Create an Exact Form

Say you've entered all your client contact information into QuickBase and now you want to put it to work. It's time to generate your quarterly sales letters. So how do you get your data out of QuickBase and into your form letter? You can easily generate documents like this by creating an Exact Form. An exact form is a template you use to insert QuickBase content into documents like letters and invoices.

How it works

If you have permission to create an application, you have the power to create Exact Forms. Using QuickBase's special Microsoft Word template, you can insert QuickBase data directly into whatever document you create (like a letter, invoice or work order) and then print the document from within your QuickBase application. To do so, you'll download the QuickBase template, open it in Microsoft Word and enter your text—including field codes that QuickBase uses to insert data from your records. Each field code draws values from the chosen field directly into your document. (If you've ever generated a mail merge in a word-processing program, you've seen field codes in action.) When you're done, save the exact form in your QuickBase account and use it to print documents from there.


Exact Forms
- In Microsoft Word (top left) you design your form and enter field codes. When a user displays it in a web browser (lower right), actual data shows.

Requirements: Creating exact forms requires Microsoft Word 2000, 2002 (part of Office XP), 2003, 2007, or 2010 for Windows. Viewing exact form documents requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0+ for Windows or Mozilla Firefox. In order to create an exact form, you must have permission to create an application in QuickBase. Though exact forms use the QuickBase API, they do not require application tokens. In fact, exact forms won't work with any application that requires tokens. You'll see a blank page. If tokens are already required for an application that will feature exact forms, disable tokens for that app.

To create an Exact Form:

  1. Download the QuickBase Exact Forms template to your hard drive in one of two ways:

    Depending upon what version of Microsoft Word you're running, click one of these links:

    Or, from within any application, select Help > Application Site Map and within the Forms section click the Exact Forms link. Then right-click the link for the template you want and select Save Target As (in Internet Explorer) or Save Link As (Firefox) from the shortcut menu.

  2. If your browser asks whether you want to open or save the file, click Save.

  3. Select a location for the QuickBase Exact Forms template.

    You can save it on your desktop or in any folder you want. Be sure to save the file with a .DOT extension, or if you're using Word 2007 or above, the .DOTM extension.

    Once you've selected the destination folder, click Save.

  4. Open the QuickBase Exact Forms template.

    Double click on the QuickBase Exact Forms template. Doing so automatically launches Microsoft Word.

    If Microsoft Word displays a security warning about macros, click OK and then turn on the Always trust macros from this publisher checkbox and click Enable Macros. If you have Word 2007, the Word toolbar will display a Security Warning. Click its Options button and enable the macros. Within the dialog box that follows, turn on the Trust all documents from this publisher checkbox and click OK.


    Trust QuickBase.
    You must select trust all (or at the very least enable this content) in order for the template to work.

    The document that displays contains some explanatory text which includes links to sample documents. If you click one of these links, you can view a sample, and also use it as a template, replacing the field names with those from your table and adding whatever text you want. Or, just work in the first document that opens, replacing all the explanatory text with your own (see next step). You must start with one of these template documents because these files have built-in features that communicate with QuickBase and let you save the file there.

  5. Design and format the form.

    You can enter whatever text you want. Include field codes and formulas to draw in specific information from QuickBase. (These fields should all exist in the table to which you'll link the exact form in Step 7.) Read how to Customize Your Exact Form.

  6. Tell Word to save your template within your QuickBase account.

    When you're done customizing the exact form, go to the Word menu and select either File > Save to QuickBase (Word 2003 or earlier) or Add-Ins > Save to QuickBase (Word 2007 or above). A sign-in dialog box appears. Enter your QuickBase User Name and Password.

    Note: If your application exists on a custom URL, like mycompany.quickbase.com, you must replace the text that QuickBase inserts in the QuickBase Domain field with your own custom domain. To do so, you replace www with your custom name (for example, mycompany.quickbase.com or intuit.quickbase.com). If your application exists on QuickBase's main site, www.quickbase.com, do not edit the text that appears.

  7. When you've completed all fields, click Sign In.

  8. Select the table from which the form should draw data.

    From the QuickBase Tables list that appears, select the name of the application (and table if it's a multi-table application) with which you want to use the form. If that table already has an exact form connected with it, the filename displays in the QuickBase Exact Forms box below the table list. (You can save multiple forms within a table as long as you give each one a unique name.)

  9. In the Exact Form Name box, type in a name for your form (for example, "Letter"), and click Save.

    When you save your form, QuickBase uses it to generate multiple HTML pages—one for each record in your table. To store each file, the program automatically creates a URL (formula) field in the table you chose named "Print Exact Form name" (where "Exact Form name" is the name you gave your form when you saved it).

  10. Add the new "Print Exact Form name" URL field to any reports or forms where you want it to appear.

    In a table report, just right click any field heading and select Add a Column. (Read more about adding fields to forms and editing reports.)

The new URL field contains a link that opens the finished product: a document containing information from your application. To access one of these exact form results documents, display a report of your table or a specific record in the table and click this link.

Note: Again, QuickBase automatically creates the URL (formula) field that hosts your exact form, but you must add this column/field to any custom forms or reports in which you want it to appear. See Step 9 for details.

Print an Exact Form

You print your form documents from within QuickBase. To do so, open a report or form that features this field and click the Print Exact Form Name link. The page displays in a new browser window. Select File > Print. QuickBase Exact Forms print one record per document.

Edit an existing Exact Form:

You can edit your Exact Form at any time after you create it. To do so, open the QuickBase Exact Form template file and then select File > Open from QuickBase or, if you're working in Word 2007 or above, Add-Ins > Open from QuickBase. In the Open dialog box that displays, select the table that contains the exact form. When the form name displays, select it and click Open. Microsoft Word opens the form for editing. When you're done making changes select File > Save to QuickBase or, in Word 2007 or above, Add-Ins > Save to QuickBase. The program saves the form in the same table. If you want to save it to a different table, select File > Save to QuickBase or, in Word 2007 or above, Add-ins> Save to QuickBase As and select the new table from the dialog box. If you do so, make sure you edit field codes in the letter so they match fields in the new table.

Tip: How do you know what exact forms you've created for an application? In the menu bar on any application page, select Customize > Application and click the Pages tab.

My Exact Form displays as a blank page. What did I do wrong?

If you try to display an exact form in an application that requires application tokens, you'll get only a blank page. Exact forms don't yet play well with tokens. If tokens are required for an application that will feature exact forms, disable tokens for that app.

Related Topics

 

This page refers to an older version of QuickBase. Online help is now located at http://www.quickbase.com/user-assistance/default.html.

 

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