Form templates are meant to be used from client to client. So what happens when you need that template to be customized with the client's details or information about their project? You could always manually edit a form on a project before you send it and type in the client's name, but there is an easier way!
What are Smart Fields?
A smart field is a text placeholder you can use in your email and form templates that will autofill once added to a project. Dubsado smart fields can be identified by their double curly braces:
The example above will autofill with the client's full name. If you put this smart field in a contract template and then send that contract through a project, the smart field placeholder will be replaced by the client's first and last name. Pretty cool, huh?
Examples of What You Can Autofill on a Form with Smart Fields
- Client contact information
- Your business contact information
- Invoice details (i.e. to show line items or an invoice total on a contract)
- Today's date
- Package details (within a package element on a proposal)
For a full list of every smart field available, check out our Smart Field Reference Guide. Note that not all smart fields on the list are intended for use in form templates.
How to Insert a Smart Field in a Form
Smart fields can only be inserted into text box elements on your form. Here's how:
- Add a text box to your form.
- Click on the text box to edit.
- Click on the area in the text where you would like to insert the smart field.
- Select a smart field from the dropdown menu in the toolbar.
While editing your template, the smart field will not autofill with any information. This is because the form has not yet been added to a project and does not know which information to display.
Smart Fields Display Existing Information
For a smart field to autofill with a client's name or an invoice total, that information must already exist within the project where you're sending the form. Otherwise, the smart field has no data to pull from and will appear blank 😱.
This means that the order of the steps in your process is very important! For example, if you want to include a smart field for the invoice total in your contract template, you need to create the invoice and add line items before you send out the contract.
Pay close attention to the sequence of sending your forms and emails to ensure that any smart field being used will have information already entered in to recall.
TIP: One exception to this is when you are using package smart fields while building a proposal template. In that case, the package information is being pulled into the proposal and is not dependent on a project, so the smart fields already know how to autofill.
Avoiding Smart Field Errors
When a smart field has not been inserted correctly, it may be invalid. An invalid/broken smart field in a form will cause the entire text box to disappear. To avoid this error:
- ALWAYS insert a smart field by using the smart field menu in the text editor toolbar.
- NEVER attempt to edit a smart field or type it from scratch.
- Avoid using underline formatting on smart fields. If you do, be sure to underline the entire smart field, including both sets of curly braces.
Copying and pasting a smart field will work in certain situations (like adding a smart field to a canned email subject line), but as a rule of thumb, always insert from the smart field menu!
If you do find that all or part of a form template has disappeared, troubleshoot broken smart fields with this article.