Can Document Builder leave a PDF as Fillable?

Josh Reed
Josh Reed ✭✭✭✭✭

Hello all... I am struggling to meet a simple ask from my boss. He is looking for a Capacity Modeler, where managers can list out tasks they need completed, assign a maximum efficiency for each task (IE if the employee was doing literally nothing else for x time), and then assign what percentage of a given employee's time they want them spending on that task. After calculating everything this modeler will spit out how much of each task the manager could expect to be completed on average.

Simple enough right? Well my initial thought was to create a form to explain the different variables as the manager goes through them one by one. This prevents the intimidation of a massive tool with tons of information on it.

This is where it starts to get interesting. Forms bring data in to one row. So, my first thought is to create a fillable PDF that I map to the various columns of info captured on the form. Great, except it seems Smartsheet renders a fillable PDF no longer fillable once it has been mapped. I read somewhere that non mapped fields remain fillable, but I need the mapped fields editable at the end of the process too. The reason for this is I want the SS form to be very accessible and easy to start with, they likely won't get all their numbers spot on at first pass, so I want them to be able to use the PDF in real time to adjust their results.

I used ChatGPT to code some computations in JS to use the SS inputs to test if they are over capacity etc. but the whole thing was a waste of time if it renders the mapped fields no longer data entry fields on the PDF itself.

**Is there any solution for this???

I also considered using a dashboard with the sheet embedded and have it filter by user (asking for the user's email address in the form). Then they could edit their initial entries on the dashboard, save the embedded sheet with changes, refresh the dashboard, and see the results. I would do this by creating metrics linked to the row matching the current user.

I've done this before with success but there were far fewer variables. I worry about the esthetic and user experience with this method, but the only alternative I can think of is making them fill out another form which is an even worse option.

Anyone have any ideas?? Thanks!


  • Gia Thinh
    Gia Thinh ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Josh,

    As I knew, once the PDF created by Document builder, the mapped fields are non-editable, but the non-mapped fields are editable. This is the way Smartsheet works right now. Therefore, to change the results in PDF we should change them in the sheet first (sheet A).

    The idea is that we allow employees to update their results on demand by submitting a request form.

    1. Employee submits a form to request for an update based on their unique RowID (defined in sheet A). This request will come into a row on sheet B
    2. In sheet A, we check sheet B for request. This will trigger an update request workflow that send to the employee to update their results in sheet A.
    3. After the employee updated, a new pdf would be generated with new data on it

    Hope this works.

    Gia Thinh Technology Co., LTD - Smartsheet Solution Partner.

  • Josh Reed
    Josh Reed ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Gia Thinh!

    Thank you for the information this is helpful. The process you listed would work but the idea is to have an editable worksheet be the final result, so that the customers can tweak their results on the fly, as needed, indefinitely.

    It's becoming more clear I just have to use another resource for this project. I love Smartsheet forms for esthetic and simplicity and how you can guide the user through the selection process using logic etc. But translating the results of this form into a useable capacity modeler is difficult.

    It may be better for my purposes to simply create a PDF Form and a list of instructions to go with it.