Generate PDF Documents from Dynamics 365
Generation of PDF documents from Dynamics 365 is required at many steps within Dynamics 365 processes – ideally to keep a record of a state of a record or to share with users – internal/ external.
Some common ways to generate documents was via Document templates, SSRS reports and Mail merge [ soon to be deprecated]
SSRS Report generator: Within the ambit of Dynamics, this is the only tool that allows the generation of documents in multiple formats. Though involving multiple clicks from the end-user, it gets the required output.
However, even if a basic document is needed to be generated via SSRS, the task of building, correcting, and deploying an SSRS report using data from dynamics is not a task for the Business user. Requests always needed to be routed via the development team and many a time takes up multiple iterations to get a perfect document out.
The bottom-line: While popular, SSRS is a Report generator tool and is an overkill if used for document generation
Document templates: This continues to be the most popular mode of document generation on Dynamics. Basic templates can be quickly created, and a single click can publish the data and download the file. While one issue of “no document generator” was resolved, another problem was identified.
Using templates, the downloaded file format is only available as a Word file – a format good for editing, but not for sharing. The user still needed to use a pdf converter offline and then share or save a non-editable copy
One of the most sought-after features on User Voice was the request for a PDF document generator from within the application
While no timeline was set for this release on the app, various ISV’s offered their own custom solutions, which could output documents in different formats.
So, on one side was the OOB solutions which involved multiple steps from the users end to generate the document, and on the other were the 3rd party add-ons which though involved investment could do the same job in a couple of clicks.
PDF generation with 9.x
Finally, with the major 9.x release and the move to the app model, Microsoft released the PDF generation feature on the Sales app [but only on the Quote record for now!]
While it’s the document templates that are selectable for output as pdf, the navigation has been made easier.
Rather than navigating to the template and then having a button for pdf output, Microsoft has separated the Word Template buttons and the PDF buttons
2 new PDF buttons (‘Create PDF’ & ‘Email as PDF’) available on the Ribbon directly. Clicking on the dropdown lists down all Word Templates published to be available on the entity.
These buttons do exactly what they say.
Create PDF: Automatically creates a PDF document for the selected Document Template and opens it up within the browser on the screen.
Email as PDF: Opens up a draft Email record with From, To, Subject & Regarding fields auto-populated, and the PDF document attached.
Users can manually make the necessary changes to the Email and send it.
Steps to enable the PDF features
The feature while currently available only for UCI is disabled by default
To enable PDF generation on the Quote entity, browse to ‘App Settings’ area within the ‘Sales Hub’
Within this area, under ‘Sales Administration’, you should find the ‘PDF Generation’ setting.
Set it to ‘Enabled’
Note: In some CRM instances the location may slightly differ based on the sitemap customizations.
While at the moment, the PDF generation feature seems to be limited only for the Quote entity, we can be sure to see this on the other entities soon!