Quick Start Guide to the Formstack Platform

So, you want to build a workflow on the Formstack platform?

Congratulations! You’re taking the first steps to building a completely digital workplace and we want to help. We’ve created this resource to make it easy for you to get started as quickly as possible. Luckily, Formstack uses no-code software to make it easy for you to build your first workflow in minutes.

Read on for tips and tricks for implementing a new workflow, encouraging process adoption across your team, and creating solutions to grow with your business.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

It's a very good place to start. The Formstack platform is great for gathering data, automatically generating documents, or collecting eSignatures, but can also integrate with your preferred business systems, like Salesforce, NetSuite, and Hubspot, to streamline entire processes across your business.

With this resource, you’ll learn:

Building Your First Form

Let’s dive in by building your first form.

To begin, login to your Formstack Forms account and click "Create".


Note: If you do not see this button you may not have permission to create forms. Please contact your account admin so he or she can adjust your permissions settings.

Next, you will have the option to name your form, add a URL, and select a form language. The form URL will automatically populate with the form name. You can edit any of our dozens of templates or choose to start with a bank form.




Use Formstack’s drag-and-drop builder to pull fields from the menu on the left onto your form. Easily mark fields as required, add sections, conditional logic, and more!


Learn More: Check out these tips to build your forms even faster!

Customize Your Form with a Theme

You can customize the look and feel of your form by adding your logo and brand colors.

To create your first theme, navigate to the Build tab on the form you’d like to customize. Select Style in the upper left hand corner. You can create a new theme by selecting the Create Theme button.


In your new theme, start by giving your theme a name. You'll see Quick Styles at the top, which are easy, quick edits. Open up the Advanced Styles tab to unleash all the theme options you can customize.

Once you’re happy with your Theme, it's time to save! Choose to Save, Save as New, or Save and Activate the theme. Save and Activate will save your new theme and set it as the Active theme on your Form.

One thing to keep in mind is that Themes only apply to forms that are hosted by Formstack. If you're embedding a form on your own website, it will include the styling you applied to your form via your custom Theme, but will not include styling outside of the form box and may be affected by the styling of the web page where you've embedded. In this case, you may need to alter the CSS on your Theme. You can do this in the Advanced Code Editor inside the Theme Builder.


Creating a Formstack Form with a Document

Want to use the fields on your document to automatically generate a form? We’ve made it easy by allowing you to export your Formstack Documents directly to a Formstack form.

Choose the document you'd like to export and select the 'Merge' tab. From here, you'll see the option to export the document to Formstack on the left-hand side of the page.



Note: Don’t see the option to export your document to Formstack? This indicates your document is already in use on a Formstack form.

Once clicked, you'll be automatically redirected to Formstack to log into your account. When you’re logged in, your form will already be created, your forms fields will be mapped to your document, and the connection to your Formstack Documents account will already be set up!

Building Your First Document

Next, let’s walk through how to set up your first document in your Formstack Documents account!

Much like in your Formstack Forms account, you can choose to start with any of our pre-built templates or build a document from scratch using the Formstack Document’s builder. But one of the most popular ways to start is by uploading a pre-built Word, Excel, or PDF document. These documents just need to be equipped with merge fields.

Inside our document, we’re going to add our contract’s details and then we’re going to add merge fields for the spots in our document that we’d like our deal information to populate.

Merge fields are added just like any other text in your document. Here are a few examples of how you might format merge fields on your document: {$FirstName}, {$CompanyName}, {$Amount}.

Creating a Formstack Documents Template with a Form

If you’ve already built your Formstack form and need a document, we’ve got a perfect solution. Now, you can easily take the fields from your Formstack form and use them to automatically generate a new Formstack document.

First, you’ll need to connect your Formstack Forms and Formstack Documents accounts. In your Formstack form, you can do this by navigating to the Settings tab, selecting Integrations, and choosing Formstack Documents.

The first time you set up your Formstack Documents integration, you’ll need to have the API Key and API Secret from your Documents account ready. You can find that information inside of your Documents account by selecting your profile and choosing API Access.

Once you’ve connected your accounts, you will be given two options under Document Information. You can either choose a document from a list of documents in your account or you can create a new document using the fields on your form. Choose Create new document using this form.

Clicking this button will automatically generate a document using the fields on your form. All of the fields on your form and new document will be automatically mapped. Now, you can head over to your Formstack Documents account to customize your document with additional text, images, and colors!

Connecting Your Forms and Documents

Once you’ve built your form and your document, you’re ready to connect! Head over to your Formstack Forms account and choose the form you’d like to connect to your document. Select the Settings tab, and choose Integrations.

The first time you set up your Formstack Documents integration, you’ll need to have the API Key and API Secret from your Documents account ready. You can find that information inside of your Documents account by selecting your profile and choosing API Access.

Once you’ve connected your accounts, Formstack will bring in a list of the documents in your account. Choose the document you’d like to connect to your form and a list of the fields in your document will appear. Map your fields and you’re ready to start automatically populating your documents with form data.

Preparing and Sending Your Documents for eSignature

If you’d like to send your documents for eSignature, you’ll need to add eSignature tags to your document.

In this example, we will be collecting contract signatures using Formstack Sign. To do this, we will need to define where we want the eSignatures to populate in our document.

Formstack Sign uses “Text Tags” that you can use to indicate where in the document you’d like to place the signature. Formstack Documents makes it easy to add your eSignature tags

These text tags are just text and they look like: [sig|req|signer1]

Note: You’ll need to change the color of your eSignatures tags to white text so your eSignatures will populate correctly.

As you can see from the example, the text tags used by Formstack Sign have three parts: [sig|req|signer1]. The first part signifies the “type” of text tag.

Formstack Sign offers the following text tags “types”:

  • sig - to require a signature (Example: [sig|req|signer1])
  • check - for creating a checkbox (Example: [check|req|signer1])
  • initial - for requiring a signer’s initials (Example: [initial|req|signer1])
  • date - will auto-populate the date when passed through Formstack Sign (Example: [date|req|signer1])
  • text - will provide a short answer text box in place of the text tag (Example: [text|req|signer1])
  • fullname- will populate the full printed name of the signer (Example: [fullname|req|signer1])

The second part signifies whether the text tag field is required or not

  • req - a required field (Example: [sig|noreq|signer1])
  • noreq - a field that is not required (Example: [initial|req|signer1])

The third part signifies which signer will need to interact with that text tag field. You can assign multiple signers to the same document.

  • Signer 1 (Example: [sig|req|signer1])
  • Signer 2 (Example: [sig|req|signer2])
  • Signer 3 (Example: [sig|req|signer2])

Once we’re happy with our template, we’re ready to set up our document delivery to Formstack Sign.  Head over to the Delivery tab, and select New Delivery.

From the list of integrations choose, Formstack Sign. If you haven’t already, you’ll be prompted to connect your Formstack Sign account.

Once your account has been connected, the set up screen will appear. On this screen, you can add a subject line for the delivery and identify the sender and signee based on tags in your document. Select the + sign to add additional signees to our delivery.

By selecting the +More Options button, you can make the following changes to your eSignature delivery:  

  • Select “Always send to Formstack Sign” (this will be auto-selected)
  • Customize the email message to the signer
  • Delay other deliveries until the document has been signed (for example, if you only want signed documents to be uploaded to your CRM or cloud-storage after they’ve been signed)
  • Set up an email receipt

Congrats, you’re all done!  You can now automatically populate all types of documents using Formstack Documents and collect signatures with Formstack Sign.  

We hope you’ve found this resource useful as you start building new processes with the Formstack Platform!

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