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Understanding BigTime's Invoice XML Formatting

BigTime’s invoicing feature gives you the option to create an invoice PDF to send to your clients. You can customize the attributes of any given invoice PDF by editing the provided fields in the INVOICE DETAIL window, switching between invoice PDF templates, or by uploading your own custom PDF template. 

All of these options provide your firm flexibility to retool your printable invoices as you see fit. But you may need to customize your invoice PDFs in ways that you can’t achieve with the options mentioned above. If you want to take a deeper dive into customizing your invoice PDFs, you can do so by editing the XML source code for that invoice PDF template. You can access the XML source code for an invoice PDF by first navigating to INVOICING…CONFIGURE from your main navigation bar.

Then, click on the PDF STYLES tab. Click the QUESTION MARK next to the PDF template you’d like to edit, and click the EDIT button below it. 

Scroll to the bottom of the PDF invoice editing window and find the section labeled SOURCE VIEW. Click the hyperlink CONVERT TO SOURCE-ONLY at the very bottom of the window. 

You’ll now see the complete XML code for your selected invoice template. If you have a working knowledge of XML formatting, you’ll be able to work with the source code here to configure your invoice PDF however you see fit. 

By default, BigTime’s invoice XML source code follows a specific formatting style. Keep reading to get acquainted with that formatting. 

Invoice PDF XML Formatting

When you open the XML source code for a BigTime invoice PDF, you’ll see it follows the format below:

The root level wrapper for the invoice is btInvoice. This root level wrapper element is where you can choose a page orientation (portrait or landscape) and specify page margins for your PDF invoice.

Within the btInvoice root element, you can nest other elements to edit other aspects of your invoice PDF. Here are some key properties and elements to keep in mind:

  • The <style> root element lets you specify classes used throughout your invoice. In the screenshot above, we've defined one class as <body>. You can use multiple <style> classes throughout the XML code. 
  • The first element labeled id="InvoicePageHeader" will become the page header repeated on each page of your PDF invoice.
  • The element id="PageFooter" will be added to your PDF as the footer on each page. If you use id=”Page1Footer”, then that footer will only appear on the first page of your invoice.
  • Data is merged into your PDF invoice as either a dataTable (data arranged as a table in your final document), or as a fld element (a field property of the invoice. To illustrate the difference between the two: the line items on your invoice would be a dataTable value, but your client’s billing address would be a fld element.

Now that you understand the basic framework for BigTime invoice XML source code, take a look at the articles below to learn how you can edit this source code to make changes to your invoice PDFs.

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