Short version: This extension allows you to use DOCX files as document templates in many CiviCRM workflows. It also features development interfaces that allow programmers to integrate CiviOffice with other extensions.
This documentation refers to version 1.0.0 of CiviOffice.
Written communication with contacts is an essential aspect of the work of non-profit organisations. Typically, they have their own templates for letters and other documents. Utilizing tokens to insert contact and other data, personalized documents for many contacts can be produced fast.
However, creating document templates for further use in CiviCRM with the core functionality (as documented here) is complicated as layouts have to be implemented in HTML and CSS. For non-technical users, it is hardly possible to create a custom layout for a document template. Also, there are technical limitations that also tech-savvy people can not overcome, e.g. creating multi-page templates. This extension aims to solve these problems and to provide an open and modular framework to integrate in multiple ways, e.g. with external document servers and other extensions.
The approach is to facilitate the use of a common file format (.docx) for templates that integrate with CiviCRM workflows, including CiviCRM tokens. .docx files can be created and edited with any text processing software, so the format should give easy access to all users, although other input formats might be implemented in the future. As ouptut formats, .pdf and .docx have been implemented so far.
- organize templates organization-wide or individually
- use CiviCRM tokens, with an overview page of all available tokens as user help
- insert "live snippets", i.e. text portions to be inserted into the document during the creation process (a full-fleged document editor might be introduced at a later stage)
- create documents and activities for single contacts as well as many contacts ( search result action)
- create documents and activities for contributions, participants, memberships and cases (implemented as search result actions), enabling users to access data for contributions, events, participants, memberships, cases etc. via tokens
- convert to .pdf or export as processed .docx
- integrate with de.systopia.donrec to create cover letters for donation receipts
- integrate with de.systopia.mailbatch to send emails with personalized attachments (search result actions for contacts and contributions)
- (X)HTML to OOXML conversion to allow for simple formatting within tokens (also a workaround for missing Smarty syntax)
- PHP 8 compatibility
Intended future improvements¶
- add WebDAV compatibility to connect to external document stores such as Nextcloud, Sharepoint, or GoogleDrive
- integrate a full-fledged text editor to customize templates before processing
- improve abilities to process logic in CiviOffice documents, e.g. implement macro functionality
- .docx files use an XML structure internally to describe formatting and other properties of text elements. In some cases, this can lead to CiviCRM tokens being split up by XML tags, making them infunctional. CiviOffice tries to mitigate this problem by optimizing the XML structure. Currently this 'repair functionality' is enabled with the configuration option 'prepare .docx documents'. However, there are some things that CiviOffice can not repair (yet, or ever).
In order to avoid issues with infunctional tokens, you should:
- make sure there are no mixed formatting properties in your tokens (e.g. a portion of the token is in bold font)
- disable spell checking in your documents, especially make sure you don't apply exceptions from spell checking to bits of your tokens