Using scripting to fill editable PDF with data from Airtable, but no way to do anything with the output

Topic Labels: Scripting extentions
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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Airtable forms are not sufficient for my client’s need. There are several complex editable PDFs which they need populated from Airtable bases, but the scripting app questioningly denies access to the DOM (which is at least documented), but also the BOM (not documented). I can successfully populate the PDFs, but I can’t do anything with the stream. It would be great if I could open a browser window and dump it there, but without BOM access that is not doable. Any ideas to get around this report generation miss that Airtable has?

5 Replies 5
8 - Airtable Astronomer
8 - Airtable Astronomer

Different ways to do it:

  • Call a google apps script that generates a PDF based on google docs
  • PdfMonkey
  • Documint
  • Formstack

Depending on what you´re looking for, integrating those tools may work for you.
If this reply fixed your problem, please mark it as a solution :white_check_mark:

Welcome to the Airtable community!

It sounds like you are an experienced developer. As you’ve noticed, the Airtable scripting environment has many limitations.

In general, any output that cannot be displayed as text needs to be sent to a 3rd party service. Fortunately, you can connect to a wide variety of API from an Airtable script. The trick is finding an API that will accept the input you have, generate the output you desire, and work with the limitations required by Airtable, all for a price point you can afford.

For example, you could look for a service that will accept your stream and and return a url for a file. Then you can display a markdown link to the file in scripting app, or upload the file to an attachment field.

You can also look into creating a custom app. Custom apps have fewer limitations than scripting, although there still are significant limitations.

The problem with most services that create PDF files for Airtable (FormStack, Documint, etc) is that you must create the template within the third party service; you cannot start with an existing pdf file. A workaround is to convert the editable PDFs into images and create a new document with the images as backgrounds and layer text on top of the images. The pdf will not be “filled in” but it will have the appearance of being filled in to a human user.

You are right. The only service I found which accepts fillable and PDFs return them as well is

Welcome to the Airtable community @Jaroslav_Vrba !

Do you have experience using pdffiller with Airtable scripting? If so, please share. The API pricing seems rather high—$500/month—unless I am missing something.

No. I am using to populate PDFfiller fields from Airtable.