Mastering the Art of Dynamics 365 PDF Quotes - A 2024 Power User’s Guide

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Mastering the Art of Dynamics 365 PDF Quotes

Ever wished there was a way to transform your Dynamics 365 quotes into stunning PDFs for effortless client sharing? Look no further! We're here to unveil the magic of the "Export to PDF" feature.

Where Do I Start for Generating a PDF Quote?

Sales Hub ~Unified Interface

To generate the PDF Quote, you first need to create or open the quote. For this, navigate to your Dynamics 365 Sales Hub app. From there, you can access the Quotes from the Collateral menu or by opening the Opportunity that the Quote refers to.

Important Notes

  • By now, the Unified Interface is likely your go-to environment within Dynamics 365 (after all, the legacy web client has not been supported since 2019). You absolutely need the Unified Interface to use the "Export to PDF" feature we'll be exploring.
  • The steps outlined in this article refer to the standard Sales Hub app. If your organization uses a custom Dynamics 365 app, the steps might be a bit different. In that case, it's best to check with your Dynamics 365 administrator for the exact steps to export to PDF  so you can still get your Dynamics 365 PDF Quotes.

The Importance of Word Templates

Before we get too excited, there's one more crucial element: Word Templates. These pre-designed templates act as a blueprint for formatting your quotes into beautiful PDFs. Don't fret; crafting your own templates isn't mandatory. You already get two built-in templates:

  • one to print the quote for the customer
  • another one to generate a quote summary (more targeted for internal use).

But if you're looking for something different, creating your own template is the way to go. We will go into the details of templates later, but for now, let’s see how straightforward the PDF generation process is.

Behold! The Dynamics 365 PDF Quotes Generation in Action

To generate a PDF, you start from an open quote record and locate the Export to PDF button on the command bar.

Export to PDF button

Once you click that button, a preview window will open using the default template as the base.

Important Note

If you see a “PDF Preview is not supported on this browser” error at this stage, we recommend trying another browser. Microsoft Edge is always a safe bet. Nonetheless, you can choose to proceed with exporting the PDF without previewing.

PDF preview is not supported

Let’s say you’re happy with that professional-looking document ready to impress your clients – what do you do next? There are three options:

  1. Download
    Dynamics 365 will transform your quote into a polished PDF in a flash and place it in the folder you normally save other downloads. The file name defaults to the template name, but you can adjust it in the Save as
  2. Email
    A Dynamics 365 email draft will be created, with the quote as an attachment (file name created as in the previous option). You can fill out what is missing, make any adjustments in the email, and then send it.
  3. Save to Dynamics
    This will save the PDF to the Quote timeline.

How Can I Customize Word Templates for Specific Branding Requirements?

You have full control over the design and layout of the Word templates you use for Dynamics 365.

Here is what you need to do step-by-step.

#1 Get Microsoft Word Ready

You will need to start from a blank document and work using the Developer tab in your Microsoft Word (if you don’t see it, Customize your Ribbon to make it visible). You will need the XML Mapping Pane from this tab on steps #3 and #4.

XML Mapping Pane

#2 Prepare Structure and Static Text

You can download the two pre-existing templates and copy any parts of static text that you like to your new template. To do this, go to Word Templates (or the ellipsis) and click on the template name (not on Download Template!).

Word Templates

Word Templates names

This will show you the content of the selected template. Alternatively, you can start from scratch and add the text you want.  You can customize fonts, colors, logos, and include any additional branding elements you require.

#3 Include Main Quote Fields

To make the actual quote visible within the template, you now need the variable part of the quote, or, in other words, you need the merge fields.

To get the list of fields available to you, you now need to download the template. You will get a Word document with no text, just the fields.

Download template

Copy all the structure you prepared in #2 to this Word document and then ensure that you find all the core Dynamics 365 Quote fields (like quote number, or customer name). For this, use the XML Mapping Pane (in the Developer tab), choose the adequate Custom XML part and look within quote.

Custom XML part

#4 Include a Table with Quote Detail Fields

Quote detail fields follow the same idea but with an additional aspect that you need to be aware of. These need to be presented in multiple lines, using a table.

Start by creating a table with two lines (the number of columns is up to you).

Insert Word Table

The first line should be used for the column headers. In our example, we will use Product Name, Price per Unit, and Quantity here.

Select the full second table line and, within the XML Mapping pane, scroll down within quote until you find quote_details. Right-click it and then select Insert Content Control > Repeating.

Insert Content Control data-lazy-src=

Place the cursor in each relevant table cell and insert the corresponding field by right-clicking the field and then selecting Insert Content Control > Plain Text.

Insert Content Control data-lazy-src=

This will result in a table that will look similar to the following:

Quote Details Table

#5 Upload

After you have finished all the setup, you now need to make the new template available by saving it (choose an adequate name!) and uploading it.

Upload Template

Once the upload is complete, the template will show in the Personal Word Templates section, and it will be an extra option when you Export to PDF.

Personalized Quote

#6 Test Thoroughly

Always test your customized templates after creation to confirm data populates correctly and the Dynamics 365 PDF Quotes' layout remains functional. Be especially careful to test using quotes that have multiple lines, to check if all lines appear when using the new template.

What Are the Best Practices for Managing and Organizing Generated PDFs Within Dynamics 365?

As your PDF volume increases, organization becomes crucial. Here are some best practices to keep your PDFs easily accessible and compliant:

  1. Implement Standard Naming Conventions

Why?  

Consistent naming conventions make it easier to search for and identify documents, reducing the time spent looking for specific files.

How?

Develop a naming convention that includes relevant information (e.g., date, type of document, customer name).

Train users to follow these conventions when saving PDFs to SharePoint or within Dynamics 365.

  1. Store Documents in SharePoint Automatically

Why?  

Integrate Dynamics 365 with SharePoint to automatically store generated PDFs in designated folders within your SharePoint document library. This allows for advanced document management capabilities, including versioning and easier sharing.

How?

Follow our tutorial on setting up SharePoint integration through the Dynamics 365 settings.

  1. Regular Audit and Clean-up

Why?

Avoid clutter and ensure compliance by regularly reviewing and archiving or deleting old or unnecessary documents.

How?

Schedule periodic reviews of stored PDFs in SharePoint and Dynamics 365.

Archive documents that are no longer actively needed but must be retained for compliance.

Securely delete documents that are no longer necessary and have fulfilled their retention period.

  1. Control User Access and Permissions

Why?  

Guarantee that only authorized personnel can access sensitive information within the generated PDFs.

How?

Use Dynamics 365 security settings to control user access and permissions for viewing and managing generated PDFs. If you integrate with SharePoint, keep in mind that the security settings are not transferred automatically - your Dynamics 365 admin needs to be aware of this.

Final Recommendations

As we’ve explored throughout this guide, the ability to generate PDF quotes in Dynamics 365 not only elevates the professionalism of your client communications but also streamlines your sales and billing processes.

We recommend that you embrace the full potential of this feature by customizing Word templates to reflect your company’s brand, and that you follow existing best practices to ensure access control and compliance. With these practices in hand, you’re well-equipped to leverage Dynamics 365’s PDF generation capabilities to their fullest. Now go forth and conquer the quote game with the power of PDFs at your fingertips!

 

Ana Neto - Connecting SoftwareBy Ana Neto

 

Software engineer since 1997, she is now a technical advisor for Connecting Software.

Connecting Software is a producer of integration and synchronization software solutions since 2004. We operate globally and we are also a proud “Top Member” and "Top Blogger" at CRMSoftwareBlog.

References and Further Reading

Microsoft Learn - Creating Word Templates for Dynamics 365

CRM Software Blog - Guide | Dynamics 365 Document Management

Microsoft Learn - Export to PDF from Dynamics 365 for phones mobile app

Dynamics 365 Sales Blog - Save standardized PDF documents to Dynamics 365 or SharePoint

CRM Software Blog - Using a SharePoint Integration? Be Aware of the SharePoint Document Library Limits

 

Recommended Connecting Software blog posts:

Dynamics 365 Success Stories

Dynamics 365 articles

 

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