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Enable PO approval process to send PO in PDF format via email

Purchase Orders (PO) need to be approved after those are created. Until a PO is approved it cannot be sent to a supplier for fulfillment. Oracle provides 2 formats for sending the PO approval, Text and PDF.

Text format

In the Text format the PO details are embedded in HTML format within the approval notification. The approval notification looks like the following,

On the PO approval form the user can decide to send the PO to an email recipient (which could be the supplier) after the PO is approved as shown below.

The transmitted PO goes to the email address in HTML format. A sample email is given below.

PDF format

In PDF format the PO details are embedded in HTML format in the approval notification as displayed above. In addition to the HTML message, the PO is generated and attached as a PDF file on the notification. Within the notification the link to the PO appears like the following,

When the PO is set to be transmitted to another email id (set on the PO approval screen shown above) the email is sent from the workflow that contains the PO in PDF format as shown below,

Configuration Steps for enabling PDF for Purchase Orders

Step 1: Check for patch, 8983924

You need to check if the patch number, 8983924, is installed on Oracle or not. If not, you need to download this patch from Oracle Metalink and apply it into the database.

Step 2: Add license for Basic product

This step needs to be done if Step 2 (below) does not have PDF option. You can refer to Metalink note 301954.1, if you require further information.

Responsibility: System Administrator

Navigate to Oracle Applications Manager > License Manager

Choose Products under the heading, License

Check License Component Application and click Continue

Check the check box for Basic. Click Next

Click on Submit button

Step 3: Change PO Output format

Change responsibility to Purchasing Administrator responsibility

Navigation: Setup > Organizations > Purchasing Options

Click on Control Tab and modify PO Output Format from Text to PDF.

Oracle R12

The purchasing options screen in R12 is an OAF page

The output format can be changed to PDF on the page.


The PO Output Format selection defines the output format for purchase orders either in “Print”,
“e-mail”, or “fax”.

By changing the Control Parameter to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) you can view the purchase order fully formatted in PDF from the Purchase Order Summary window. From the toolbar navigate to Inquire > View document. You can also communicate the purchase order to the supplier using the report PO Output for Communication

With the ‘PO Output Format’ set to ‘Text’ the concurrent program, Print Purchase Orders, (POXPPO) is called by the PO workflow and when we use View Document from the PO form

With the ‘PO Output Format’ set to ‘PDF’ the concurrent program, PO Output for Communication, (POXPOPDF) is called by the PO workflow and when we use View Document from the PO form

Step 4: Check Document Type

We shall check the setting for Standard Purchase Orders

Change responsibility to EY Purchasing Administrator

Navigate to Setup > Purchasing > Document Types

Select document: Purchase Order & Document Subtype: Standard

Click OK.

On this form we can modify various important settings for a Purchase Order like, the default hierarchy it will follow, the workflow it should use, the PO layout format, etc.

Document types in Oracle R12

The same function in Oracle R12 will take you to an OAF form

If you click on Update button for the same document type as in 11i, i.e. Type: Purchase Order Standard and Name: Standard Purchase Order, you will get the following screen

You can update the workflow process on this screen.


  1. To use a custom workflow instead of the standard workflow, PO Approval or POAPPRV, you can change the workflow name to the custom workflow. In this case you will also need to change the Workflow Startup Process.
  2. You can also change the Document Type Layout to different template instead of Standard Purchase Order Stylesheet, if you want to use a different template for the PO. We have discussed this later in the document.

Step 5: Change the value for profile option

Change the responsibility to System Administrator

Navigate to Profile > System

Query for profile option, PO: Communication Email Default

Change the value at the site level to Contact

Test the changes

Open the PO form and create a PO

Click on Approve button to send it for approval

Click on the box named E-mail and enter a valid email address. Normally this will be the email address of the supplier.

If the email address is setup for the supplier site used in the PO, it will show up in the Email Address lov.

Now press OK button. Now funds will be checked by Oracle and once it is done a message will appear on screen.

Press OK and the document will go for approval.

Now go to Workflow Administrator and check for the PO workflow. Open the notification.

Scroll down the notification to the bottom

Notice that the PO is attached to the workflow in PDF format as a link (PDF Document). Click on the link to open the PO.

All links in the References section within a workflow notification will appear as attachments in the notification email if workflow email is enabled for this user.

Click on Open button to open the PO.

You can see that the PO has been generated and sent to the approver for his approval. After reviewing the PO close the document and go back to the notification. Click on Approve to approve the notification.

Go back to Apps forms and click on View > Requests and click on Find.

You will find a concurrent program, PO Output for Communication (mentioned in Step 2). This program has been executed by the PO workflow and the program has attached the PO PDF file to the workflow notification.

Go back to Workflow Administrator responsibility and check whether the workflow has completed or not. If not you might need to go back and check if the workflow is pending for approval on another approver as the previous approver might not have limits. Also, if any of the workflow functions is in deferred mode then Workflow Background Process needs to be executed from System Administrator responsibility

When the approval process is complete the workflow sends the PO in PDF format to the email address provided earlier. The email looks like the following.

The PO is attached to the workflow now.

Go back to the PO form and query for this PO number.

Click on Inquire > View Document

A popup will appear in a new web browser window.

We shall select Open to view the PO.

The same PO that was sent to the approver and the recipient of the email address is displayed. Close this document and go back to the PO form.

Notice that the attachment icon has changed to . This means there are attachments on this document. Click on the attachment icon.

You can see 1 attachment. Click on the Source tab.

We can see that the same PO PDF has been attached to the PO on the form as well by the program, PO Output for Communication.

Change the standard PO layout/template

The layout of the PO is a standard template given by Oracle. We might want to use a different layout for the PO to suit our requirement. In that case we have to create a template in any of the standard XML Publisher formats and put in proper tags for each field. The comprehensive list of valid XML tags are given in Appendix B of the attached document below, PO Communication Methods Whitepaper.pdf.

Create our own template in MS Word and saved it as a RTF file. (You can create your template in any of the standard methods)

Login to Oracle

Change responsibility to XML Publisher Administrator

Navigate to Templates tab

Click on Create Template

Enter the following,

Name: Purchase Order PDF Email


Application: Purchasing

Data Definition: Standard Purchase Order Data Source

Type: RTF


Language: English

Click on Save

Note: It is imperative that the Data definition used is Standard Purchase Order Data Source as that is the data definition used by PO Output for Communication program.

Modify the template in the Document Type Layout

Go to Purchasing Superuser responsibility.

Navigate to Setup > Purchasing > Document Types

Select Standard Purchase Order as we shall make the changes only for PO.

Select the LOV for Document Type Layout field.

You can see the custom template has been added to the list. Select the template.

Save the form.

Note: The data on this form resides in the table, PO_DOCUMENT_TYPES_ALL_B.


Open a PO in the PO form.

Click on Approve to send the PO for approval.

The email address is entered to send the PO via email. Click OK to start the approval process.

In the workflow approval notification you can view the PO in PDF format.

Click on Open.

The PO is now in the new layout. If you now check the rest of the process, i.e. the PO in the recipient email or the PO attachment as discussed earlier you will see the PO in the new layout as well.

PO Communication Methods Whitepaper (PO Communication Methods Whitepaper)

Oracle Apps R12

We have discussed about the configuration in Oracle 11i. Oracle R12 has the same screens as Oracle 11i as well as the same navigation. In R12 the Document Types form has been moved to OAF. I have shown the form below.

Navigation: Setup > Purchasing > Document Types

We selected Purchase Order Standard by clicking on the Update icon.

The options are very similar to Oracle 11i. It just looks different as it is in OAF.


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About Abhijit

I love sleeping, watching Hollywood blockbusters, my Wii, road trips and watching my 4 year old son grow up. In between I try to squeeze in some time to go to work.


40 thoughts on “Enable PO approval process to send PO in PDF format via email

  1. Would you please send me the RTF file and the whitepaper to me?

    Thanks so much.

    Posted by lilingyun | November 12, 2012, 9:02 am
  2. Hi,

    I am trying to enable the html template to send the PO email notification. Presently, the email notification is being sent in Text and when we change the user preference to HTML, notification is not sent to user. Only the text format is working. Is there any setup for HTML email notification? Pls advise.

    Posted by Srinivasan | November 23, 2012, 7:02 pm
  3. Hi,

    All your posts are so nice and well elaborated.
    It was a good contribution of you both.


    Posted by Sri | January 20, 2013, 3:29 pm
  4. Hi Abhijit,

    Thanks for good document. Its impressive. I have question regarding the notification to buyer.
    I have a created new custom PO rtf file for pdf format. Its working fine. Its emailing the PO document to Supplier too. But we like to send the the notifiaction to buyer(means our user) same time as PO Document is send successfuly to Supplier or not.
    How can I achieve this requirement? Any Ideas/ Any setup? Please advice..

    Posted by VinodKumar | January 31, 2013, 8:58 pm
  5. I have a question, Once all this setup is done, I select Mode of communication as None on PO. Still the e-mail is sent to supplier contact. is there any way to avoid this. Is this bug in product?

    Posted by Vasan | March 8, 2013, 4:32 pm
  6. Hi ,

    in my site , one user getting problem like , got a mail for approval while clicking from mail box for approval process that links again opening new email not opening web page for approval .

    pls help me

    sekar s

    Posted by chandrasekar s | June 24, 2013, 4:01 pm
  7. Where can I find the rtf layout for the standard Oracle PDF? We like the one that is standard with Oracle (whcih you show in your examples above), but we just want to make a very small change (add our logo to the top). So instead of recreating the entire thing, it would be nice to get a hold of the original one to get started.

    Posted by Manny Otero | June 28, 2013, 12:51 am
    • You will find the names and codes of the templates in the screenshot showing LOV for Document Type Layout. You can download the templates from XML Publisher Administrator responsibility and searching for those templates.

      Posted by Abhijit Ray | July 2, 2013, 1:36 am
      • Thanks!

        Posted by Manny Otero | July 9, 2013, 7:12 pm
      • Hi,

        How can you default your custom PO Template when you run the PO Output Communication report?


        Posted by Vinod Patel | July 9, 2013, 7:25 pm
      • Hi Vinod,

        I guess you have already gone through the article. The custom PO template will be attached to the PO transaction type as set up in the Document Types form.


        Posted by Abhijit Ray | July 11, 2013, 2:48 am
      • Hi,

        I have to add revision_label field into PO OUTPUT Communication Report.
        How can I do this modification?
        Can’t find any solution.
        Please help..


        Posted by Vinod Patel | October 8, 2013, 10:00 pm
      • PO Output for Communication has a fixed set of fields. The report is based on a seeded view. I do not know the name of the view. You can check with Oracle by opening a SR.

        Posted by Abhijit Ray | October 9, 2013, 9:48 pm
  8. Abhijit,

    I was successfully able to modify the default template and add our logo. Now, quick question, would you happen to have a similar post for attaching documents to a PO? We are on Oracle Applications and I can’t seem to attach a file that shows up in the same email as the PO.

    Posted by Manny Otero | July 9, 2013, 11:13 pm
  9. Hi Abhijit ,

    We would like to receive email confirmations for each PO emailed to suppliers.
    The email confirmation is to include delivered and undelivered emails & sent to the buyer of record found on the PO.

    Thank You

    Posted by Bobby | January 14, 2014, 11:52 pm
  10. Thank you so much for the article,
    We have this setup currently but we’ve got a new request from the Procurement department that they want a PO pdf attachment to be sent to the PR requester along with the supplier. How can we achieve this task? We’ve tried using PO: Secondary Email profile value, but it sends emails to the buyer’s PO: Secondary Email profile value and not the requester.
    I’ve configured XML bursting to send emails to multiple recipients but it only works with the custom Concurrent Request we’ve created to print out POs and which needs to be executed manually after the PO is approved. If I could link this concurrent request to the PO Approve action, it would be great too.
    Please comment on this issue.
    Thanks beforehand.

    Posted by Ahmed Ahmedov | January 31, 2014, 8:17 am
  11. Hi Abhijit ,

    We would like to receive email confirmations for each PO emailed to suppliers.
    The email confirmation is to include delivered and undelivered emails & sent to the buyer of record found on the PO.Could you find out solution please? Everybody looking for solution for this issue. It will so much. Please advice..
    And upload the solution…


    Thank You

    Posted by vinod | February 5, 2014, 4:41 pm
  12. Hi Workflow expers,

    Please advise step by step procedure to send copy of Supplier’s email ( with attached PDF to Buyer ( using #WFM_CC technology.

    To which message of POAPPRV.wft we need to add the attribute #WFM_CC and step by step adding.

    Thanks in advance,

    Posted by zameeruddin | February 16, 2014, 2:14 pm
  13. I need to customize PO Approval workflow so that once the PO is approved it sends email to PR Requester along with Supplier and the preparer. Currenlty, Supplier and PO Preparer receive emails with the PO pdf attachment but not the PR Requester.
    The modification needs to be applied to EMAIL_DOC_PROCESS.
    I know that I need to follow the below instructions in order to add a new email notification to the workflow.
    1. Create an Attribute
    2. Create a process and write a code that will assign the required value to the created attribute. in this case, PR Requester email is the value we are looking for.
    3. Create a new notification
    4. Create a new message
    5. Assign the message to the notification.

    The main question is, how to create a new notification that send email stored in the attribute we created in step 1? In general, how to create a new custom email notification with attachment.

    Basically, I need to edit “PO PDF to the Supplier” notification so that it sends the same email to the PR Requester. But I cannot find how to do it. Please help.

    Posted by Ahmedov Ahmed (@ahmed_rnt) | February 17, 2014, 5:43 pm
  14. Hi Abhijit,

    I am just in the middle of troubleshooting our RTF template. But to do this i need to generate the XML from the PO output. It was quite easy to get this out in R11 but now we are on R12.1.3 i cant find any help on how to generate this. HAve you any ideas?

    Posted by dan mason | February 26, 2014, 10:29 am
  15. Hi Abhijit, Thank you very much for your info which helps me a lot to understand this entire process. As per my requirement I have customized RTF template for PO Output report which is working fine but my concern is in Standard XSL-FO many conditions are available it seems. Are we missing them if go for custom template. How we call them in RTF and what are those conditions? Can you please advise me on this because I don’t want to miss anything in custom template. if these conditions are not important then I can go ahead on this custom Process. Please help me on this.Thanks for your help….


    Posted by Prasad | July 31, 2014, 9:34 am
    • Hi Prasad,

      In your case I suggest that you take the seeded template and extend it with your customizations to keep the seeded conditions. You will be the best judge in this case as you know your requirements.


      Posted by Abhijit | August 1, 2014, 7:46 am


  1. Pingback: Attach concurrent program output to an Apps transaction using PL/SQL | Oracle Maniacs' Notes - October 2, 2013

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