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How to display a PDF file in PHP from the database

In this article, you will learn how to display a PDF file on a webpage using PHP.

PDF is one of the most trusted document formats. PHP provides simple functionality to embed PDF files. It has a very simple implementation. Here, we have mentioned two ways to display PDFs on a web page. It depends on what you want to show. If you want to include a PDF as a subpart of a web page, use an iframe as described in Method1. If you want to make the PDF as a whole web content, then use the header() function as we mentioned in Method2.





Method 1

Suppose we have a 'infopdf' TABLE in the Database as follows. You can use your existing database or copy and paste this into MySQL.

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `infopdf` (
  `fileid` int(11) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `filename` varchar(150) NOT NULL,
  `directory` varchar(150) NOT NULL,
  `created_date` date NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`fileid`)
)
INSERT INTO `infopdf` (`fileid`, `filename`, `directory`, `created_date`) VALUES
(1, 'etp.pdf', '/document/', '2019-07-12');


Now, create a PHP file 'index.php' and write the database connection code at the top. For this, we are using Object Oriented PHP MySQLi connection code. Then, fetch the pdf file name and directory using the select statement. To embed the PDF on a web page, we use the iframe element.

<?php
// Database Connection 
$conn = new mysqli('hostname', 'username', 'password', 'database');
//Check for connection error
$select = "SELECT * FROM `infopdf`";
$result = $conn->query($select);
while($row = $result->fetch_object()){
  $pdf = $row->filename;
  $path = $row->directory;
  $date = $row->created_date;
}

echo '<h1>Here is the information PDF</h1>';
echo '<strong>Created Date : </strong>'.$date;
echo '<strong>File Name : </strong>'.$pdf;
?>
<br/><br/>
<iframe src="<?php echo $path.$pdf; ?>" width="90%" height="500px">
</iframe>

Here is the PDF file displayed on the webpage that is fetched from the MySQL database table using the PHP code:

How to display PDF file in PHP from database



Method 2

In the above method, we have embedded a PDF in an iframe. This is basically used when we have to show a pdf in addition to the web contents. But if you want to display PDF as the whole content of a webpage, then it's better to use the header() function. In this below example, we have added header() function and set the file 'Content-type', 'Content-Disposition', and 'Content-Transfer-Encoding'. We have used the PHP predefined readfile() function to read the file and added an error control operator (@) in front of it. When this operator pretends to an expression, any error or warning that might be generated by this expression will be ignored.

<?php
// Database Connection 
$conn = new mysqli('hostname', 'username', 'password', 'database');
//Check for connection error
$select = "SELECT * FROM `infopdf`";
$result = $conn->query($select);
while($row = $result->fetch_object()){
  $pdf = $row->filename;
  $path = $row->directory;
  $date = $row->created_date;
  $file = $path.$pdf;
}
// Add header to load pdf file
header('Content-type: application/pdf'); 
header('Content-Disposition: inline; filename="' .$file. '"'); 
header('Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary'); 
header('Accept-Ranges: bytes'); 
@readfile($file);  
?>

Here is the PDF file displayed on the webpage that is fetched from the MySQL database table using the PHP code:

How to display PDF file in PHP from database



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