of articles will be what you’re looking for. Welcome to the second article of the series “Building PDF documents with PHP 5.” Composed of five instructive tutorials, this series shows you the basics for creating PDF files directly from your own PHP 5 scripts, and complements the theoretical concepts with copious hands-on examples.

  1. Constructing Multi-Line PDF Documents with PHP 5
  2. Review: building basic PDF documents using PHP 5
  3. Displaying multiple lines of text on a single PDF document
  4. Building a multi-line PDF document using the set_text_pos() method
By: Alejandro Gervasio
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 2
November 06, 2007

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As you learned in the previous section, including multiple lines of text in a given PDF file is actually a no-brainer process, since it only requires calling the handy “continue_text()” method as many times as necessary. However, it should be noticed that before displaying any strings on the file in question I utilized the “set_text_pos()” method to specify what X,Y coordinates should be used to start showing the pertinent text. This sounds pretty logical, right?

You already understand how to put multiple lines of text in a specific PDF file. Therefore, the last example in this article will focus on demonstrating how to display several lines of text in a given PDF document, which will be positioned at different X,Y coordinates via the aforementioned “set_text_pos()” method.

This being said, here’s the corresponding code sample, so have a look at it, please:

// example creating a basic PDF document with PHP and multiple
lines using the 'set_text_pos()' method

  try {

// create new instance of the 'PDFlib' class

  $pdf=new PDFlib();

// open new PDF file


throw new PDFlibException("Error creating PDF document. ".$pdf-



  $pdf->set_info("Author","Alejandro Gervasio");

  $pdf->set_info("Title","Example on using PHP to create PDF






  $pdf->show("PHP is great for creating PDFs!");


  $pdf->show('This is another line of text');


  $pdf->show('This is another line of text');


  $pdf->show('This is another line of text');

// end page



// end document


// get buffer contents


// get length of buffer


// display PDF document

  header("Content-type: application/pdf");

  header("Content-Length: $len");

  header("Content-Disposition: inline; filename=example.pdf");

   echo $buffer;


catch (PDFlibException $e){

  echo 'Error Number:'.$e->get_errnum()."n";

  echo 'Error Message:'.$e->get_errmsg();



Certainly, after analyzing the signature of the above example, you’ll have to agree with me that positioning different chunks of text in a concrete PDF file using a set of predefined X,Y coordinates is a very understandable process, particularly when the respective “set_text_pos()” method is utilized.

In addition to providing you with the previous code sample, I captured a screen shot below to show you the corresponding output generated by the example. Here it is:

Well, at this point I assume that you are much better prepared to build a few basic multi-line PDF documents with PHP 5, particularly if you’ve studied in detail all of the code samples shown previously. As usual with many other topics on PHP development, practice is the best way to learn how to build dynamic PDF files, so I recommend that you create your own testing examples.

Final thoughts

In this second part of the series, you hopefully learned the basics for building basic PDF files that include multiple lines of text, via the proper combination of the useful “set_text_pos()”, “show()” and continue_text()” methods respectively.

In the next tutorial, things will get even more interesting, since you’ll learn how to include some basic images into a given PDF document, in addition to building text flows.

Now that you’ve been warned about the bunch of topics that will be covered in the upcoming tutorial, you won’t want to miss it!

>>> More PHP Articles          >>> More By Alejandro Gervasio

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