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How to Convert URLs to PDFs in Airtable

Feb 4, 2022Andy Cloke

In this easy-to-follow tutorial you'll learn how to convert URLs to PDFs in Airtable. We'll use the Microlink API to convert URLs to PDFs and the free Data Fetcher extension for Airtable. This tutorial is 100% no-code!

The PDFs we generate will be stored in an attachment field in your Airtable base.

Create PDFs Table

In your Airtable base, create a table called 'PDFs'.

Create a field called 'URL' with type 'URL' in the table. Add the URLs you want to convert into PDFs, one in each record. If you already have a table of URLs, you can use that instead.

Add a new field called 'PDF' with type 'Attachment'. This is where our created PDFs will be stored.

microlink pdf table

Now, create a new Grid view in your table called 'Needs PDF'. Add the following filters to this view:

  • The 'URL' field is not empty.
  • The 'PDF' field is empty.
microlink pdf needs pdf view

Install Data Fetcher

Add Data Fetcher to your base from the Airtable marketplace. Data Fetcher is a free-to-use extension that enables us to connect to services like Microlink, Webflow and Stripe and import various types of data to Airtable.

After you have added Data Fetcher to your base, you will need to create a free Data Fetcher account. Enter a password and click 'Sign up for free' or click 'Continue with Google'. Signing up for an account keeps your details secure. Data Fetcher is separate to your Airtable account.

If you already have a Data Fetcher account, then sign in using the button on the bottom left of the screen.

Sign Up to Data Fetcher

Convert URLs to PDFs in Airtable

Once you've signed up for a Data Fetcher account, you will be redirected to the Data Fetcher home screen. Click 'Create your first request' to go to the create request screen.

Graphic showing how to create your first request

On the create request screen in Data Fetcher, for Application, select 'Microlink'.

microlink application endpoint

For Endpoint, select 'Create PDfs from URLs'.

microlink pdf endpoint

Enter 'Import PDFs'' for the Name of your request. Then click 'Save & Continue' in the bottom right.

microlink pdf save and continue

For URL, we want to insert a reference to our 'URL' field. This means when we run the request, it will use the values from our 'URL' field in Airtable. First, click the + button on the right-hand side of the URL input.

microlink url add icon

On the modal that opens, select 'URL' for Field, 'Needs PDF' for Run for every record in view. Then click 'Confirm'.

microlink pdf url reference modal

URL will now contain a reference to the table.

Reference to Data Fetcher Table

Make sure the Output Table & View is set to 'PDFs' and 'Needs PDF'.

microlink pdf output table view

Click 'Save & Run'.

microlink save and run

Next, you need to configure how the available fields from Microlink map to fields in the output table. The Response field mapping modal will open automatically, enabling you to do this. Click 'filter all' to remove any pre-selected fields and use the find field search bar to find the fields you want to import. 

Make sure the 'PDF' field is mapped to the 'PDF' field we created earlier. Then click 'Save & Run'.

Data Fetcher Mapping

Data Fetcher will then run the request for every record in 'To process' and convert the URLs into PDFs in Airtable.

Data Fetcher Output table

Note: Microlink's free plan includes limits on how many times you can use it. You can buy a Microlink paid plan here, which will give you a Microlink API key. Back in Data Fetcher, set the Authorization type to 'Header' and enter your API Key to increase your limit.

microlink authorization using API

Convert URLs to PDFs on a Schedule

Every time you click 'Run' on the create request screen, the URLs will be converted to PDFs. To avoid having to do this, you can use Data Fetcher's scheduled requests feature. This means the request will automatically run on the schedule that you select, e.g. once per hour. This works even if you're not logged into Data Fetcher or Airtable.

This is a paid feature, so you need to upgrade. In Data Fetcher, scroll to Schedule and click 'Upgrade'.

schedule upgrade button

A new tab will open where you can select a plan and enter your payment details to upgrade.

Data Fetcher Plan Upgrade

Return to Data Fetcher and click 'I've done this'.

ive done this

Click 'Add API key' and copy and paste your Airtable API key from here.

Add API Key

Click 'Save'.

save airtable api key

Then toggle Schedule this request.

schedule-data-fetcher-request.png

Select how often you want the request to run, e.g. 'Every Hour'. Click 'Save' and the request will now create the PDFs from URLs automatically on your chosen schedule.

job-listings-schedule.png

Why Convert URL to PDF in Airtable?

Converting URLs to PDFs allows you to download web pages for offline use. It also lets you capture a version of a webpage at a particular time. For individual web pages/ URLs, you can use your browser. When you have lots of web pages/ URLs to process, it's easier to do it in Airtable using the above steps.

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