Print to a file using reports

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How can I print directly to a file such as PDF or Postscript?

Using capabilities of your report engine

Some report engines that are often used with Visual DataFlex have native support for generating the report as a file using the PDF format. Examples are:

  1. Crystal Reports can save a report to a PDF file
  2. VPE has this capability
  3. List&Label includes a PDF engine

Using WinPDF Pro

The example below uses WinPDF Pro printer driver for the PDF generation, Winprint (or at least the report object in VDF) for the reporting and MAPI for sending the mails directly. Note that each invoice in this example is printed individually.

Pardon the jumbled looking code, but with Win2PDF pro you can do the following:

 function JumpStartReport string sInvoice boolean bEmail string sEmailAddress returns boolean
    boolean bExists bMailed
    integer iToPrinter iRepObj iHr iMn iRetval
    string  sVal sDateTime sHr sMn sSetupFile sPath sFilename
    string  sKey sSubKey sOldRegRoot sOldRegBranch sCurrentDevice sMessage
    handle  hoMapiSession
    dWord   dWWSecurityOptions  dWWFileOptions dRetVal
    date    dToday
    get Report_Object_Id To iRepObj
    set pSelStart1 of iRepObj To sInvoice
    set pSelStop1  of iRepObj To sInvoice
    if (bEmail) ;
        set OutPut_Device_Mode to PRINT_TO_PRINTER_NO_DIALOG
    else        ;
        set OutPut_Device_Mode to PRINT_TO_PRINTER
    if (bEmail) begin
        move ("Please find attached your invoice" * sInvoice + ".") to sMessage
        get  DFGetCurrentDevice of iRepObj to sCurrentDevice
        send DFSetDevice        of iRepObj    "Win2PDF"
        get psHome of (phoWorkspace(ghoApplication))          to sPath
        move (sPath + "Documents\")                           to sPath
        move ("Invoice_" + sInvoice + ".pdf")                 to sFilename
        Get_Registry_Root                                     to sOldRegRoot sOldRegBranch
        move "Dane Prairie Systems"                           to sKey
        move "Win2PDF"                                        to sSubKey
        Set_Registry_Root                                     to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE "SOFTWARE"
        Set_Foreign_Profile_String sKey sSubKey "PDFFileName" to (sPath + sFilename)
        Set_Foreign_Profile_String sKey sSubKey "PDFTitle"    to ("Invoice " + sInvoice)
        Set_Foreign_Profile_String sKey sSubKey "PDFAuthor"   to "Calendar Invoicing"
        Set_Foreign_Profile_String sKey sSubKey "PDFSubject"  to ("Calendar Invoice")
        Set_Registry_Root                                     to sOldRegRoot sOldRegBranch
        //Get CheckFileExists sFileName to bExists
        //If (bExists) Set pbOrgCopyPrinted to TRUE
    end // if (bEmail) begin
    send Run_Report to iRepObj
    if (NOT(bEmail)) procedure_return
    // restore the print device
    send DFSetDevice of iRepObj sCurrentDevice
    // gotta have it
    move oMapiSession to hoMapiSession
    //showln hoMapiSession
    if (NOT(hoMapiSession > 0)) begin
        send Stop_Box "Unable to email invoice."
    send DoInit          of hoMapiSession
    set psMessageSubject of hoMapiSession to ("Daffie Duck Invoice" * sInvoice)
    set psMessageText    of hoMapiSession to sMessage
    send DoAddReceiver   of hoMapiSession MAPI_TO (trim(sEmailAddress)) "" "" 0
    send DoAddAttachment of hoMapiSession (sPath + sFilename) sFilename
    get Logon            of hoMapiSession "" "" 0 to iRetval
    //showln iRetval
    get SendMail         of hoMapiSession (MAPI_NEW_SESSION IOR MAPI_LOGON_UI) TRUE to iRetval
    showln (sInvoice * trim(sEmailAddress) * string(iRetval))
    move (iRetval = 0) to bMailed
    get Logoff           of hoMapiSession to iRetval
    function_return bMailed
 end_function // JumpStartReport


Not VDF code, but a code sample that you can use to model against (or use it by wrapping it in a small .net binary)

Using Acrobat

Acrobat Reader is the original product for reading PDF documents. The product for creating PDF documents is distiller.

If you want to use the Reader component to print an existing document, then beware that it has been reported that the activeX control doesn't get properly released from memory. Last version that did this properly was version 4. Unfortunately newer versions are getting more bloated with each release.

Using xpdf

Over at you can find the xpdfprint component. The xpdf engine is one of the more common ways of rendering your PDF documents on unix/linux environment. This is a stable component for print and for 'overlaying' text on print time (so without ammending the PDF)

Using List&Label

List and Label can be used as your Report Engine in VDF, see also

L&L includes a royalty free designer that you can distribute with your app and which is able to write to a variety of file formats including PDF, Excel and HTML as well as printing directly to your printer (of course)

Using PDFCreator

You may also want to take a look at PDFCreator -- a freeware PDF printer app that works great, and although I haven't done so, I believe it could be incorporated for use from a vdf program

AloahaPDF Studio

AloahaPDF Studio can be used for amending protected PDF's. Also for signing PDF's


PDFSplitMerge from Guangming Software can be used for splitting and merging of PDF documents.


Starting with a PDF that has form fields, for example created with Adobe Live Cycle Designer.

You can do the following with a VDF14 program: 1. Create an XML file (or stream) with the data for the form 2. Imports the data into the PDF form shell producing a new filled and flattened PDF form (uses CutePDF SDK u$250 per server)

CutePDF can also be used to export data to XML or XFDF or FDF

External Links

OT: Print to a File

Print to a PDF document

Lot's of PDF information