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Word Templates


Our platform allows you to export Data in the layouts you want by using Microsoft Word templates. If you already have Word documents that you have been printing out to use as data capture Forms, this means that with a few minor changes, you can reuse these as data templates. 
This functionality works similarly to a Microsoft Word “mail merge” in that the system produces output based on pre-formatted templates. 
The template contains the static (non-changing) text, images and formatting wanted in the final output.  

It also includes placeholders where Form entry answers will go. 

For example, imagine you have an Inspection Form and you want to export the Inspection Data captured on the app as a standard letter. You could create a Word template that sets out the standard text of the letter along with placeholders for where various Inspection answers should go.

Want to jump straight into the deep end? Take a look at our "Kitchen sink" template file attached at the bottom of this article.

Adding a Template to a Form

  1. First identify the Form for which you wish to create a template. 
    If you don’t already have a Form, you can quickly create the Form using the Form Screen Designer.
  2. Next you’ll need a new or existing Word or Excel file. 
    If you already have Word/Excel files that you have been printing to use as data capture Forms, these can easily be reused as a template.
  3. Go through your template and insert placeholders wherever you want the system to insert answers from data entries of your chosen Form. 
    Placeholders are entered using the unique data name of the Form field, wrapped in curly braces – e.g., {{dataname}}. 

    So, for example, if your Form has a field with the data name of “LastName,” then you can instruct the system to inject the answer for this field wherever the placeholder {{LastName}} appears. 

    Any formatting (font, color, highlighting, size, etc.) that you apply to the placeholder will be honored by the system and applied to the answer value inserted. Note that for Excel templates, we only support one placeholder per cell and the cell should not contain any other text around the placeholder.
  4. Once you have inserted all the placeholders needed, upload the template file to your Form screen. There are two places where you can add a template to a Form:
    1. Form Level
      • If you add a template at this level, you are instructing the system to use this template as the default whenever a PDF is generated. Upload your template using the "Word Template" field found on your Form's Settings page.
    2. Connector Level
      • This is a template that is specific to one or more Connectors but should not be used as a default. Upload your template using the "add data template" link found on the appropriate Connectors in your Form's Connectors page.

NOTE: Uploading a template also makes new export options available in the Data area.

Testing Your Templates

Assuming you have at least one existing Form entry for your Form, you can test your templates fairly easily by using the Data area. In the Data page, search entries against your Form and the version onto which you uploaded your template. Once you have some Data results, hover over a row and click the Export option to get an instant look at your template output.

Troubleshooting / Common Issues 

Generated Output File Does Not Open

(Your generated docx output does not open in Word, giving errors such as "unreadable content" or "file is corrupt and cannot be opened")

The issue is down to the docx template being used in your Word data template. Usually, this means that your Word doc is linked under the hood to an inaccessible .docx file (usually located on your PC or a network drive). Now this docx file is not available to the Forms on Fire platform when it generates the file and naturally is not found when you open the Word output file on another machine.

What you need to do is clear the docx template of your Word file, which will let the Word file default to the standard "Normal" .docx template. Follow the steps below to clear the problem docx template:

  1. Display the Developer tab in the Word ribbon and navigate to the Developer tab.
  2. Click the Document Template tool. Word displays the Templates and Add-Ins dialog box.
  3. Clear whatever text is found in the Document Template field (even if it says "Normal").
  4. Click the OK button to reset the Word doc to have no required/attached dotx.
  5. Close the dialog and save your Word template.

"Kitchen Sink" Example Template

If you're the kind of person who likes to jump straight into the deep end, then take a look at the attached docx file below :) This is a "kitchen sink" example of most of our functionality for Word data templates. 
We strongly suggest you read the other topics in this section to understand how the functionality in the example template works. 

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