How to Create a Customized PDF or Google Doc for Your Submissions

August 17, 2022

Update

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

We believe you are already familiar with the Customize PDF Report feature that we have. However, there’s another way on how you can create a customized PDF file based on your submission data. You can create your customized PDF by using the following 3rd party applications:

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

Here’s a test form that we made for you: https://form.jotformpro.com/72362058406959. After you fill it out, you’ll receive the customized PDF document in your email, that’s just one of the option. 

Following case scenarios where you can use this feature:

  • 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 own format.
  • You need to create multiple PDF files based on one submission. 

Below is how you can set this up for your form:

  1. First of all, you need to create your form.
  2. Integrate the form to your Google Spreadsheet account. Here’s a guide about it: How to Integrate Form with Google Spreadsheet
  3. Open your Google Spreadsheet and install the Autocrat add-on.
  • Under Extensions tab, find Add-ons and click on the Get add-ons
get-add-ons-google-spreadsheets
  • Search for Autocrat and add it by clicking the Autocrat card. 
autocrat-add-on-jotform-google
  • It will then ask you to allow your Google account to have this add-on accessibility.  
allow-permissions-for-autocrat
  1. After you have successfully installed Autocrat, you can find it under the Extensions tab. 
open-autocrat-extension
  1. Before using Autocrat, you will need to set up Google Drive folders and your template. Below are the folders that were created for this example: 
    • Jotform-Sheet-Autocrat Folder – This the main folder. 
    • Autocrat PDF Files – This is the folder where the generated PDF files will be stored.
    • Autocrat Document Template – This is the folder where for the template.

You can have your own way of organizing the folders. Nevertheless, please do note that the integrated spreadsheet is not in any of these folders. 

google-drive-folder-autocrat-jotform
  1. In the Autocrat Document Template folder, create the Google Doc:
application-details-template-google-doc

Note that this document will also be a template for the generated PDF file. You can create your own template.

You can see tags like <<…>> in the Google Document. Note that all the tags are linked to the column names of the Google Spreadsheet which was integrated with Jotform. So the column names are enclosed like this: <<Column Name>>.

In this case, we are fetching the following columns:

Setting Up the Autocrat Extension

After you have created your template, now we can set up our Autocrat job in the integrated spreadsheet. Below are the steps on how to create a new job for Autocrat. 

  1. Open the Autocrat under the Extensions tab in your spreadsheet.
open-autocrat-extension-2
  1. Click on the New Job button. The “job” term here means basically a “task” that will run based on some conditions or triggers. 
creating-new-job-autocrat
  1. Name your “job” and click on the Next button. 
add-job-name-jotform-autocrat
  1. Choose a template, in our case, we have a Google doc template that we created earlier. Choose the From drive option and select a template. After that; click on the next button.
select-template-from-drive-autocrat-jotform
  1. Here you need to choose the integrated sheet as the source of the submission data. In our case, it’s name “Form PDF Responses”. After that, you can see that the tags are automatically listed and you can map them to the columns in your sheet. 
merge-tabs-columns-autocrat-jotform

Note

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

After you have selected a source sheet and mapped the columns. Click on the Next button. 

  1. Name the PDF files that will be created, you can set the filename unique per submission by selecting dynamic tags, for example: <<Submission ID>>. Then in the Type field, you can choose Google document or PDF. Click on the Next button after. 
autocrat-jotform-file-settings
  1. On the next page, you need to choose the destination folder of your generated PDF files. In our case, we created the Autocrat PDF Files folder in the Google Drive. 
choose-destination-folder-autocrat
  1. The next step is for optional adding dynamic folder reference. To learn more about this, you can check the official guide of Autocrat. You can click on the Next button and proceed further. 
add-dynamic-folder-reference-autocrat-jotform
  1. This is optional step as well. In our guide, we don’t need this because Autocrat automatically identifies if the row in the sheet has already been processed for a generated PDF. You can make use of this feature depending on how complicated your process is. If you don’t need it – just click on the Next button. 
set-merge-condition-autocrat-jotform
  1. On this step, you can share the generated PDF file and send it via email. The important thing is to enable the Share doc option and choose the filetype in the Share doc as field.
share-doc-emails-autocrat-jotform

If you scroll down, you can see that you can set the email template. Now, this depends on who is your target recipient for these PDF files. If the PDF file is for your own purpose, then add your own email next to the field To. If you want to send and share the PDF file to the person who filled out the Jotform form, then use the Email tag. 

send-email-autocrat-pdf

You can customize this to your own purpose. And click on the Next button after. 

  1. This is where you need to set the trigger for this job. Unfortunately, the Run on form trigger option works with Google forms only. So it’s not possible to trigger this job automatically when the Jotform form has been filled out. Nevertheless, you can use the Run on time trigger option. You don’t need to have the spreadsheet opened, this will automatically be triggered.
run-trigger-save-job-autocrat

Note

Using this option for sending PDFs – the minimal refreshing time is one hour. If you need to send an email with the PDF submission right after the form submission, you can check this guide.

After setting up the trigger options, click on the Save button.

If you open Autocrat again, you’ll see that your job has been created. You can manually trigger the job by clicking on the Run button. 

run-the-trigger-manually-autocrat

Below is a screencast with Autocrat manual triggering and receiving email with the PDF attachment. Otherwise an email and PDF will be received within an hour:

Additionally, you can see a created PDF file in your Google Drive folder:

pdf-files-in-google-drive

If you have any questions, concerns or just to share a feedback on this guide, feel free to comment below.

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  • Thomas BREUGNOT