Power Apps PDF Function: Create, View & Download PDFs

Power Apps PDF Function: Create, View & Download PDFs

The new Power Apps PDF Function can generate a PDF document from any screen or control. It makes the task of creating PDFs very simple and only requires a standard license. Once the PDF is generated we can then view a PDF and download a PDF from directly inside of the app itself. In this article I will show you how to use the Power Apps PDF Function.

Table of Contents
• Introduction: The Work Orders AppSetup The SharePoint ListInsert A Vertical ContainerAdd A Power Apps Form To The Vertical ContainerEnable The Power Apps PDF Function Experimental FeatureGenerate A PDF Of The Power Apps FormView The PDF In Power AppsCreate A SharePoint Document Library To Store PDF FilesBuild A Flow To Download PDF Files From A SharePoint Document LibraryDownload The PDF Directly From Power Apps




Introduction: The Work Orders App

The work orders app is used by employees at a plumbing services company to track job details. An employee can view a PDF of the Work Order form on their device and download a copy of the PDF.




Setup The SharePoint List

Create a new SharePoint list named Work Orders with the following columns:

  • Map (image)
  • Address (single line text)
  • LastName (single line text)
  • AppointmentStart (date only)
  • IssueReported (single line text)
  • MaterialsRequired (single line text)



Add a new row to the SharePoint list with this data. We will display it on the Work Order PDF.

ColumnValue
Map
Address67 River Road
LastNameJones
AppointmentDate3/28/2021
IssueReportedWater is dripping from the upstairs bathroom into the basement. Homeowner believes it is coming from the bathtub. Only happens when the tub is turned on.
MaterialsRequired5 – PVC Pipes
1 – Tube Of Sealent
10 – Screws




Insert A Vertical Container

A PDF cannot be generated for a Power Apps Edit Form so we must use a workaround. We can place an Edit Form inside of a container and create a PDF of container’s contents instead. Open Power Apps Studio and create a new app from blank. Insert a vertical container onto the screen.



Make the vertical container fill the screen by giving the following properties these values.

Height: App.Height
Width: App.Width
X: 0
Y: 0



Set the LayoutAlignItems property to this value to make them fill the width of the container.

LayoutAlignItems.Stretch



Add a label to the container to use as a title bar. Give it the text “Work Order” and apply a dark blue fill.




Add A Power Apps Form To The Vertical Container

Next we will create a Power Apps Edit Form to display Work Order information. Open the Data tab from the left navigation menu and add the Work Orders SharePoint list as a data source.



Insert a Power Apps Edit form into the vertical container. Select the Work Orders SharePoint list as the data source.



Update the Edit Form to use a vertical layout with only 1 column.



Use this code in the Item property of the form to display the first record in the SharePoint list. In this tutorial the user will not have an ability to select another record.

LookUp('Work Orders', ID=1)



Change the DisplayMode property of the the Edit Form to View.

DisplayMode.View




Enable The Power Apps PDF Function Experimental Feature

The Power Apps PDF Function is an experimental feature and is not enabled by default. To use it, go to the Settings menu, select upcoming features, then toggle on the PDF Function setting.




Generate A PDF Of The Power Apps Form

When the user clicks on a PDF icon it generates the PDF and navigates to a screen with PDF viewer. Add a PDF icon to the app’s titlebar.



Then write this code in the icon’s OnSelect property.

The first argument to the Power Apps PDF Function tells it which screen or control to generate a PDF from. The second argument can be used to pass in optional values to control the PDF’s size, orientation, margins & DPI. Here we will use the ExpandContainers parameter to ensure the container expands to show any hidden or off-screen controls.

Set(
    varWorkOrderPDF,
    PDF(
        con_WorkOrder,
        {ExpandContainers: true}
    )
);
Navigate('PDF Viewer Screen');




View The PDF In Power Apps

We need to make another screen to display the PDF. Create a new screen named PDF Viewer Screen. Add a dark blue label for a titlebar and insert a left arrow icon in the top-left corner.



Use this code in the OnSelect property of the left arrow icon to navigate back to the previous screen.

Set(varWorkOrderPDF,Blank());
Navigate('Work Order Screen');


Add the PDF Viewer control the screen. Position the PDF Viewer control so it fills the remaining space on the screen.



Use this code in the document property of the PDF. The PDF document will now display in the PDF viewer.

varWorkOrderPDF



Test the feature we built to generate and view a PDF from Power Apps. It should look like this.





Create A SharePoint Document Library To Store PDF Files

We want to create the ability to download the PDF file directly from Power Apps. To do this, we need a place to temporarily store the PDF file. Make a new SharePoint Document library named Exported PDFs. No additional setup is required beyond creating the document library.




Build A Flow To Download PDF Files From A SharePoint Document Library

To download the PDF file we must make a flow to store the PDF file in SharePoint and then return a file download link to the app. Open Power Automate, create a new flow named Download PDF From Power Apps and setup the flow as show in the image below. Set the PDF File input parameter to required.



Use this code in the File Name property of the SharePoint – Create File action.

triggerBody()?['file']?['name']



A link to the PDF file in SharePoint opens it in the SharePoint document viewer. However, we want to perform a direct download of the PDF file instead. We can use this special URL to bypass the SharePoint document viewer and download the file. Fill in any tags <> with your own values.

https://<tenantname>.sharepoint.com/sites/<site collection title>/_layouts/15/download.aspx?SourceUrl=/sites/<site collection title>/<file path with the library name>



My completed URL looks like this.

https://matthewdevaney.sharepoint.com/sites/MatthewDevaneyBlog/_layouts/15/download.aspx?SourceUrl=/sites/MatthewDevaneyBlog/Exported PDFs/WorkOrder_20230423081046.pdf




Download The PDF Directly From Power Apps

Now that the Power Automate flow is completed go back to Power Apps Studio and add the Download PDF From Power Apps flow to the app.



Insert a save button icon in the top left corner of the PDF Viewer Screen.



Then add this code to the OnSelect property of the save icon. The Download function downloads a file from the internet to the user’s device. We get the file’s web address returned in the path property of the Download PDF From Power Apps flow.

Download(
    DownloadPDFFromPowerApps.Run(
        {
            name: $"WorkOrder_{Text(
                Now(),
                "yyyymmddhhmmss"
            )}.pdf",
            contentBytes: varWorkOrderPDF
        }
    ).path
);



Test the completed download PDF from Power Apps feature. It should work like this:





Questions?

If you have any questions or feedback about Power Apps PDF Function: Create, View & Download PDFs please leave a message in the comments section below. You can post using your email address and are not required to create an account to join the discussion.

Matthew Devaney

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André Moraes
André Moraes
10 months ago

I was going through your first PDF video last week and now you have an additional part that I was looking for.
Great stuff l, as always.
👍👍

Nic
Nic
10 months ago

You can create a multi-page PDF this way?!? You are blowing my mind right now! This is a game changer for me – I have been doing these annoying workarounds using Word templates, and trying to craft HTML for projects that require a “parent-child” relationship, so we don’t have to pay for the premium connector. If this really works to print multiple pages I am going to be so happy and owe you a coffee or a tea or a beer or something!!!

Lina Delgado
Lina Delgado
9 months ago

Question! So for multiple screen I have to create a PDF or can I wrap all together in just one?

@ram
@ram
10 months ago

Hi, Matthew Devaney!

How the power app pos application communicate with external peripherals like cash drawer/Line display?
Kindly advise me on this!

Last edited 10 months ago by @ram
@ram
@ram
10 months ago

I understood, but if you have any inputs kindly share them!

Eileen O'Reilly-Hoisington
Eileen O'Reilly-Hoisington
9 months ago

Good morning, I’m excited about using this, but I am getting this message:

Unable to process template language expressions in action ‘Create_file’ inputs at line ‘0’ and column ‘0’: ‘The template language expression ‘triggerBody()[‘file’][‘name’]’ cannot be evaluated because property ‘file’ cannot be selected. Please see https://aka.ms/logicexpressions for usage details.’.

Any ideas of what I am doing wrong?

Quynh Tran
Quynh Tran
9 months ago

I had the same issue, so I changed File Name to triggerBody()?[‘file’]?[‘name’] and File Content: triggerBody()?[‘file’]?[‘contentBytes’]; the flow ran successfully. Hope this helps.

Eduardo
9 months ago

As a mention Matthew, and additional, delete the trigger and added again, it works 😎

Anish
Anish
9 months ago

Download(
DownloadPDFFromPowerApps.Run(
{
name: $”WorkOrder_{Text(
Now(),
“yyyymmddhhmmss”
)}.pdf”,
contentBytes: varWorkOrderPDF
}
).path
);

Can u please explain me about this formula.

i try it but getting a error a value format in text???

Last edited 9 months ago by Anish
yzd
yzd
9 months ago

I have an issue with Arabic Language not being recognized while using PDF function. It is blank instead of the wording added by the users.

Ciro
Ciro
9 months ago

Hi, Matthew !
Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot !

narendra
narendra
9 months ago

triggerbody()[‘file’][‘name’].
written this expression in the create file column. But flow is getting failed.
What is the solution?

base
base
8 months ago

Matthew,
Do we need to create on PowerApps (V2) a NAME or can you explain bit more please? as this is not failing also when you say make it required what do you mean by that?
triggerBody()[‘file’][‘name’]

Access denied.

Last edited 8 months ago by base
Nic
Nic
9 months ago

I am actually building this out right now and would like to give my PDF file a name that is based on a variable I am storing in the app, instead of using “WorkOrder_” and then the current date/time. I am unsure of how to write the formula with this change.

In addition to the PDF File being passed as a parameter from the workflow, I also created a text parameter called “PlanNumber”. Here’s what I have so far:

Download(‘MyWorkflowName’.Run(varPlanNumber, {name:

Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

Nic
Nic
9 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Never mind – I figured it out after reviewing your post on $-strings to concatenate strings again to remind myself of how that works! Here was the formula that I used to get the file name to use the Plan Number of my record:

Download(
  ‘MyWorkflowName’.Run(
    {
    name: $”{varRecord.’Plan Number’}.pdf”, 
    contentBytes: varWorkOrderPDF
    }
    ).path
)

Derek Gray
Derek Gray
8 months ago
Reply to  Nic

I managed to name the file of the PDF using a variable of the record to save the name dynamically.

Lina Delgado
Lina Delgado
9 months ago

I enjoy doing this very much, the PDF part work like a charm but the save button part is giving me error, IDK what I’m doing wrong

Lina Delgado
Lina Delgado
9 months ago

Hello Matt! I appreciate this example, I was looking for something like this, but in the download still have problems, don’t know what to do 🙁

Steven
Steven
9 months ago

Hi Matthew!

Thank you for this informative and helpful PDF guide! I’m running into an error when selecting the save icon to run the Download function:

DownloadPDFFromPowerApps.Run failed: { “error”: { “code”: “TriggerInputSchemaMismatch”, “message”: “The input body for trigger ‘manual’ of type ‘Request’ did not match its schema definition. The input body is missing required schema properties. “}}

The parts of my OnSelect property that are underlined in red I have put in bold below

Download(
  DownloadPDFFromPowerApps.Run(
    {
      name: $”Videogame_{Text(
        Now(),
        “yyyymmddhhmmss”
      )}.pdf”,
      contentBytes: varVideogamePDF
    }
  ).path
);

Any input on this would be greatly appreciated!

Mustafa
Mustafa
6 months ago
Reply to  Steven

Hi, I had the same error, problem was the missing file property in my case
Download(
DownloadPDFFromPowerApps.Run(
{
file: {
name: $”Test_{Text(Now(), “yyyymmddhhmmss”)}.pdf”,
contentBytes: varPdf
}
}
).path
);

Shenal
Shenal
8 months ago

Thank you for this article. Super helpful. All was working fine yesterday but today it stopped showing the full container of the data and only provides one page. I made sure to include {ExpandContainers:true} but it still cuts the rest of the document off. There should be at least 2-3 more pages. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated. Thank you!

MIGUEL
8 months ago

Hi Matthew, is possible share the PDF created in the device?

Derek Gray
Derek Gray
8 months ago

Great tutorial I have used it to create a pdf report of an incident record and save it to the SharePoint document folder. Is it possible yet to be able do page formatting as my reports can be up to 6 pages long depending on the incident and how many details there are. What I am looking to do is a page header and footer details to show same details on each page and page 1 of 5 etc.

Elly Rivera
Elly Rivera
8 months ago

Hi, Thanks for this post. I created a canvas app that use PDF function to copy a screen that is 3 pages long, with expandcontainers option. It works perfect when is run from the https://make.powerapps.com/ environment, but fails to generate the 3 pages PDF when is run from the web link https://apps.powerapps.com/play/e/default… It only copies the first viewable page of the screen, creating a 1 page PDF. Any explanation?

Elly Rivera
Elly Rivera
8 months ago

Hi Matthew,

I imagined it was a bug, since the PDF function is an experimental feature.
Thanks for sharing your expertise with the developers community.
I continued testing and could resolve the problem. In return, I will share my experience:

The way the original screen (with the problem) was designed, used the Scrollable Screen with the Fluid Grid control, and the 3 pages content was added in multiple data cards inside this control. The application logic would create the PDF from the screen, with the ExpandContainers option. It worked perfect when was run from the https://make.powerapps.com/ environment, 
but failed to generate the 3 pages PDF when was run from the web link https://apps.powerapps.com/play/e/default…&nbsp;
It only copied the first viewable page of the screen, creating a 1 page PDF.

I read your post https://www.matthewdevaney.com/easy-power-apps-scrollable-screen-using-a-vertical-container/, so I tried to use the vertical container with text label controls, but the position of these controls was not flexible. For my use case, I needed the controls to be positioned like in a data card.

I read other references about using containers inside vertical containers.
That gave me the idea of placing the Fluid Grid with Data Cards inside the Vertical Container, then create the PDF from the Vertical Container with the ExpandContainers option.

Then voila! It works the same on both the development environment and the published version.

Ps: I take care of 10 cats!

Ansgar Honerkamp
Ansgar Honerkamp
8 months ago

Hi Matthew, great guide. However, I get an error at the point “Create file”: Unable to process template language expressions in action ‘Datei_erstellen’ inputs at line ‘0’ and column ‘0’: ‘The template language expression ‘triggerBody()[‘file’][‘contentBytes’]’ cannot be evaluated because property ‘file’ doesn’t exist, available properties are ‘.
What am I doing wrong here? Do I need to replace the ‘file’ and ‘name’ fields with fixed values (in code triggerBody()?[‘ file’]? [‘name’])?

Greetings from Germany, Ansgar

Ansgar Honerkamp
Ansgar Honerkamp
8 months ago

Hey Matthew,
I added a screenshot

Screenshot 2023-06-19 132305.png
Strobel Markus
Strobel Markus
8 months ago

You are such a killer ;D

Mark. A
Mark. A
8 months ago

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for the great walkthroughs!
I am having trouble with the last part.
I’ve included a screenshot of the problem.

Power app problem.JPG
Gennady
Gennady
7 months ago

Hi Matthew,

firstly, thank you very much for posting – this is indeed a demanded business case and very happy the community has you to unleash the core Power App life hacks 🤩👍👍
Is the PDF-function is also capable of multi-tab/ multi-screen forms (like here – Power Apps Tabbed Form With An Awesome-Looking Design (matthewdevaney.com), e.g. exporting each form tab/ page as separate PDF page?