This is meant to go beyond the simple mechanics of using the PDF builder and more into a process of building the documents. If you have not already reviewed the PDF Document Builder article and have an understanding of the basic functionality of how the builder works then please do so now before going through this article. This is meant to provide an approach to building templates.
Preparing the PDF
In order for your doc building process to be successful its important to make sure the PDF document is setup correctly. Otherwise you may find yourself going back and having to redo a lot of work because you may need to adjust the PDF and then adjust all the tags you've already positioned. Some guidelines to keep in mind with the pdf you will use.
1. Make sure the PDF is not fill-able
This refers to a native feature on some PDFs that is meant for someone to fill out. You will either need to request and "flat" version of the pdf from it's source or if you are converting a document of another file type to PDF, make sure it does not contain any fill-able sections. You can see an example of a fill-able pdf here.
2. No placeholder text
Since the pdf builder takes your pdf and then allows you to place tags where you want different data points from the CRM to populate then you need to make sure there is no placeholder text. You can see an example of this in the image below. The area the tags populate in the builder are transparent except for the actual text that populates. So anywhere you want information to appear you will want to make sure the area is clear of anything else.
A pdf that looks like the above with placeholder text will result in the final version looking as pictured below.
Instead you will want to leave space available for the tags as in the image above so you will get a similar result as below.
3. Leave enough room
It is important to keep in mind that the text will not shift in order to make room if the information being populated does not fit. You will want to make sure you give plenty of room for information to populate otherwise you will find text being overwritten like in the following example.
In the example above not enough room was left to populate the company name and you can see the illegible result below.
Instead you should leave plenty of room like in the example above so you will get the result below. You may also notice we broke the line so that the entire name would fit without it possibly overflowing within the space of the tag.
This goes for paragraphs as well. If you are trying to populate an entire paragraph you will want to make sure there is enough space and we suggest removing any horizontal rules meant for positioning text on.
Since the area isn't sufficient enough and because of horizontal rules on the page the information is rather illegible.
In the example above you can see we left plenty of space and removed the horizontal rules so the text can populate without any interference.
*Note: In this example it is important to make sure the style on the tag is set to "Wrap". This should happen by default but if you find the paragraph is not populating correctly make sure the text is set to wrap.
Building the Template
1. Add the Replaceable Fields
Now that you believe the PDF has been setup correctly its time to get into the builder and start adding the replaceable fields. First start by putting the replaceable fields into position on the template. We will worry about adding the tags in after we've positioned all the fields. We will skip any check boxes, signatures or other types of replaceable fields and focus on adding only the text type. Text fields is where you will be placing the tags that populate information from the CRM. The majority of the work will be with these so its best to work on them first.
* Tip: Use CTRL+C to copy the replaceables and the arrow keys on your keyboard to move them into place. This makes a quick and easy task out of creating the new replaceables and moving them into position; especially on tables of data.
2. Enter the Tags
Now that we've positioned everything lets move onto adding the tags used to populate information from the CRM. We suggest having 2 other pages open for reference while you're doing this; our Tags article and either the Custom Field (Contacts > Custom Fields) or Form Builder Page (Contacts > Custom Fields > Form Builder > Pick the form that best corresponds with the document template you are building) so you can easily find the tags you want.
*Tip: When searching either page for a tag you can click CTRL+F to text search the page and easily locate the tag you are looking for.
3. Add the rest of the Replaceable Field Types
Now that you've completed adding the text fields it's now time to add the Text Input, Checkbox, Signature, Sign Date and Initial Fields.
Test, Test, Test!
Even if your document template was built by one of our support reps, it is still important for you to test the document to make sure everything populates correctly. The PDF Builder allows you to test live contacts and see how information populates on the page. Its good to have a few contacts in mind to test with or if you generated the document on a contact and found a problem you can use that contact for troubleshooting.