This is a question that I’ve come across several times in a variety of ways from our customers recently. In the pre-PandaDoc document landscape, documents and templates can appear to be the same.
- Make a copy of the “template” and then make changes to the copy. Or,
- Create the template with mail merge and then use a spreadsheet or database to merge in client contact data.
Then, after completing these tedious task(s) in Word, either:
- Save the document as a PDF and email it to the client for them to print and sign. Then, the client would either fax, email or snail mail the signed document back to them. Or,
- Print it out and then fax or snail mail it to the client. Wait for the client to send it back.
Now that PandaDoc has arrived on the scene of document creation, the need to clearly define a document vs. an actual template is incredibly important!
What is a PandaDoc Template? Roles, Tokens, and Fields
In PandaDoc, templates are files that contain most (if not all) of the content that is sent out to all prospective or current clients. This means that the meat of the content does not change frequently (terms, format, etc.), but minor things like client contact information do need to be changed for each use case, and these two different categories of content are clearly delineated. This will save you a ton of time and reduce the probability of human error.
To take advantage of these templates, make sure you add roles. Roles are placeholders for people who interact with your document. In most cases, there’s a Client or a Sales Representative. You can have just one role or as many as you want, based on how many people are involved (we’ve seen as high as 7 from some of our clients!). Having roles assigned and ordered in the templates makes the document creation, signing, and approval processes a lot easier.
By identifying and assigning fields (e.g. types of people like 'Client,' 'Manager,' or 'Legal') to Roles and adding a signing order if you have multiple fields, you’re allowing PandaDoc to know automatically who to prompt to sign when and where once you’re ready. For example, all fields assigned to 'Client' will be automatically be assigned to your client’s email address once you create a document from your template (see the video below on how this works).
In addition to field assignment for people, Roles can also be associated with auto-fill tokens. Auto-fill tokens will help you load basic client contact information into documents from your contacts or your CRM. This means you won’t have to repeat the tedious task of manually searching and typing for your client’s name, email and company name several times throughout the document.
Using Your Templates to Create Customized Documents
After finalizing a template, you or any member of your team can create specific documents based on that template. Once you create the new document, you can fully personalize it to that specific client. Depending on your setup, autofill tokens can handle all the personalization that’s specific to your client or use case. However, if you need to customize the scope of work or a once-in-a-lifetime offer, you’ll still be able to do that easily within the document.
If you just started using PandaDoc (or even if you’re a longtime customer) and you created a document when you meant to create a template, no worries! You can easily convert that document into a template. Just open the document and on the right side menu, click on ‘More’ > ‘Convert to Template.’
With these newly converted templates, you can now utilize ‘Roles’ and auto-fill tokens to increase the efficiency of your document generation process!
Remember, if you need ideas for creating a template, we have a vast library of them that are customizable for free!
Have a unique scenario or want to make your templates more effective? Please let us know! We’re more than happy to work with you. Just hit us up in the help button inside PandaDoc at the bottom right corner or send us an email at