Home > Flex/Air, Frameworks, RIA > Generate PDFs with Actionscript using AlivePDF

Generate PDFs with Actionscript using AlivePDF

I recently had a Flash / AIR project that required the ability to render PDFs. Evidently, this hasn’t been a hot issue in the past for Flash applications, however I get the feeling that AIR may change that. While a web application can utilize any of many server side solutions to render a PDF to the browser, it’s not the same for AIR.

In looking for a good solution, I quickly had to reset my expectations to find ANY solution. The only option that fit the bill was AlivePDF, an open source Actionscript 3 port of a PHP library. AlivePDF is maintained by Thibault Imbert.

AlivePDF comes with a SWC that you can include in your Flex application, or an Actionscript package you can import to your AS code. Here’s a brief, condensed example of how I used AlivePDF in my Flash AIR project.

import org.alivepdf.*;

// setup pdf
var myPDF : PDF = new PDF ( Orientation.PORTRAIT, Unit.MM, Size.LETTER );

myPDF.setDisplayMode( Display.FULL_PAGE, Layout.SINGLE_PAGE );


// add a background image
myPDF.addImage (myBackgroundMovieClip, 1 , null, null, false, ImageFormat.JPG, 100, 0, 0, 0, 0);

// add headline
myPDF.textStyle ( new RGBColor ( 41, 58, 140 ) );
myPDF.setFont( FontFamily.HELVETICA, Style.BOLD );
myPDF.setFontSize ( 18 );
myPDF.setXY( 10, 40 );
myPDF.addMultiCell ( 300, 1, “This is my PDF Headline” );

// add text message
myPDF.textStyle ( new RGBColor ( 0, 0, 0 ) );
myPDF.setFont( FontFamily.HELVETICA, Style.BOLD );
myPDF.setFontSize ( 14 );
myPDF.setXY( 10, 50 );
myPDF.addMultiCell ( 300, 4, “This is my text….lots of text…” );

// save PDF to the desktop
var f : FileStream = new FileStream();
var file : File = File.desktopDirectory.resolvePath(“MyPDF.pdf”);
f.open( file, FileMode.WRITE);
var bytes : ByteArray = myPDF.savePDF(Method.LOCAL);

Notice I’m using the method addMultiCell to add text. This may seem odd, but what this allows me to do is add a block of text that wordwraps. If I use addText then I only get a single line.

AlivePDF is definitely still young and I’ve run into a few oddities (read bugs). I logged a bug on the Google project site and within no time at all received a note saying the issue had been resolved and would be released in the next build. Nice!

The Google project site provides a few examples in addition to the samples provided in the download. And the documentation is fairly helpful.

Note: Thibault just released, a minor revision the codebase I’ve been using at  Hopefully this is a sign that the project is picking up some momentum!

If you need to generate PDFs from your Flash, Flex, AIR applications using only AS 3.0, then this is your best (only) solution.

  1. ErnieCZ
    November 5, 2012 at 9:07 PM


    could you tell me how you as work? It generate a lot of errors in my Flash AIR file..

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