How to create Word and PDF documents from Cognito Forms in Power Automate (Microsoft Flow) and Azure Logic Apps

In this article, you will learn how to automate the generation of documents in your company. For example, applications, orders, invoices, cards and others. We’ll show you how to create a PDF document from a DOCX template on a Cognito Form submission with the help of Processes in Power Automate (Microsoft Flow) and Azure Logic Apps.

Processes are a Plumsail Documents feature with an intuitive interface for creating documents from templates.

Cognito Forms are an online form builder that allows you to create powerful forms for your website.

We'll connect them in Power Automate (Flow) to automatically collect data from a Cognito Form, apply it to our template, and generate a new PDF document.

Create a Form

We have already created a Cognito Form. We will use data from its submission. If you haven't created Cognito Forms before, follow this link to learn how to do it.

Below is a screenshot of our form:

Cognito Form

Configure the Process

Before creating the Flow, we need to set a Process, which will generate PDF documents from a DOCX template.

Create a new process

Go to the Processes section in your Plumsail account.

Click on the Add process button.

add process button

Set the Process name.

generate PDF from Plumsail Forms

Upload the template you're gonna use. Here is the link for downloading the template we use in this example:

Docx template

When creating your own ones, mind the templating language. Plumsail Word DOCX templates use a different approach than most other templating solutions. It uses a minimal amount of syntax to make your work done.

In short, the templating engine thinks that everything between curly {{ }} brackets is variables where it will apply your specified data. Read this article to get familiar with the templating engine.

Configure a template

Once you're done with the first step Create Process, press the Submit button, and you’ll proceed to the next – Configure Template:

  • Fill in the name of the result file
  • Select PDF format for the output file
  • Protect the result PDF if you wish
Configure template

You can test a template as well, to see how it will look at the end. After clicking on the Test template button, you’ll need to ‘feed’ a template with your data in JSON format. In our case, it might be:

{
  "FieldName1": "Value1",
  "FieldName2": "Value2",
  "FieldName3": "Value3",
  "FieldName4": "Value4"
}
test template

It’s testing. We’re going to apply the data from the Cognito form to our template.

Delivery

The next step is delivery. For demonstrating purpose, we’ll store the result file in OneDrive. But there are other options.

Select the folder where the ready document will be saved. Fill in the file's name. You don't need to put .extension, it'll be done automatically based on the output file type you set on the Configure template step.

create pdf from template on form submission

You can configure as many deliveries as you need.

Start the Process

We will start our Process from Microsoft Flow.

Create a Flow

This is how our Flow looks:

pdf from cognito form flow

Check out the Flow steps described below.

Flow trigger

We need to start the Flow everytime somebody submits our Cognito Form. For that, search for Cognito Forms in Power Automate and set Cognito Forms - When a new entry is created as a trigger.

If this is your first Flow with Cognito Forms, on this step, sign in to your Cognito Account from MS Flow to use your forms inside Flows.

Then, you'll need to pick the form you want to track in the dropdown.

cognito form trigger

Start document generation process

This is the action from Plumsail Documents connector. This action is suitable for starting the Process of generating documents from a template. You can find more information about this action by visiting this page.

Using the action for the first time, you’ll be asked for ''Connection Name'' and ''Access Key''.

create flow connection

You can type any name for the connection. For example, ''Plumsail Documents''.

Then create an API key in your Plumsail Account page, copy and paste it to ''Access Key'' field.

The action has two parameters:

start generation documents action
  • Process name. Select the process you need from available ones.
  • Template data. Specify source data in JSON format:
dynamic content of Cognito form is submitted

This object contains information from our form. We selected the dynamic content from the output of Cognito Forms - When a new entry is created action:

dynamic content of Cognito form is submitted

Use the result document in Flow

You can stop on the step Start document generation process.

Steps described above are enough for generating PDFs from a DOCX template based on the Cognito Form submission. Your result file will be saved to OneDrive in this case. See how it will look:

pdf from Cognito form result file

But if you need an advanced logic, it's possible to work with the result file right in the Flow.

Here is an example of how you can send the ready document for approval.

Add an action Create an approval from the Approvals connector. Select an output of the previous step for an attachment.

send pdf for approval

Sign up for Plumsail Documents

As you can see, it's simple to automize the generation of documents on Cognito Forms submission. If you're new to Plumsail Documents, register an account to get a free 30-day trial.

Hint

You can generate PDFs from Web Forms even without Power Automate (Microsoft Flow). Check the article How to generate PDF documents from a DOCX template on Plumsail Forms submission.