A modern business environment thrives on efficient and flexible ways to store, present, and exchange data. One such versatile format is the Portable Document Format (PDF), which is ubiquitous in various industries for its convenience. This article will delve into the world of PDFs, particularly how they intertwine with Salesforce, a leading customer relationship management platform. We’ll explore the various options available to generate PDFs in Salesforce and highlight five of the best apps to generate PDFs.

What is PDF?

PDF, or Portable Document Format, is a file format developed by Adobe in the 1990s. The purpose behind its inception was to present documents, including text formatting and images, independent of software, hardware, or operating systems. PDF files can encapsulate a wide variety of document types— from text, images, and tables to audio, video, and 3D models—into a fixed-layout document.

One of the key advantages of PDFs is their portability and consistent viewing experience. PDF files maintain their format and design irrespective of the device or software used to view them, which ensures the document’s integrity and consistency. PDFs also support advanced features like interactive forms, encryption, digital signatures, annotations, and more.

Options to Generate PDF in Salesforce

In the Salesforce environment, generating PDFs can be achieved in several ways. Here are some popular options:

  1. Render as PDF: This option is primarily available in Visualforce, a markup language provided by Salesforce, allowing developers to define custom pages with a “controller” logic. To generate a PDF, you can use the <apex:page> tag with the attribute renderAs="pdf" in your Visualforce page. This method works well for dynamically generating PDFs from data available in Salesforce.
  2. Use of Salesforce APIs: The Salesforce APIs, such as the REST API and the SOAP API, allow external systems to generate PDFs using Salesforce data. These APIs can retrieve the data and generate PDFs using server-side libraries.
  3. Third-Party Apps: Salesforce’s robust ecosystem includes a plethora of apps available on AppExchange, Salesforce’s enterprise cloud marketplace. These apps provide various functionalities, including generating PDFs with varying degrees of customization, automation, and ease.

Top 5 Apps for Generating PDFs in Salesforce

Modern business environments call for dynamic, flexible solutions for data storage, presentation, and exchange. Portable Document Format (PDF) is one such solution, widely adopted for its inherent convenience and flexibility. Salesforce, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform, allows businesses to generate PDFs in various ways. Today, we’re delving deeper into the realm of Salesforce’s AppExchange, exploring the top five apps for generating PDFs.

Conga Composer

Starting off our list is Conga Composer, one of the most comprehensive and versatile tools available on Salesforce’s AppExchange. This tool enables users to create and distribute elaborate documents, presentations, and reports in multiple formats, including PDFs.

Conga Composer leverages Salesforce’s data, allowing you to dynamically pull data from any standard or custom object in Salesforce. This functionality can be instrumental in creating intricate reports, invoices, and even contract agreements directly from your Salesforce records.

What sets Conga Composer apart is its vast customization capability. With a bit of knowledge about Salesforce and the tool itself, you can set conditional rules, use complex formulas, and generate intricately nested tables within your documents. This feature grants you the flexibility to tailor documents according to your specific requirements. In addition, Conga Composer also supports bulk actions, enabling the mass generation and distribution of documents.

Adobe Sign

As a leading brand in the realm of PDFs, Adobe has developed Adobe Sign, an app available on AppExchange that allows users to create, send, sign, and manage documents directly within Salesforce. Beyond its primary function of facilitating e-signatures, Adobe Sign can also generate PDF documents, leveraging the power of Adobe’s PDF technology.

Adobe Sign’s integration with Salesforce allows you to convert documents into PDFs and share them for digital signatures. This functionality can significantly streamline processes that involve contract management, HR onboarding, and more. It offers user-friendly, intuitive features, like drag-and-drop signature and form fields, making converting documents into signable PDFs easier.

Formstack Documents

Formstack Documents, formerly WebMerge, is a powerful tool for automating document generation. It can populate custom-designed templates with Salesforce data, dynamically creating PDFs, Word, Excel, and even PowerPoint files.

With Formstack Documents, you can design your templates using a rich-text document builder or by uploading your own Office, PDF, or image files. The app merges your Salesforce data into these templates, delivering the final document via various methods such as email, cloud storage, or direct download. Formstack Documents also supports conditional logic, enabling you to control the document content based on the data.

DocuSign Gen for Salesforce

DocuSign Gen is another holistic tool for generating documents. This app goes beyond the generation of PDFs and introduces the functionality of e-signatures, facilitating an end-to-end solution for agreements and contracts.

What makes DocuSign Gen stand out is its ease of use. The user-friendly interface and pre-built and customizable templates make generating agreements a breeze. You can generate a document with a single click from any record, including opportunities, quotes, and custom objects. The seamless integration with Salesforce allows you to use the generated PDFs in various workflows and automate processes.


Last but not least is S-Docs, a native Salesforce document generation tool that has been designed with speed and efficiency in mind. It’s renowned for its lightning-fast document generation engine that can swiftly create a variety of intricate documents, including quotes, proposals, invoices, and more in numerous formats, among which PDFs are a significant part. Whether you’re looking to generate individual documents or carry out batch operations, S-Docs can facilitate both with unparalleled agility.

One of the defining features of S-Docs is its seamless integration with Salesforce. As it is 100% native to Salesforce, it offers an advantage in terms of data security and compliance. All data used for document generation stays within the Salesforce environment, reducing the risks associated with data transfer. Being native means it can access all standard and custom objects directly, enabling real-time data pulling for document generation.

What makes S-Docs even more user-friendly is its no-code functionality. Users across an organization can leverage its intuitive template editor to create or modify templates without needing any coding knowledge. Additionally, the tool supports conditional formatting, which means your generated documents can be tailored precisely according to the underlying data. This combination of speed, integration, ease of use, and flexibility makes S-Docs a robust solution for businesses aiming to streamline their Salesforce document generation process.

I hope you find this article helpful. I would love to hear from you! Share your tips in the comments!

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