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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.
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.
Now, create a new Grid view in your table called 'Needs PDF'. Add the following filters to this view:
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.
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.
On the create request screen in Data Fetcher, for Application, select 'Microlink'.
For Endpoint, select 'Create PDfs from URLs'.
Enter 'Import PDFs'' for the Name of your request. Then click 'Save & Continue' in the bottom right.
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.
On the modal that opens, select 'URL' for Field, 'Needs PDF' for Run for every record in view. Then click 'Confirm'.
URL will now contain a reference to the table.
Make sure the Output Table & View is set to 'PDFs' and 'Needs PDF'.
Click 'Save & 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 will then run the request for every record in 'To process' and convert the URLs into PDFs in Airtable.
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.
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'.
A new tab will open where you can select a plan and enter your payment details to upgrade.
Return to Data Fetcher and click 'I've done this'.
Click 'Add API key' and copy and paste your Airtable API key from here.
Then toggle Schedule this request.
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.
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.
Nov 18, 2022•