1 2 Previous Next 18 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2017 6:48 AM by philmodjunk

    Print Data and PDF as one document


      Task: To create a report for printing containing on the first and second page FileMaker-Data, on the following pages external PDFs.

      Plattform: FileMaker 16 on Windows 10



      At present we have 4 different documents that are printed all separately. This takes up to 10 minutes! Some are generated by FileMaker, some are PDFs.

      I have tried to create a report, with the FileMaker-data on the first and second page, which was of course no problem. However, my idea to place interactive container on the following pages did not work. The PDFs are shown in the browse mode but not in the preview mode (--> PDF container not previewing or printing ).


      Is there a way to generate a report that contains external PDFs?

      Is there a way to display and print interactive container fields?


      I do not want to generate a PDF first from FileMaker and add the external PDFs somehow. There should be a more straight forward way.


      Thanks for any help.

        • 1. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

          My initial thought is that within a script you could export the PDF stored in the container folder and record the file path and name, then add the FileMaker pages using the 'append to existing PDF' option later within the script using the same file name and path.


          However, this would result in the FileMaker pages appearing at the end of the document, not at the beginning. Equally, it wouldn't take long to drag the pages to the correct order.


          Written in haste, so will have a further thought on this later.




          • 2. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

            If your solution is hosted on Filemaker Server, you could create a script that export the pdfs on the server (created by FM and from containers) and use a free plugin (BaseElement) and pdfToolkit to merge them, and then puts back the merged file in a container from which you can export.


            Mike Duncan has made a very good tutorial on this method: Combine PDFs with FileMaker - Soliant Consulting

            It might actually looks more difficult than it is


            Hope this helps




            (Edit for clarity)

            • 3. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

              The solution is hosted on a server.


              Thanks Cloe for your answer, but my aim was not to use any external plugin. If FileMaker is able to show PDFs in a container, I would think that it is somehow also possible to print them in a given order. I would think this to be a standard procedure.


              Likewise, thank you Andy for your answer. However, we print more than 1800 of these letters a year and to change in each created PDF the page order seems not to be a good solution.


              Is it not possible to create a simple report containing PDFs that I can print directly from FileMaker without creating a new PDF???

              • 4. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                No problems.


                However I'm afraid that Filemaker cannot do what you want natively (not that I know).


                The BaseElement plugin is free and runs on the server, so you only have to install it once and it will work from any platform provided you use PSOS. To me that's enough arguments to start using it if you really need to merge those PDFs





                • 5. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                  The problem is that FileMaker appends to an existing PDF at the end, rather than an option to append the PDF to the FileMaker data, which as Chloe says, isn't standard FileMaker.


                  However, now that FileMaker has rewritten their own PDF creation feature, I'd recommend going to the Product Ideas webpage at Product Ideas  and suggest this as a future feature. FileMaker do keep a close eye on these suggestions (we are told they are reviewed on a daily basis).


                  Kind regards


                  • 6. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                    Thanks Andy. I have written my request on that suggestions page.

                    • 7. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                      If FMP can't do what you need, then using programmatic techniques, you could gather then write the FileMaker field data to, say, a microservice. Then, using any of the free PDF libraries (or a paid one) you could generate the PDF report the way you want.


                      That code could optionally write the finished PDF, programmatically (automatically) back to a container field, too.


                      Some work there, to be sure, but straightforward and doable.


                      HOPE THIS HELPS.

                      • 8. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                        Followed that link in the original post all the way back to my own responses on this issue. They refer to FileMaker 12 on Windows. I just saw the same behavior in v16 so it's really irritating that this is still the case that an interactive container field on windows still can't print/preview/PDF correctly unless there is some work around/fix I don't know about.

                        • 9. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                          I totally agree!!!

                          • 10. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                            Hi Phil


                            I'm not sure what you mean here? We use interactive container fields for Windows all the time and PDFs display fine.


                            We did find out a long time ago that if you hadn't launched Adobe (Acrobat) Reader on the PC running FileMaker at some point, then FileMaker PDF functionality was restricted, for instance the Insert PDF option wasn't available within the container field. However, a launch and exit of Reader always solved this (we have reported this before here).


                            This caught us out as most of our solutions are delivered by Citrix/RemoteApp, hence we have to set a user account up on the appropriate server. If we didn't log in as the user, launch Acrobat and FileMaker before handing over to the user, PDFs didn't work. This isn't widely reported as most users would have launched Reader on their PC at some point.


                            Output of PDFs haven't been a problem, apart from the bugs introduced with v15 on Windows, which FMI claim is the fault of Classic theme (now much maligned by the people who originally created it). The OP's issue was trying to append to an existing file, but put the FMP data in front of the existing PDF data., which we've established that it cannot natively. I'm not aware of any other output issues with v16.


                            Back to OP's requirement, perhaps calling a batch file that could do something like: How to Merge PDF Files for Free | Digital Trends




                            • 11. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                              Within my solution the PDFs show fine, but not when you go to the preview mode or when you try to print it. Then only the PDF logo is shown. We did have problems with PDFs in the past, but with the current FileMaker version it is all fine ... Apart from this problem.


                              So are you telling me that the PDFs are displaying fine within your solution in the preview mode?

                              • 12. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                                Yes, they display just fine, in Browse mode. But not in Preview and presumably not when printing or saving as PDF.


                                I opened an issue report on this and the TS folks confirmed that the issue exists and has not been corrected. This is with the latest rev of both Acrobat Reader and FileMaker 16 installed on Windows 10.

                                • 13. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                                  Programm and Phil, been maxed out today so haven't had a chance to revisit this. Our use of PDFs are obviously very different, as we'd rarely use print or preview from a container field. If doing either we'd normally export to a temp file and open in Reader/Preview.


                                  Will have another look when time allows.


                                  All the best



                                  • 14. Re: Print Data and PDF as one document

                                    Which doesn't permit combining the PDF with other data on the same page--such as making the PDF the "background" to other data from your solution.

                                    1 2 Previous Next