Creating Custom Printed PDF Layouts


NetSuite provides a default “layout” for all transaction types which organizes the content (ie: address, order details, logo, items) into the various elements on the page. This allows users to begin using the system right out of the box without customization. Some customers, however, require special or differently organized information be displayed on their Invoices, Receipts, or other transaction forms- both internal and customer facing. NetSuite provides an easy-to-use interface for customizing transaction layouts, allowing users to tailor the look and feel of their printed forms to meet each business’ unique requirements.

First, determine the existing layout used for the transaction form you want to customize. This can be done by opening the form customization interface (setup > customization > transaction forms > click Edit/Customize next to the preferred transaction form) and looking at the PDF Layout field.

Next, find this transaction layout and open it in Edit mode. Transaction layouts can be found at Setup > Customization > Transaction Form [PDF/HTML] Layouts. For this example, we’ll use the Standard Transaction Layout (PDF), without disclaimer, for an Invoice. When this Layout is located, click Edit to open the layout customization interface.

The interface has three main sections: header, elements, and element properties.

The header section provides document sizing, orientation, and color customizations. So, if a user wanted to set the background color or text color to something other than the standard black & white, that can be done here.

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The Elements section displays all of the elements that are currently made available for this layout. It is important to remember that the presence of page elements provide a container into which individual fields are sourced from the transaction. If you wish to control which specific fields do and do not print within an element, you would control that from the custom transaction form itself. The elements on this page can be moved around and resized in this pane by clicking and dragging an element.

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The third section controls element properties. The element selected in the element pane dictates the properties being controlled in the element properties pane. If, for example, a user wants to change the size, font, and orientation of the text in the transaction columns, they would select the Columns element from the pane above and then control its properties in the properties pane below:

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In some cases, users need to add a custom element to their forms in order to display additional information. Clicking the “Add Custom Element” button just above the properties pane will allow users to do just this. In the example below, note that a combination of static text and a dynamically sourced field from the transaction (transaction date) are used to provide transaction-specific information to the Customer. Once a custom element has been created, users have access to all of the same formatting options as with standard elements.

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Once all necessary modifications have been made to the custom layout, click Save. The layout will now be available to select in the PDF Layout field on the transaction form customization screen. Moving forward, whenever this transaction form is used for an Invoice, the PDF will display the Invoice information using the new custom layout.

Finally, some customers require much deeper customization capabilities with regard to PDF creation. These requirements may include the ability to print custom PDF copies of transactions from websites; layout requirements that cannot be created through the NetSuite interface; or the inclusion of information on the PDF that is not present on the Transaction record itself. Fortunately, NetSuite has recently provided an API that allows the creation of completely custom PDF forms using information from your NetSuite account. While this customization is a bit more complex than the method described above, it also opens many new doors with regard to available options for presenting information in PDF format.