Automate a PDF

Available on Smokeball Grow and Prosper+

Smokeball can automate Forms & Templates in both Word and PDF. PDF automation is a helpful tool for forms that are not already in Smokeball's Court & Authority library, or if you wish to modify an existing Court & Authority form to fit your firm's preferences. 


Create an Automated PDF form

Smokeball's PDF automation works similar to creating a document in Word. From the Forms and Templates Library, double-click a PDF file to open it.

The PDF will open in Smokeball's PDF viewer.

  1. There is an action bar that will allow you to save directly to Smokeball, print, email as an attachment, or change your view
    • You can add annotations using text or insert electronic copies of signatures by selecting the Annotation button
    • The Automate button will only refresh all automation fields inserted in the form. It will not insert any automation fields. Use this if you have changed any Matter Details since opening the form and want the changes to appear in the form. 
  2.  Smokeball's PDF form will highlight form fields in blue or orange. Orange-highlighted fields are automated and will show the relevant data entered on Matter Details. Blue-highlighted fields are not automated and can be filled in manually. 
  3. Easily access and fill in any important missing details into the matter tab on the Smokeball toolbar to the right If you fill in any missing details in the matter, any automated fields in the form will update. If the automated fields do not update, click the Automate button on the action bar to force any automated fields to refresh.

When you are ready to save, select Save & Close on the action bar.

You can edit the saved form at any time by opening it from the matter.


Automate or Modify a PDF

From the Forms and Templates library, add a fillable PDF or right-click on a PDF already in your Library and select Modify.

The PDF will open in Smokeball's PDF Automation tool, but you will have some additional options on the right side to automate:

    1. The orange fields are already fields that have been automated.
    2. The blue fields are not automated. you can double-click an automation field from the Smokeball toolbar on the right side of the screen (4) to insert into any blue field.
    3. You can navigate to a fillable field by selecting the field in the document or by selecting it from the PDF fields list. The selected field box will show you the name of the selected form field and whether it has been automated (mapped).
    4. The Smokeball Toolbar shows a list of the available automation fields that can be inserted, as well as a tab for creating Asks. Note: Conditional If/Then/Else statement are not available for PDF automation.

PDF automation is very similar to Automating Documents in Word:

  • Almost all automation fields Fields are available to use in PDF automation.
  • Insert an automation field into a blue form field by clicking on the blue form field (1) you want to automate. Then, double-click on the automation field you want to use in the Smokeball toolbar on the right (2). This will insert the automation field into the form. 

You can also create Asks for PDF Automation:

  • Asks are pop up questions where you can insert text, numbers, dates, and multiple choice options.
  • Creating an Ask in a PDF is the same process as in Word. Follow all the best practices of creating Asks.
  • Select the blue form field (1) where you want to insert the Ask (2) and click Insert field on the bottom right. 

Similar to automating templates in Word, you can change the formatting of any automation field by selecting a formatting option from the formatting menu in the lower-right corner. You can select a formatting option before inserting the automation field or apply new formatting after you've inserted the automation field (make sure to select the orange form field first). You can also test any Asks you created by selecting Run questions for this form at the bottom-right corner. 

Once you've made all the desired changes, make sure to Save & Close your template.

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