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Conga Support

Create Merge Fields in PDF Templates

A PDF merge field is a Text field, Checkbox field, or Radio Button field that exists as a layer of fields “on top” of a PDF.  The field name consists of the dataset name, a period (full stop) and the field name, as exemplified below.


To add merge fields to a PDF template:

  1. Open the Template Builder.

  2. In the Copy Field Format area, select PDF


  1. Open a PDF to use as your template. A fictional registration form in Adobe Acrobat is used as an example below.

    fictional registration form

  2. From the Tools menu, click Prepare Form. 

    Adobe Acrobat Pro - Prepare Form

  3. Select your file or scan a document, then click Start.

    Acrobat Pro - Select a File or Scan document

Once the document is finished processing, you may need to edit the size and shape of the form fields:

automatically-generated form fields

The next step is copying the field names from the Template Builder and replacing the form field labels in our PDF. 

  1. Return to the Template Builder and select the field you want to merge into the document. 

    The Use Text-Based Merge Fields option has no bearing on PDF so may remain checked or unchecked.

copy format of merge field

  1. Double-click the text field in the PDF template to open the Text Field Properties dialog and, in a Name field, paste the CONTACT_NAME field name copied from the Template Builder. 

    Notice that Conga Composer creates the field with the correct naming convention for PDF merge fields (example: DatasetName.FieldName) – Master.CONTACT_NAME.  Fill form using merge field text from Template Builder

  2. Repeat steps 6 and 7 above to add additional fields. 

    additional form fields prepped with merge information from Template Builder

  3. (Optional) Polish the look of your form by resizing the fields to a consistent size and aligning fields. 

    Acrobat allows you to select multiple fields by ctrl-clicking each field. 

    Resize and alignment options are available by right-clicking on any of the selected fields.

  4. Save the template and return to the Composer User Interface.

  5. Run a test merge with the local template file to check that your fields were populated correctly. 

    merge data populated into PDF form

It is recommended to use the same page orientation for all of your pages within your PDF template. If the template contains a mix landscape and portrait orientation, the merge fields can merge sideways and display incorrectly when printing the output document.