Generate custom documents and PDFs from Smartsheet data using Zapier

From this article, you will learn how to automate the process of generating documents and nicely formatted PDFs from Smartsheet with the help of Plumsail Documents in Zapier. A built-in PDF builder by Smartsheet has limitations and requires manual actions that are not suitable when you’d like to automate processes.

We’ll show how to set up a fully automated document and PDF generation with Smartsheet data.

Systems involved:

  1. Smartsheet

  2. Plumsail Documents

  3. Zapier

Set up document generation process in Plumsail Documents

First of all, we need to set up our document as a template. A document template is a preformatted document with special placeholders. These placeholders are applied everywhere you usually copy and paste data. Thus, they indicate places of text that should be replaced with custom data.

It’s easy to transform commonly-used documents to templates - just set {{placeholders}} to indicate places you need to populate. For instance, set {{Name}} and {{Address}} for contact details.

To demonstrate the case, we’ll use one of the ready-to-use templates from the Plumsail Documents library - a service agreement template.

Click on the “Use this template” button to create a document generation process with this template. Once you’ve done it, you’ll see the Configure template step. Here you can adjust your template to your needs - insert your company logo, details.

created process and configure template step

When you’re done with it, click on the Save&Next button to proceed to the settings for the output file. Here you can set the name of the file - use {{tokens}} to make it dynamic; set the format - PDF, choose a locale, and more.

configure output file name, format and other settings

After that, you can add deliveries - where the document will be stored and sent. You can add as many of them as you need. For demonstration purposes, we added an email delivery to send agreements to customers and the Slack delivery to notify the sales team that the service contract has been sent.

add deliveries step - send email to customer and notify team in Slack

When all deliveries are set, we’re ready to start our document generation process. And we’ll do it each time when a new row is added to the Smartsheet sheet.

We’ll connect Smartsheet to Plumsail Documents using the Zapier integration platform. But before that, let’s take a quick look at what we have in Smartsheet.

Sheet overview in Smartsheet

Nothing fancy here - we have a form for submitting new orders and a corresponding sheet for it.

The form:

Smartsheet form for submitting new orders

The sheet:

Smartsheet sheet

Set up Zapier connection

As we already arranged - we need to generate a new PDF document each time a new row is added to Smartsheet. For that, we need to connect Smartsheet to Plumsail Documents in Zapier.

It’s possible to create a connection between apps (a zap) from scratch or start from a ready-to-go zap template, then customize it as described further in the guide. To start from the zap template, click on Use this zap on the widget below:

To create a zap from scratch, add a new zap in your Zapier account. For the zap trigger, search for Smartsheet:

Smartsheet trigger in Zapier

Choose ‘New Row’ as a trigger event:

Smartsheet trigger event - New Row

On the next step, you’ll be asked to sign in to your Smartsheet account from Zapier.

After that, you need to select the sheet you’d like to track for new rows:

Select sheet that zapier will monitor for new rows

Don’t skip testing the trigger to be able to use its output.

Test Smartsheet trigger

Click on Continue to proceed to add an action that will be executed on the trigger event. Search for Plumsail Documents.

Plumsail Documents action in Zapier

Choose ‘Start process’ as an action event:

Choose Start process for an action event

On the next step, you’ll be asked to sign in to your Plumsail Account from Zapier. After that, you need to select the process to start with this Zap. Once you’ve picked it up, you see fields to complete. They represent placeholders from our template. To specify values, we’ll use the output from the Smartsheet trigger:

Fill fields using Smartsheet data

Our Zap is done. Every time a new row is added to Smartsheet, your customers will receive a personalized service contract by email, your sales team will be notified about that in the Slack channel.