How to Create a Customized PDF for Your Submissions

December 7, 2022

Update

We are excited to announce that we have just released the new version of Jotform PDF Editor.

We believe you’re already familiar with our Customize PDF Report feature. However, if you like exploring new options to create a customized PDF report, you can use the following combination of 3rd-party applications to do it:

You can find the documentation and help guide for Autocrat on this link

Here’s a test form that we made for you: https://www.jotform.com/72362058406959. Please feel free to test it out with your active email address. Once submitted, you should receive the PDF document attached to the email.

You can use this workaround for the following use case scenarios:

  • A highly customized contract with the submission data on it. 
  • A certificate you want to send to your users based on their submission data.
  • You want a PDF copy of the submission, but you have your format or design.
  • You need to create multiple PDF files based on one submission. 

Here are the prerequisites to setting up this integration:

  • You must have the form fully created.
  • You should integrate the form with Google Sheets. To integrate, visit: How to Integrate Forms with Google Sheets.
  • You must install the Autocrat add-on in the integrated Google Sheet of the form.
  • Your Google Docs template, where your form data will be merged and converted into a PDF document.
  • You have the folder in your Google Drive account to store the created PDF document for each submission.

Installing the Autocrat Extension

The first thing you should do once the form is integrated with Google Sheets is to install Autocrat. Here’s how:

  1. Assuming you’re viewing the spreadsheet file of the form, click the Extensions menu at the top.
  2. Click on the Add-ons option.
  3. Choose Get Add-ons from the list.
jotform-google-sheet-extensions-install-add-ons
  1. Search for Autocrat, and click it from the list.
  2. Click the Install button. You will need to allow the permission request at this step. It’s all set after that.
jotform-google-sheet-extensions-install-autocrat

Preparing the Google Doc Template

Before setting up the Autocrat extension, you should have the Google Doc ready for merging. Here’s how you should do it:

  1. Open your Google Doc template.
  2. Go to the sections where you want the data from your form to be merged.
  3. Now, enclose the column label from the integrated Google Sheets file with double Angle Brackets. For example, if the label is First Name, place it as <<First Name>> in the document. Your document should look like the following:
jotform-google-doc-template-for-autocrat

Setting up the Autocrat Extension

After setting up the base Google Doc template, you should now be able to set up Autocrat to create the PDF document and send it via email. Here are the steps:

  1. In your form’s spreadsheet, go to the Extensions menu.
  2. Click Autocrat from the list.
  3. Click on the Open option.
jotform-google-sheet-open-autocrat-extension
  1. Click the New Job button. The “job” term here means a “task” that will run based on some conditions or triggers.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-new-job-button
  1. Provide a name for this job, and click the Next button.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-new-job-title
  1. Choose the template that you prepared earlier. Once the document is selected, click the Next button.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-select-template
  1. Map the integrated sheet as the source data to the Google Doc template. Autocrat automatically does this for you, provided that you have correctly placed the field labels from Google Sheets. Click on Next to proceed.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-map-source-data

Note

If you have an Upload Field in your form – you should select the Hyperlink data type of the Upload field instead of Standard.

  1. In the File Settings, enter the name of the files that Autocrat will create. For example, you can use the dynamic values from the form, such as the Submission ID. In this case, enter <<Submission ID>>.
  2. Select PDF as the Type, and click on Next to proceed.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-file-settings
  1. Choose the destination folder where the PDF document will be stored. Click on Next once the folder is set.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-folder-destination
  1. Skip both Add dynamic folder reference and Set merge condition, and proceed to Share docs & send emails. In this window, set the following:
    • Share doc to Yes.
    • Share doc as PDF.
    • Allow collaborators to re-share to No.
    • Send from generic no-reply address to No.
    • Type <<Email>> into the To box.
    • Enter a Subject for the email.
    • Compose a message.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-share-doc-settings
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-share-doc-settings-email

Note:

If you are logged in using a Google Workspace account, set the Send from generic no-reply address to Yes. That way, Autocrat will fetch a generic no-reply address from your organization’s domain as the sender’s email. If using Gmail, autocrat will send the email using your Gmail Address.

  1. Finally, select Yes from the Run on time trigger. Choose One Hour from the selection.
  2. Click the Save button, and you’re done with the setup.
jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-job-triggers

The minimal refreshing time of Autocrat is one hour. If you wish to run the job immediately, you must open Autocrat again in the integrated sheet, and click the Run icon.

jotform-google-sheet-autocrat-run-job-icon

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback on this guide, feel free to comment below.

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