Generate a PDF and Attach it to record from a trigger in Salesforce — SOAP webservice

The reason you stumbled upon this post is because you tried using the .getContentAsPdf() method in a trigger and you got an error message stating you cannot use it in a trigger. So you tried to search and figure out as to how you could do it.

I had faced a similar issue when a task was given to me attach a pdf(which would be automatically created) when a record is created. Inititally I thought its quite simple and accepted it. But when I actually started coding, I became aware of the issues with this requirement.

Well, I googled for a while and came across a post (unfortunately, I could not find it now) which had the solution to this problem, but the guy had not posted the code to demonstrate. So I thought I could share the code in a post as this could help someone.

Here you go:
Step 1: create a class and include a webservice method that will generate the pdf and attach it to a record
Step 2: Generate the WSDL from this class.
Step 3: Generate a class from the WSDL you just created. (step 2 and 3 are a little wierd, but believe me it works)
Step 4: Create a class which has future Method (with callout=true). This future method will call the stub which you just created from the WSDL.
Step 5: Finally create a trigger that will call this future method.

If you find any better way of doing this please do let me know.

In this scenario I will create a account and a pdf will be attached to it after the insert.

First lets create the VF page to generate the pdf, a simple one. Lets call it, pdfRenderPage

<apex:page standardController="Account" renderAs="pdf">

Hey, the Account name is {!account.Name}


The webservice class, After you save this class, you can see a generate WSDL button. click on it and save the WSDL file

global class AddPdfToRecord{

    webservice static void addPDF(list<id> accountIds){
		//Instantiate a list of attachment object
        list<attachment> insertAttachment = new list<attachment>();
        for(Id accId: accountIds){
			//create a pageReference instance of the VF page.
            pageReference pdf = Page.pdfRenderPage;
			//pass the Account Id parameter to the class.
            Attachment attach = new Attachment();
            Blob body;
                body = pdf.getContent();
            attach.Body = body;
            attach.Name = 'pdfName'+accId+'.pdf';
            attach.IsPrivate = false;
            attach.ParentId = accId;//This is the record to which the pdf will be attached
		 //insert the list
         insert insertAttachment;

Now, consume the WSDL that you just generate. Go to Setup->App Setup-> Develop-> Apex Classes and click on Generate from WSDL. Load the WSDL file and name the class as ‘addPDFStub’.

//Generated by wsdl2apex

public class addPDFStub {
    public class LogInfo {
        public String category;
        public String level;
        private String[] category_type_info = new String[]{'category','','LogCategory','1','1','false'};
        private String[] level_type_info = new String[]{'level','','LogCategoryLevel','1','1','false'};
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{'category','level'};
    public class AllowFieldTruncationHeader_element {
        public Boolean allowFieldTruncation;
        private String[] allowFieldTruncation_type_info = new String[]{'allowFieldTruncation','','boolean','1','1','false'};
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{'allowFieldTruncation'};
    public class DebuggingHeader_element {
        public addPDFStub.LogInfo[] categories;
        public String debugLevel;
        private String[] categories_type_info = new String[]{'categories','','LogInfo','0','-1','false'};
        private String[] debugLevel_type_info = new String[]{'debugLevel','','LogType','1','1','false'};
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{'categories','debugLevel'};
    public class CallOptions_element {
        public String client;
        private String[] client_type_info = new String[]{'client','','string','1','1','false'};
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{'client'};
    public class SessionHeader_element {
        public String sessionId;
        private String[] sessionId_type_info = new String[]{'sessionId','','string','1','1','false'};
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{'sessionId'};
    public class addPDFResponse_element {
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{};
    public class DebuggingInfo_element {
        public String debugLog;
        private String[] debugLog_type_info = new String[]{'debugLog','','string','1','1','false'};
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{'debugLog'};
    public class addPDF_element {
        public String[] accountIds;
        private String[] accountIds_type_info = new String[]{'accountIds','','ID','0','-1','true'};
        private String[] apex_schema_type_info = new String[]{'','true','false'};
        private String[] field_order_type_info = new String[]{'accountIds'};
    public class AddPdfToRecord {
        public String endpoint_x = 'https://'+URL.getSalesforceBaseUrl().getHost()+'/services/Soap/class/AddPdfToRecord';
        public Map<String,String> inputHttpHeaders_x;
        public Map<String,String> outputHttpHeaders_x;
        public String clientCertName_x;
        public String clientCert_x;
        public String clientCertPasswd_x;
        public Integer timeout_x;
        public addPDFStub.CallOptions_element CallOptions;
        public addPDFStub.AllowFieldTruncationHeader_element AllowFieldTruncationHeader;
        public addPDFStub.SessionHeader_element SessionHeader;
        public addPDFStub.DebuggingHeader_element DebuggingHeader;
        public addPDFStub.DebuggingInfo_element DebuggingInfo;
        private String CallOptions_hns = 'CallOptions=';
        private String AllowFieldTruncationHeader_hns = 'AllowFieldTruncationHeader=';
        private String SessionHeader_hns = 'SessionHeader=';
        private String DebuggingHeader_hns = 'DebuggingHeader=';
        private String DebuggingInfo_hns = 'DebuggingInfo=';
        private String[] ns_map_type_info = new String[]{'', 'addPDFStub'};
        public void addPDF(String[] accountIds) {
            addPDFStub.addPDF_element request_x = new addPDFStub.addPDF_element();
            addPDFStub.addPDFResponse_element response_x;
            request_x.accountIds = accountIds;
            Map<String, addPDFStub.addPDFResponse_element> response_map_x = new Map<String, addPDFStub.addPDFResponse_element>();
            response_map_x.put('response_x', response_x);
              new String[]{endpoint_x,
            response_x = response_map_x.get('response_x');

Next create a class with the future method:

global class AccountTriggerController{

    public static void addPDFAttach(string sessionId, list<id> accountId){
        addPDFStub.SessionHeader_element sessionIdElement= new addPDFStub.SessionHeader_element();
        sessionIdElement.sessionId = sessionId;

        addPDFStub.AddPdfToRecord stub= new addPDFStub.AddPdfToRecord();
        stub.SessionHeader= sessionIdElement;

FInally create the trigger:

trigger accountAfterInsert on Account (after insert) {

     list<id> accId = new list<id>();
     for(id acc: trigger.newMap.keySet()){
		//You would need to send the session id to the future method as the you cannot use the userInfo.getSessionID() method in the future method because it is asynchronous and doesn't run in the user context.
        AccountTriggerController.addPDFAttach(userInfo.getSessionId(), accId);


All of this would work only if you add the host in my case it’s, add it to the remote site setting. So go to Setup-> Admin Setup -> security Controls -> Remote Site Settings. Click on new, give it a name(webserviceTest), add the Remote Site URL(just copy paste the url from the address bar), it will only take the host and truncate the rest when you save it.

Hope it helps!!


I have updated the post with the test Classes. Now all the classes have more than 90% coverage!
ALso I have made some changes in the AddPdfToRecord class to accommodate the Test class changes
Below test classes needs to be added to get the coverage

First add the web service mock implementation and then the actual test class.

global class WebServiceMockImpl implements WebServiceMock {
   global void doInvoke(
           Object stub,
           Object request,
           Map<String, Object> response,
           String endpoint,
           String soapAction,
           String requestName,
           String responseNS,
           String responseName,
           String responseType) {
           String[] accountIdArray = new String[]{};
       addPDFStub.addPDFResponse_element respElement = new addPDFStub.addPDFResponse_element();
       addPDFStub.AllowFieldTruncationHeader_element class1= new addPDFStub.AllowFieldTruncationHeader_element();
       addPDFStub.DebuggingHeader_element class2= new addPDFStub.DebuggingHeader_element();
       addPDFStub.CallOptions_element class3= new addPDFStub.CallOptions_element();
       addPDFStub.DebuggingInfo_element  class4= new addPDFStub.DebuggingInfo_element ();
       addPDFStub.SessionHeader_element class5= new addPDFStub.SessionHeader_element();
       response.put('response_x', respElement ); 
public class AddPDFtoRecordTest{
    @isTest static void addPDFtoRecordTestMethod() { 
        Test.setMock(WebServiceMock.class, new WebServiceMockImpl());
        account a = new account(); 'test PDF';
        insert a;
        AddPdfToRecord.addPDF(new list<Id>{a.Id});    

YOu can achieve the same by using the APEX Rest Resource. Check out the post here

You can find the code on gitHub

35 thoughts on “Generate a PDF and Attach it to record from a trigger in Salesforce — SOAP webservice”

  1. Inside the WebService, when I call pdf.getContent(), it is returning a redirect HTML page to the login page. Do you have an idea why that is happening?

      1. I am calling the WebService from the C# project. There are two WebService calls, one to get the Opportunity record and the second to create the PDF and attach it. The Opportunity record is retrieved fine but the PDF is not getting generated. getContent() is returning a redirect to the login page inside the WebService method.

      2. Are you setting the session id in the webservice while calling the class? The reason it might be going to login page is because the authorization will be failing.

    1. After you save the AddPdfToRecord class. You will see a ‘Generate WSDL’ button, click on it , a new page with XML will open and then you will have to save (Ctrl + s), save the file with .wsdl extension.

  2. Hi, thanks for the post. But dont know why i am facing this below issue, I have given all the required access to the classes.

    “Web service callout failed: WebService returned a SOAP Fault: AddPdfToRecord: no access allowed to this class. faultcode=sf:INSUFFICIENT_ACCESS faultactor=”

    Any idea? it would help a lot !

    1. You’re getting this error message because the user does not have access to this class. You can give the access by going to the class–> click on security button and add the profile of the user for which you’re getting the above error message.

  3. Hi.

    In my scenario, I am fetching a pdf rendered page with multiple fields which has data stored in it.
    I guess we need to pass each field in the query to fetch the data .. am I right ?
    As, now I am getting error in the future method stating the ‘SObject row was retrieved via SOQL without querying the requested field: ‘.
    Kindly suggest !

  4. you mean controller is future method ? In my main class all the fields are queried , and I dint add them in the future class. Also , I have many fields across 4 objects.. I guess all the objects should be queried in future class too .. correct me if I am wrong. Thanks!

    1. Future class is just to call the webservices stub. If you want to show fields from different object in the PDF then you can add a extensions to the pdf page and in the extensions you do all the processing like query the records that you want to display etc.

      SO you’re page should look something like this

      <apex:page standardController="Account" extensions="pdfExtension" renderAs="pdf">
      Hey, the Account name is {!account.Name}
      Some List of contacts:
        <apex:repeat value="{!contactList}" var="c">

      ANd you’re extension controller will look something like this:

      public class pdfExtension{
          public list<contact> contactList{get;set;}
          public pdfExtension(ApexPages.StandardController stdController){
              contactList = new list<contact>();
              contactList = [Select name from contact limit 5];

      Hope it helps!

    1. I am not sure about the error message. Are you getting this error message for even a simple pdf? I googled for the error message and was taken to a few links. Could you try out the solution mentioned in these links here and here. Request you to post back for the solution as this might help others.

      1. That did not help. The file being generated has “.pdf” extension.

        The VF page generates somewhat complex PDF. I will replace it with simple text and see how that goes.

  5. This has been very helpful! I am however having an issue. This will work in our sandbox, but when I try to move it to production I am only getting 71% code coverage. I have made adjustments to attach this to the opportunity object and have gotten test classes to work, but am not able to deploy. The biggest issue I get is with the AddPDFtoRecord class which gets no coverage, Thoughts?

  6. Awesome post! Thank you. One issue I’m encountering is when I attempt to create the class from the WSDL, I’m getting the following error –

    Error: addPDFStub
    Error: Script too large: //Generated by wsdl2apex public class addPDFStub { public class User_x { public addPDFS… at -1:-1

    The size of my WSDL xml file is approx 950 kb.

    Any thoughts or suggestions as to how I can move past this issue?

    Thank you!

  7. Hi,
    I’m trying this code from a button click and from a trigger.It runs fine fro the button but it fails in the trigger by the error:
    System.CalloutException: Web service callout failed: WebService returned a SOAP Fault: System.DmlException: Insert failed. First exception on row 0 with id 00PW0000002G5rVMAS; first error: INVALID_FIELD_FOR_INSERT_UPDATE, cannot specify Id in an insert call: [Id]

  8. HI, I have packed this up and deployed it to a test environment. After creating the remote site I get no errors but it does not execute. Is there something else that needs to be done for a managed package?

    1. Actually now you do no need make a callout to the webservices from future method. You can move the webservice class’ logic of adding attachment to the future method itself. Since the .getContent() method will be considered callout you have add the callout=true condition in the @future annotation. Hope it helps!!

      1. Thanks for your kind support. i have try it by putting the webservice code to future method but it does not succeed actually content of the pdf corrupt.its not showing proper data. Error coming failed to load pdf document.

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