Possible to generate letter from PDF template based on report data?

I am new to Suite CRM and just finished importing and migrating a client’s data from an old MS Access database. I have created a report that shows all accounts/contacts that have a specific task due in the next 90 days. I created a PDF template for a letter that they would then like to physically mail out to these customers but I wasn’t seeing anyway to generate these letters based on the report data.

The only options I saw were to export the report results to a CSV or download as a PDF, but it is strictly the report data. Is there anyway to generate PDF template-based letters based on the report data out of the box?

Anyone? Right now the only way I can do it is by manually selecting a single contact in each row and then I have an option to Print as PDF and select the template. Would be nice if I could just select all or multiple records in the report, then Print as PDF, select the template, and it generates a multi-page PDF. Is there no way to do this out of the box?

I don’t know of any way to do this using SuiteCRM, out of the box. Unfortunately, report generation is not one of Suite’s strong attributes.

In your specific case, you are looking for something that can essentially generate page headers and footers (i.e. the body of the letter), along with a recurring line item area (for the list of tasks due) in the middle.

Your options for formatting Suite data are as follows:

  1. See if there is something suitable (i.e, a reporting module) from The SuiteCRM Store (check the same for SugarCRM, too). There will be a cost for this.

  2. Export the data to CSV/Excel and do a mail-merge in MS Word. (Word can actually handle mail merges with headers and footers).

  3. Use something like Crystal Reports (with header, detail and footer regions) against the actual SuiteCRM MySQL tables. This will require an understanding of the table structures and the inter-relationships.

Thanks for the reply. Their old system that was built on Access was already doing a mail merge, but it was automated with a single click. Was trying to stay away from having to do one with an exported CSV because the person primarily using the system isn’t too savvy and it would require multiple steps to generate the letters.

Will have to look at adding the functionality myself. I don’t need the task listed in the letter. I am just filtering by a specific task/due date and only need the customer’s contact information. Do you or anyone else know which files are used to generate the report results or tasks list and actions? I’d like to just add an action to print as PDF. I see this functionality is there by default for contacts but not tasks or report results.

“Tasks” is not an available Type in the PDF Templates module and as your requirements are driven by task, this is not going to work for you without some significant custom modifications to Suite.

The CSV export and mail-merge route is going to be about the best alternative, but don’t dismiss this as being too complex for your operator. It’s really not.

The steps for YOU would be …

  1. Setup your report in Suite, with “Tasks” being the Report Module, as that will be driving the report. (Choose something meaningful for the Report Name … whatever you call it will be used as the name of the CSV export file).
  2. Add the relevant fields from Tasks and Contacts [modules] in the desired field sequence.
  3. Add your selection criteria. One of the criteria will be a runtime-entered date range for Task Due Date, which your operator will input to pull the correct set of records for each run.
  4. Setup your letter as a mail-merge Word document on the user’s PC, using the pathname of the exported CSV file above as the data source. (Note: Whenever you run a Suite export or Print PDF, the file is downloaded to whatever file download location is set in the user’s browser).

The steps for your OPERATOR would then be…

  1. Delete the mail merge file from the previous run.
  2. Run the Suite report using the required Due Date range, then Actions > Export.
  3. Click on the [mail-merge] Word document and run.

The MAJOR advantage of using MS Word over Suite’s PDF Templates is that most people know how to use Word, along with all that rich functionality!

I know it’s not complex however they don’t even know what a CSV file is and have very little experience with MS Office. Having to do more than click a button is complex for them, but I can teach. I already have a report created that filters anything with a due date from now +90 days so all they need to do is export it and set it as the data source.

I am currently looking at this add-on which may do what I need or at least give me a starting point for my own add-on.

Respectfully, your users don’t have to know what a CSV file is and if they are unable to follow the simple steps above … essentially clicking on icons … then your problem is not software-related.

You are coming from a world of tightly integrated software (Microsoft Office) to one of open-source and there are benefits to each. The primary reason you migrated from Access to SuiteCRM was probably due to the flexibility offered by a web-based platform; one that can be accessed from just about anywhere.

SuiteCRM has a great deal of “oven-ready” capabilities and the available add-ons can be very useful in extending those capabilities. However, add-ons can also introduce another layer of complexity and potential headaches for System Administrators when things like new releases and updates don’t go according to plan because something is out-of-sync.

Sometimes, going outside of Suite is the simplest and most robust approach to take.

I hope your chosen solution, whatever that may be, works out.