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How to Create PDFs from URLs in Airtable

Feb 4, 2022Andy Cloke

In this guide, you'll learn to convert URLs into PDFs in Airtable. To do this, we'll use the Data Fetcher Airtable extension along with the Microlink service. The created PDFs will be stored in an attachment field in your Airtable base.

Create PDFs Table

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.

Create a field called 'PDF' with type 'Attachment'. This is where our created PDFs are going to be stored.

microlink pdf table.png

Create a new Grid view in the 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.png

Install Data Fetcher

Add Data Fetcher to your base from the Airtable marketplace. This is a free extension that lets us connect to services like Microlink, Webflow and Stripe within 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. It's separate from your Airtable account.

Group 1Data Fetcher Sign Up .png

Create PDFs from URLs in Airtable

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

click-create-your-first-request.png

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

microlink-application-selected.png

For Endpoint, select 'Create PDfs from URLs'.

microlink pdf endpoint.png

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

microlink pdf save continue.png

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.png

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.png

URL should now contain a reference to the table.

microlink pdf url reference.png

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

microlink pdf output table view.png

Click 'Save & Run'.

microlink pdf save run.png

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 where you can do this.

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

microlink pdf fm.png

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

microlink imported pdf.png

Note: Microlink's free plan does have limits on how much 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.png

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'.

table-1-schedule-upgrade-button.png

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

Screenshot 2021-12-29 at 10.25.19.png

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

table-1-schedule-ive-done-this-button.png

Click 'Add API key' in order to add your Airtable API key. You can find your Airtable API key here.

Group 11(1).png

Enter your Airtable API key and click 'Save'.

save-airtable-api-key.png

Enable Schedule this request.

schedule-data-fetcher-request.png

Select how often you want the request to run, e.g. 'Every 15 mins'. Click 'Save' The request will now create the PDFs from URLs automatically on a schedule.

Group 11(2).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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microlinkScreenshot