Make Tabbloid Plugin [Dead]

Update 02/06/10 – Where does the time go. This plugin is well and truly dead but fear not I’ve got a new one built on FiveFilters PDF Newspaper. More info on the new Make PDF Newspaper is here.

Update 27/01/10 – **BROKEN** This plugin uses the Tabbloid service to generate PDFs. Tabbloid recently updated there system removing API access, which has broken this plugin. I’m seeking clarification.

For Christmas 2008 I decided to develop my first WordPress plugin. ‘Make Tabbloid’ integrates with the service allowing you to provide your readers with a downloadable PDF version of your latest posts in an attractive magazine/newsletter format.

An example of what this looks like is available from the link on the right hand side under the section ‘Make Tabbloid’.

You can download the plugin here


Author: Martin Hawksey

Screenshot of sample PDF
Screenshot of sample PDF

The ‘Make Tabbloid’ plugin integrates with HP’s Tabbloid Service to automatically create printer friendly ‘tabloid’ editions of your WordPress blog in an attractive magazine/newspaper format.

The plugin includes a widget to let you control how you advertise your ‘tabloid edition’. You can also choose to display a thumbnail of your custom newsletter (powered by to let your readers see what they are missing.

Key features

  • NEW! – Option to include QR codes for each post
  • Customisable banner text (default is Today’s Tabbloid)
  • Option to automatically footnote all the links which appear in a post (using tinyurl to shorten long links)
  • Integrated widget to display thumbnail of your publication (or function code to include in your template)
  • Option to aggregate more than one RSS feed within your publication
  • New editions automatically generated when new posts are added

See the ‘screenshot’ for a summary of the features.

For an example of it’s usage visit


  1. Upload the make-tabbloid directory to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Go to and ‘agree to do no evil’ then click on ‘Make me cool’ to get an API key
  4. Via the ‘Settings’ menu enter your Tabbloid API key and then add the RSS feed of your blog
  5. You can then either add Make Tabbloid to your sidebar as a widget or by placing <?php do_makeTabbloid('linkName','fileName', showThumbnail); ?> in your template

The script needs write access to your Blog directory. Check out the WordPress Codex or have a look at the FAQ for help.


0.9.6 – Update

  • Option to include QR codes at the end of posts – Minor Fix

  • Minor fix to prevent slashes when using the widget – Minor Bug Fix and Readme update

  • Minor fix to a bug in the widget control panel

0.9.5 – Update/Fix

  • Implemented the ability to customise the banner/header text used in the pdf publication. It can be controlled via the widget menu or calling the function do_makeTabbloid(‘linkName’,’fileName’, showThumbnail, ‘bannerTitle’).
  • Minor fix to prevent “format error: Not a PDF or corrupted” (I think this was something to do with utf encoding, but I’m not sure) – Minor Bug Fix

  • Minor fix to prevent Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_IF, expecting ‘{’ in …/wp-content/plugins/make-tabbloid/make-tabbloid.php on line 371 – Minor Bug Fix

  • Minor fix to the prevent Feedburner redirect (Fixes: calluserfuncarray() []: First argument is expected to be a valid callback, ‘mt prevent_feedburner’ was given in /wp-includes/plugin.php on line 339)

0.9.4 – Bug Fix

  • Fixed custom feed (?feed=make-tabbloid) to prevent redirect to Feedburner

0.9.3 – Major update

  • Fixed the duplicate function
  • Included a custom feed for tabbloid which automatically footnotes all the links within posts and uses TinyURL to shorten any long links

0.9.2 – What was I thinking

0.9.1 – Bug Fix

  • Fix to get current list of feeds registered with Tabbloid

0.9 – Initial Release


I get an fopen error and / or permission denied

If you get permission errors make sure that the script has writing rights in your blog directory. Try to creating a file with your chosen pdf filename (e.g. mytabbloid.pdf) manually, upload it with a ftp program and set the rights to 777 with CHMOD. A good tutorial for changing file permissions can be found on the WordPress Codex.

Why is my PDF file blank

Either Tabbloid is struggling with your RSS feed or your feed is making its way to the front of the queue to be tabloided. Try going to, adding your feed url and clicking ‘Generate sample issue now’. If it doesn’t generate a PDF either wait an hour and try again or drop a line to the techies at Tabbloid.

Why doesn’t the thumbnail appear?

The thumbnail is generated by so there may by a problem with the 3rd party site. Images are also cached for 3 days so changes may take this long to filter through.


  1. Dear !!
    I have a question for your first wordpress plugin ‘Make Tabbloid’.
    I install your plugin in my blog and activate it, but the error message like the followings is given and I failed activation.
    “Fatal error: Cannot redeclare maketabbloid() (previously declared in … plugins/make-tabbloid/make-tabbloid.php:126)…

    How can I solve this problem.
    Please help me.

  2. You might get a error like this if you have duplicate versions of the make-tabbloid.php file. Try checking that their is only one version in your plugin’s directory.

  3. Fatal error: Cannot redeclare maketabbloid() (previously declared in …/wp-content/plugins/Tabloid/make-tabbloid.php:126) in …wp-content/plugins/Tabloid/make-tabbloid.php on line 524

    There is no duplicate version in the plugin folder. I have found this error very often in some forums

  4. Thanks Ralf.

    I’ve been meaning to do a fix for a while. I’ve come up with an update which includes a nice feature to extract links in posts to include the full link as a footnote.

    If there any other problems please let me know.


  5. My problem is that “” does not work for me. I entered this feed:
    in the box there but it cannot read my feed. There is no answer to my questions, instead they got my email address without any response. I am suspicious that the whole thing is set up to collect email addresses with confirmation!

    I also could not use your plugin to generate any magazine-style PDF.

  6. I get this error?
    Warning: call_user_func_array() []: First argument is expected to be a valid callback, ‘mt_ prevent_feedburner’ was given in /home/.haman/ultimatej2k/ on line 339

  7. The new Version works fine ! Thank you !

    How many articles does tabbloid generate from a blog ?

  8. @Ralf Glad you’re up and running. The number of articles should be the same as the ‘Syndication feeds show the most recent: XX posts’ setting in ‘Settings -> Reading’ in the WP admin.

  9. @Jay – there is a bug in the last update (tiny typo) I’ve uploaded a fix as version

    Thanks to letting me know there was a problem

  10. I get a fatal error:

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_IF, expecting ‘{‘ in …/wp-content/plugins/make-tabbloid/make-tabbloid.php on line 371

  11. that above syntax error is when i go to activate the plugin.

  12. @Edward – thanks for spotting this. I’ve pushed out a fix as version

  13. Martin, I hope you don’t mind me mentioning this here but I’ve been working on a service similar to Tabbloid. It uses PHP libraries to produce something similar to the Tabbloid output. The main difference is that it’s free software (open source). So if any of your readers need more control over the output, or simply don’t want to rely on an a third party, they can look at RSS to PDF Newspaper:

    1. Hi Keyvan – your comment got lost in my spam filter, but I’m glad I stumbled across it. Your project looks really good and I wish I knew about it a couple of months ago (it would have saved me quite a few headaches). I think I’ll be drawing a line under the ‘Make Tabbloid’ plugin and looking at ‘Make PDF Newspaper’ :-)

  14. I places this in my single.php:

    do_makeTabbloid(‘Issue 3′,’’, showThumbnail);

    But it still does not work. Nothing show up in my page. What did I do incorrectly?

    1. I think it might be because of the second variable ‘…’. This should be a filename.

      For example try this: do_makeTabbloid(’Issue 3′,’Issue3.pdf’, True);

  15. Martin, I’m really glad you like it. I developed it very recently (it wasn’t around a couple of months ago) because I wanted more control over the Tabbloid output and I didn’t find anything I could actually run myself. If you need any help with it, or come across any problems (either with its output or setting it up) feel free to let me know and I’ll be happy to help. I should have setup instructions up soon and information on how to customise title image.

  16. I tried to use this plugin but unfortunately it didn’t work so well with WPMU 2.7.1. I tried removing but unfortunately when I look at my customised theme again I have some odd code added to my sidebar:

    I can’t copy the code exact but it includes an iframe with the URL:

    I cannot find the code to remove it? Any idea how to remove it?

  17. It appears the plugin installs a virus!

  18. Hi Bids – Sorry to hear your having problems, but it’s quite an inflammatory accusation. The code for this plugin is publicly available at and you are the first of 677 downloads to make this claim.

    I would suggest that your server was compromised either before or after installing the plugin and any problems you are encountering are not related.

    If anyone can identify exactly how this plugin has compromised your site I welcome their feedback, but as far as I can see it is not technically possible.

    [I would also like to highlight as an advocate of open source technology, including being part of the team who won the Scottish Open Source Award 2008, I have nothing to gain by circulating malicious code]

  19. Hi,
    When I was trying to test your pluggin on your site I got the following message:
    “format error: Not a PDF or corrupted”

    Even tried to download the PDF but all of the PDF viewers report an error.

  20. Tabbloid recently moved from the PDF 1.4 standard to 1.6. The pdf’s appear to render in Adobe Reader but aren’t working in Foxit Reader, Sumatra and others. Looking into it …

  21. @Rob I think it was a utf encoding problem. I’ve modified the code which seems to have worked. I also took the opportunity to include a new feature of the Tabbloid API which allows you to specify the text used in the banner/header of the PDF. The new version (0.9.5) is available at

  22. Feeling a little dumb right now but I cannot get the thumbnail to appear. This likely might be me. I’m trying to figure out what I’m suppose to put in the File name area.

    I can generate the pdf file, but also get none of the graphics on my posts. What am i doing wrong?

    Also, one last thing, when I try to use an ‘ like in I’m it automatically adds a slash so that it looks like I\’m. any solution to this? (other than to stop using it? lol)

    I love this plugin and it will be very beneficial to me for another site I’m working on. What would be great would be able to pick and choose the articles (post/page) wanted. Thx for a great plug-in.

  23. I am having problem with only the excerpts of the posts being displayed vs the entire post in the pdf, other than that it is working well.

    Yes I have the reading set to full vs summary so I don’t know what the problem could be.


  24. Hi Martin
    I download and installed your plugin and I try to use the widget, but it does not work, no image.
    Next I try the php code, the same no image.

    One other thing I noticed, having the widget the page is loading very slow, the same is true using the php code, so it feels to be touch faster.

    Anyway, I like the idea, but it does not work and look the same as on your page.
    I don’t know how to fix it, any idea? I use the latest WP version, if that is of help.

  25. @Brian – this might be because of the way your blog is setup. Within the WP control panel in the ‘Settings’ there is a menu for ‘Reading’ in here there is an option for ‘For each article in a feed, show’ with either ‘full text’ or ‘summary’. For Make Tabbloid to show the sull story you need ‘full text’

    @Berry – Images are pulled from a 3rd party site. There is sometimes a problem with the plugin calling the image from their site cache. The problem usually clears itself in 24 hours. This process is probably also slowing down the page load. If I get a chance I’ll look at locally cache this image which should speed it up. [Update – seems there is a problem with the 3rd party site, it aint working.]

    [Update – Tabbloid have moved to a newer version of PDF document which is not compatible with I’ll have to find a new way to generate the thumbnail]


  26. Great plugin – thanks for getting this out there.
    I have one problem though, the same as Brian a few posts up – I’m anly getting post summaries in the pdf and not the full text. Like Brian I have full text turned on in the WP settings reading menu.

    I think the problem is something to do with RSS1/2 feeds. I read somehwere that only RSS2 can produce full text feeds whereas RSS1 produces summaries. The make Tabbloid settings allows me to add RSS1 (with ?feed=rss2 appended to my URL) but when trying to add the RSS2 link (with ?feed=rss2 appended to my URL) I get “Feed Added – ERROR: :cannot marshal objects”>”.

    I hope this is of some help and it can be solved?

  27. Fatal error: Call to undefined function curl_init() in /home/ppfuente/public_html/wp-content/plugins/make-tabbloid/make-tabbloid.php on line 248

    how i can do?

    1. Hi – The plugin requires the CURL extension of PHP to be enabled. This is a server side configuration so unless you have access to the php.ini file I’m afraid the plugin won’t work.

  28. How i can translate de date and the “PERSONAL NEWS FOR YOU”?

    1. Unfortunately this isn’t possible as the 3rd party service ( only has an English version :-(

  29. it’s possible to have weekly (or x days) update for the tabbloid like an option in the plugin.
    So the reader can download (i.e. every monday) all the news of the past week, because continuos update isn’t very usable.

    1. As it happens I’m working of this feature as we speak. Should have a update in a couple of weeks.

      In the meantime you could modify the feed used in Make Tabbloid with Yahoo Pipes. I’ve setup the pipe so that any rss url can be used. The great thing about pipes is it creates a new rss which you could enter into the Make Tabbloid plugin. Here’s how you can do it:

      1. go to
      2. enter your existing rss feed
      3. click ‘Run Pipe’
      4. right click on ‘Get as RSS’ and select ‘Copy Link Location’ or ‘Copy Shortcut’ (depends on your browser) 5. goto the Make Tabbloid plugin settings in WordPress and paste the url into ‘custom feed’
      6. click ‘add feed/save changes’
      7. ‘Remove’ the old feed

      There are some limitations to be aware of. As Tabbloid and Yahoo Pipes cache feeds updates to the pdf won’t be instantaneous.

  30. When I generate the tabbloid pdf appear post that are deleted. How can I prevent displaying?
    Can I select the number of posts that appear in the pdf?
    I use wordpress.

  31. How long does it take for new posts to appear in the PDF? Do I need to regenerate a PDF each time a new post is added? If so, how do I do it?


    1. @Dan B The plugin will automatically generate a new pdf when posts are added. It usually take up to 30minutes for changes to filter through (the thumbnail takes longer)

  32. Hi Martin. I am really looking forward to using this plugin but I’m having no luck in setting it up. I installed and activated the plugin with no issues, but it will not allow me to select or add a feed. I have tried all options on the page but everytime I click ‘save’ it just resets to the default page with none of my choices in place. Any help? I am getting no errors of any type just not getting the desired results. I have gone to the tabbloid page, added my feed and generated the preview, which looks awesome by the way, but I can’t seem to do anything with the plugin on my blog. Any help?

  33. Great plugin! It appears to aggregate whatever the current posts for all named feeds. Cool, but I’d like to have static newsletter editions – different categories or tags for a given edition (different feed urls).
    It there a way to create a link for each edition(category/tag) instead of aggregating? If so, there will be much rejoicing!

    1. Hi Jay – Unfortunately the Tabbloid API generates a single PDF. The code could be modified so that multiple APIs could be registered but that’s probably a major rewrite.

      If you are using the make-tabbloid custom rss feed it does generate print friendly feeds for categories and tags. All you need to do is add ?feed=make-tabbloid to the end of the uri. For example all my Google Wave entries would be There maybe another plugin or webservice which could turn this into a pdf.


    1. Its not looking good. It appears tabbloid have pulled developer API access which kills this plugin. Trying to get an answer from HP :-(

  34. What a shame they cut themselves off from such a big community.

    I can understand them wanting each site to register for their own API key, hopefully you can work something out.

  35. Hi Martin

    Have you had any feedback from HP? I loved this plugin and I will be lost without it – is there an alternative to HP’s service?



    1. I’ve known about the Five Filters project for a while and one of the developers was in touch last year. I haven’t been keeping up to date with their developments and didn’t know that they had an API now. Looks like I should be able to fork the plugin to integrate with their service. I’ll give it a go very soon!

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