Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Export your APEX Interactive Report to PDF

Interactive Reports (and Grids in 5.1) are one of the nicest features of Oracle Application Express (APEX) as it allows an end-user to look at the data the way they want, without needing a developer to change the underlying code. End-users can show or hide columns, do calculations on columns, filter etc.

Here's an example of an interactive report where highlighting, computation and aggregation is used.

More than once I get the question, how can I export this to PDF or print this Interactive Report?

Here're 3 ways of doing this:

1. Use your browser to Print to PDF

The challenge here's that you would need to add some specific CSS to get rid of the items you don't want to be printed, e.g. the menu, the header and footer and some other components like buttons.
Also if you have many columns, they might not fit on the page and the highlighting is not working when printed, but if you can live with that, it might be an option for you.

Here's the CSS you can use:

@media print {

  .t-Body-nav {

2. Use the download feature of the Interactive Report itself (Actions > Download > PDF)

This feature is build-in APEX and relies on a print server supporting XSL-FO; when using ORDS it will automatically work. If you're using Apache, you will need to configure a print server like BI Publisher or Apache-FOP.

When downloading to PDF, the result looks like this:

The PDF contains the data and we can specify a header, footer and how the columns look like, but we lost many features of the Interactive Report; no highlighting, no computation or aggregation.

3. Use APEX Office Print to print the Interactive Report in your own template defined in MS Word.

One of the unique features of APEX Office Print is that it's tightly integrated with Oracle Application Express and that it understands Interactive Reports as the source of your data.

Here're the steps:

- Create your template in MS Word and add {&interactive} tag where you want the Interactive Report to be

- Give your Interactive Report a static id:

- Add the APEX Office Print Process Plugin to your page and specify the template and the static id: 

And here's the result: 

I'm biased as we created APEX Office Print (AOP), but I just find it awesome :)
In your Word template you just add one tag, that's it!

In all seriousness, we would really want to hear from you if this feature works for your Interactive Report. You can try AOP for free for 100 days. We're trying to be smart and are doing automatic calculations of the column width, but we probably can improve it even more. We introduced this feature with AOP v2.0 (MAR-16) and improved it in v2.1 (MAY-16).


raj sai said...

Thanks for Information.

I have a question in this topic: Does APEX have a limit column for PDF files?
For suppose if i have more than 10 columns in pdf report , report shows error message.
Some times data looks merged with other columns it is not showing properly.
But in crystal reports, it is showing good.

Dimitri Gielis said...

Hi Raj sai,

Which option did you go with to produce your PDF and in which you have issues?
The standard APEX PDF export?


Shubhadeep Chandra said...

Hi Dimitri,

I have a interactive report having more than 40 column and it errors out but when i change to 10 columns or so its works fine.

In the manage instance setting for PDF printing its currently setup as " APEX Listener".

Can you please share you feedback?


Shubhadeep Chandra said...

Hi Dimitri,

I am too facing the same situation if i try printing a IR in PDF having more than 40 columns errors out in PDF but CSV/HTML works fine.

Current settings in Manage Instance Settings in Admin is set to "APEX Listener" for PDF printing to enable PDF priting.

Can you please confirm?


praveen chaudhary said...

Hi Dimitri,

Please suggest on this .
Is this a APEX limitation .
I am unable to download PDF reports which are having more that 25 columns

Dimitri Gielis said...

Hi Praveen,

It looks like APEX default reporting has a limit.
APEX Office Print should work fine with more columns.

Hope that helps,