Creating Document Templates with PDF Builder

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This article includes the following topics:


Creating the template

1. Add the Replaceable Fields

When you believe the PDF has been set correctly, it is time to get into the builder and start adding the replaceable fields. Start by putting the replaceable fields into position on the template. We will worry about adding tags after we've positioned all the fields. We will skip any checkboxes, signatures, or other types of replaceable fields and focus on adding only the text type. Text fields are where you will be placing tags that populate information from the CRM. The majority of the work will be with these so work on them first. 

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, let's add the tags used to populate information from the CRM. We suggest having two 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. 


When searching either page for a tag you can click CTRL+F to text search the page and easily locate the tag you are seeking.


3. Add the rest of the Replaceable Field Types

Now that you've completed adding the text fields, it is time to add the Text Input, Checkbox, Signature, Sign Date, and Initial Fields. 

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Testing the template

Even if your document template was built by one of our support representatives, 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. It is good to have a few contacts in mind to test with or if you generated the document on a contact and found a problem, use that contact for troubleshooting.


Clients are responsible for their own templates. As these templates are used by your business, it is the final responsibility of the client to ensure all templates are operational. Centrex will not be held responsible if a template is not populating information correctly.

Some things to watch out for...

  • Make sure any areas of the document stating payment amounts are populating correctly. Often the total amount of a fee is populated when the amount of a single payment is supposed to and vice versa.
  • Review any sections of the document naming parties to the agreement. Make sure the right parties are being named. Often names of the client and company representative get switched; the applicant is populated when the co-applicant should or the name of your company is populated when it should be the client's company name.


This article goes beyond the simple mechanics of using the PDF Builder and more into the process of building the documents. If you have not already reviewed the PDF Document Builder article and have a basic understanding of how the builder works, please do so before going through this article. This is meant to provide an approach to building templates. 

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Preparing the PDF

For your document-building process to be successful, make sure the PDF document is set up correctly. Otherwise, you may find yourself redoing your work because you may need to adjust the PDF and then adjust all the tags you've already positioned. Here are some guidelines regarding 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 a "flat" version of the PDF from its source or, if converting a document of another file type to PDF, make sure it does not contain any fillable sections. You can see an example of a fillable 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, 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 is transparent, except for the actual text that populates. So anywhere you want the information to appear, you will want to make sure the area is clear of anything else.

Bad Example


A PDF that looks like the above with placeholder text will result in the final version looking as pictured below.


Good Example


Instead, leave space available for the tags as in the image above so you will get a similar result as below. 



3. Leave enough room

REMEMBER: the text will not shift in order to make room if the information being populated does not fit. Give plenty of room for information to populate, otherwise, you will find text being overwritten like in the following example.

Bad Example


In the example above, not enough room was left to populate the company name and you can see the illegible result below. 


Good Example


Instead, 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 trying to populate an entire paragraph, make sure there is enough space and we suggest removing any horizontal rules meant for positioning text. 

Bad Example


Since the area isn't sufficient enough and because of horizontal rules on the page, the information is rather illegible.


Good Example


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. 


In this example 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.

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