As business owners we often spend a long time writing quotations and project estimates, which everyone will agree is a time consuming and monotonous task.

At the beginning of our business journey, we often sent out quotes as quick emails including vague project description cobbled together in as short a time as possible. As our business matured we understood the need to produce a document that reflected our skills and talents as a team and also provide background information and a portfolio. Adding more effort to the quotation writing process and becoming more of an investment of our valuable time.

Automated company brochures!

As we’re a multi-disciplined agency, me (Darren) being a developer (albeit a rusty one), I noticed a repetition of tasks in what we were doing, and the little grey cells began to fire.

Within a quote lots of the pages; About us, Terms of sale, Team profile etc. were the same from quote to quote. Some parts of the document have to be individually written, the Price, Timescales, Requirements etc. but the text changes involved were minimal and most of our effort went into making the document ‘look pretty’.

An idea formed in my head… can we have a web page with a small number of input fields, that, when saved produces a high-quality PDF we are able to send to clients – reducing the time to produce a proposal from around an hour, to under 15 minutes.

The answer was yes, we could.

Custom application producing PDF’s

Using our existing PHP development skills we created a custom application with a front end form, where unique details of each quote are entered and stored for later retrieval. After all the data has been entered the new quotation brochure is automatically generated and downloaded to your desktop, from where it can be emailed to a client.

There was a technical limitation to our task, as production of the PDF document was beyond the scope of PHP alone. For this, we used the DomPDF library to create a new document from a web view. Allowing our team to create the design in HTML and CSS dynamically, which was then stored as static PDF files or downloading and client use.

Project scope changes

As is usual, the initial scope of the project can soon change requiring an updated copy of the proposal document. This is now a simple process of recalling the previous document, making any required changes and resaving. Requiring a few small changes and no additional creative input.

Project features
  • Automatic production of PDF documents from a predefined template
  • Ability to take data from a web form or any other source
  • Designs that match your company branding guidelines
  • Embedding of links within the PDF to external web pages and resources
  • Documents can be automatically emailed to clients with inclusive read receipts
  • Landscape or portrait designs
Client projects

If your business spends too much time creating visually attractive PDF documents, have you thought about automating this process?

Our software team can create a solution for you that can take data from a form, spreadsheet or an external API and produce a visually stunning PDF document.

Contact us on 01257 429217 or fill in the form underneath to find out more!