Better PDF Invoicing with Sprout Invoices v17, and 2018 Outlook


I’ll admit PDFs have not been great with Sprout Invoices. For a few, it’s been terrible. My personal mission for Sprout Invoices is to build something I’m proud of and something I wouldn’t hesitate using and recommending to family. The invoice PDF generation experience for Sprout Invoices doesn’t meet that standard. The excuse has always been a good one (IMHO), there’s simply no better solution (since mPDF is the best open source library for PHP PDF generation I’ve tested), and to use a third-party service could be terribly costly.

One goal of 2018 is to push Sprout Apps more (financially and outside its comfort zone), this meant revisiting the possibility of partnering with a third-party service and building out a PDF service.

What does that mean?

Sprout Invoices will now use the Sprout Apps PDF service 1 to generate PDFs — PDFs that look the same as the invoices and estimates on your website. These PDFs will include your styling and other template customizations, and no longer will you have to maddeningly change the “-pdf.php” template to get a look and feel (that might not ever work because of mPDF).


“The PDFs Look Terrible”

The main complaint was “the PDF doesn’t look like my invoice”. Well, there were a lot of technical reasons for this (cough mPDF). Now PDFs will look the same as your invoices and estimates, including your custom CSS.

Here’s some before/after examples for line items:


Default Theme


Original Theme


I’m guessing you’re thinking “Wow, big deal”, either sarcastically or with excitement. For those not excited, this is a big deal for a lot of other Sprout Invoices users, and the majority of them had the poor experience with the earlier PDF add-on.

Will the PDF Service be Free?

Yes, it will absolutely be free for the foreseeable future. The intention is to keep the service free for Business and Corporate license holders, although circumstances may dictate some changes. For example, if someone is generating thousands of invoices a month, I’d be forced to impose a monthly limit and introduce paid private API for these users.  If you feel you’re going to generate over 500 PDF invoices a month, reach out to me via support.

Enough with the PDF Service, What Else?

I mentioned earlier that the Sprout Apps business will be run differently this year, noticeable by the investment in the PDF service (ugh, I know, “enough already”), a bigger change is employing help. Maybe you haven’t noticed but Sprout Apps has been a true solo project for me, I’ve done it all: development, support, design, marketing, business development, janitorial…everything. So in the near future, a new member will be introduced, and I can start saying we have a “team”!


The TL;DR for v17

You’ll hear from a new voice soon and here’s the change log

  • NEW: PDF Service for better PDF creation!
  • Fix/Update: Status for records being updated irregularly
  • Update: Stripe API fixes
  • Update: Fix for client types
  • Update: Show the client’s stored address info when using a credit card payment
  • Fix: Count shortcodes for Advanced ID generation add +1.
  • Update: Minor updates and bug fixes


  1. The old PDF add-on will be deprecated, it will be available for download but not supported after an undetermined date.