Commerce includes the option to create any number of order PDFs that can be downloaded from the control panel or included in status emails.

You can manage these PDFs in the control panel visiting CommerceSystem SettingsPDFs.

Each PDF consists of basic naming details and a Twig template to be rendered on demand with Dompdf (opens new window), which translates your template’s output into a PDF file.

# Creating a PDF

Commerce does not include any PDFs by default. To add one, visit CommerceSystem SettingsPDFs, and choose New PDF.

You’ll need to enter a few details:

  • Name is whatever you’d like to call the PDF in the control panel.
  • Handle is a reference to be used in templates.
  • Description is an optional note for explaining the template’s layout or purpose.
  • PDF Template Path should point to the Twig template that should be used for rendering the PDF file. (Add the receipt example template (opens new window) here if you’d like to see one in action.)
  • Order PDF Filename Format determines what the generated filename should look like. It can include tags for outputting order properties such as {number} or {myOrderCustomField}. (A .pdf extension will automatically be appended so you don’t need to add it here.)
  • Language lets you designate the language to be used when the PDF is rendered. It defaults to “The language the order was made in”, and a dropdown first lists site languages and then those available to the system.
  • Enabled? can be used to quickly toggle the PDF and control whether it’s available and sent in emails configured to use it.
  • Default Order PDF will appear only when you’re editing an additional or non-default PDF. Select this checkbox to make the current template the new default when you save it.

Once you’ve saved an enabled template, you’ll immediately be able to use it in the control panel and configure emails to utilize it.

# Downloading a PDF

Once at least one PDF is enabled, you can download it from the control panel’s order listing or any order detail page.

Visit CommerceOrders. Check one or more orders in the list and press Download PDF… at the top of the page. Choose your desired PDF format and whether you’d prefer a ZIP file containing your document(s) or a single, collated PDF.

You can also click any order and choose Download PDF from the top right corner of its detail page. If multiple PDFs are available, the main button will download the default PDF and include a dropdown menu for selecting whichever PDF format you’d like.

# Including a PDF in an Order Email

You can automatically attach a copy of a PDF in order emails.

Create a new order status email or select an existing one. You’ll see your new PDF(s) available in the PDF Attachment field. Select whichever PDF you’d like, choose Save, and that PDF will be included along with the email when it’s sent.

# Creating PDF Templates

It might be easiest to start by modifying the example receipt template (opens new window), previewing it in a browser for convenience until things are mostly as you’d like them.

Avoid extending your regular site layouts for PDF templates, since your site most likely includes references to scripts and styles that may cause issues with PDF conversion.

Regardless of how you work, be sure to test your template by downloading an actual rendered PDF from an order page.

The following config settings can be used for customizing PDF output:

# Templating Tips

Creating a PDF template is similar to building HTML intended for an email client: the output constraints are far more limiting than those of modern web browsers. You’ll have the same power you’re used to with Craft Twig templates, but it’s important to aim for markup that translates well into a PDF file.

There’s no correct way to build a PDF template, but the following tips should help.

# Limit Complexity

Simple templates work best. Images, custom fonts, and nuanced styling are likely to require careful work for optimal rendering and performance.

In general:

  • Limit image processing.
  • Avoid excessively complex markup and high tag counts.
  • Don’t over-use images, and wherever possible rely on jpeg or svg formats with physical dimensions as close as possible to their intended/final display size.
  • Limit image use to the following formats since Dompdf will ignore any others: gif, png, jpeg, bmp, svg.

# Careful with External References

It’s best to keep whatever you can in the template itself. Styles, for example, are most reliable and performant embedded within a <style> tag rather than an external .css file.

The @font-face declaration is supported, but you’ll want to ensure the font itself is rendered properly. (Dompdf attempts to cache font files from remote URLs and can use local fonts in a special folder which requires more setup.)

If you’re seeing missing or incorrect characters (i.e. or ) where you didn’t expect them, make sure your template specifies the correct content type and charset:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>

The pdfAllowRemoteImages setting is false by default, so any images in your templates must be provided with data URLs:

{# base64-encoded SVG image works when `pdfAllowRemoteImages` is `false` #}
<img width="75" height="75" src="{{ dataUrl('@webroot/images/store-logo.svg') }}" alt="Store logo"/>

Enabling pdfAllowRemoteImages will make it possible to utilize image URLs in your templates, but you’ll likely need to experiment with URLs that work for your environment and Dompdf version.

# Beware Dompdf Caching

Dompdf independently caches references to images and fonts when it finds them. This can sometimes be confusing and explain differences between different environments.

# Customizing PDF Rendering

Commerce ships with limited configuration options for Dompdf, but exposes beforeRenderPdf and afterRenderPdf events you can use to control over how PDFs are ultimately rendered. You can use them to customize Dompdf’s options and output or even skip Dompdf altogether and render PDFs however you’d prefer.