A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Monday, August 16, 2004

Printing Reports in PDF format with Oracle Applications

This post explains how you can modify an Oracle Applications report output format so that it displays as a PDF document. It also outlines how to fix a recent error I received when trying to generate PDF reports.

Oracle Applications allows you to print your reports in a variety of formats. To change the report output format you will need to have access to system administrator responsibility and navigate as follows: - Concurrent > Program > Define. Using the Query or find facilities retrieve the report name you would like to print in PDF format. In the “Output” area of the form as displayed in Fig.1 you will notice a drop down box which gives you the following options: -

  • HTML
  • PCL (HP’s Printer Control Language)
  • PDF
  • PostScript
  • Text
  • XML

It should be noted that if you choose HTML or PDF as the output type with Oracle Reports Programmes, you should use a printer driver that handles HTML or PDF files. Selecting PDF as the format output will ensure that the next time you print the report and view the output, it generates in PDF format (you will only be able to view it if you have Acrobat PDF Reader installed on your PC).

Figure 1: How to modify your report output format to print a PDF Document

Click to view an enlarged image of where you should choose the report output format

Personally, I quite like this option to view output in a PDF document type since it looks a lot “prettier” than looking at the report in plain text or HTML format. You also have the option of saving a copy of the file to your local PC in much the save way as you could save the text or HTML output locally.

One thing I would like to know from any readers that have utilised this feature is whether it’s possible to make use of the security features of Acrobat (such as controlling content copying or extraction) within Oracle Applications so that when the report is generated you have control over the content and form of the document.

Fixing an error received on PDF generation

Last week I received a bizarre error message when trying to view the output of a report whose format was PDF. The error message was - File does not begin with ‘%PDF-’. Considering I was not encountering this message when using other PC’s it became clear to me that the problem was related specifically to my PC. A quick search on Metalink revealed note 206727.1 which made me realise that somewhere along the line I needed to change my browser settings for Internet Explorer. I made the following changes to my brower options which rectified the problem.

Selected Tools > Internet Options > General tab > Settings. Under “Check for newer versions of stored pages” there were four possible selections: -

  • Every visit to the page
  • Every time you start Internet Explorer
  • Automatically
  • Never

I had “Every visit to the page” selected and discovered that choosing any of the other three options would now successfully generate my PDF report within IE when choosing to view report output.