RTF Document Templates - Overview

Learn how to start using external documents for print layouts in AroFlo Office

Updated on June 3rd, 2024

Document templates (also known as RTFs) are used as an alternative to AroFlo's standard layouts. They are useful in cases where you require a more creative layout consisting of a colored background, watermark, tables, or non-standard fonts.

Creating a document template is a two-part process:

  1. Create a custom layout in AroFlo for the purpose of generating and exporting the information (data fields) required for the document template.
  2. Create or use an existing document in Microsoft Word, paste in the data fields exported from the custom layout, and upload.

If creating a document, why not start with our pre-built templates to make it easier.


Creating RTF layouts requires an intermediate level of knowledge of Microsoft Word. We can help you with the AroFlo-related components of RTF layouts (e.g. how to place the fields into your Word document), but we can't instruct you in the use of Word. 

If you prefer that we create your layouts for you, please see Document Creation Requests for instructions on how to make your request.



Create a custom layout

In order to generate the information you require for the document template, you first need to create a custom layout within AroFlo and export the data fields.

  1. Preview a layout that best suits your requirements.

    Check the preview to ensure the layout contains all of the information you would like to include in your document template.

  2. From the Toolbox, click Customise.
  3. Click Save/Remove, enter a new name for the layout, and click Save As.
  4. You can add any new data elements that may be required.
  5. Click Layout Setup and change the Layout Template Type to 'Document Template'. Click OK to confirm.
  6. Click Save / Remove, then Save.


Copy the data fields

There are two ways to get your data fields out of your custom layout in AroFlo and into your RTF document template:

  • double-click the fields in the custom layout to copy them, or
  • export all the fields at once into a web browser and copy them from there.

Double-click to copy

In the Toolbox, click Layout Setup. Under Copying Elements, make sure Double-Click to Copy is selected. Then, simply double-click a layout element and paste it into your RTF document template.

If you double-click to copy a table element, AroFlo will add a header row to it when you paste the element into your Word file.


Clicking Enable Text Selection allows the mouse to select text, instead of moving elements.


Export to copy

To export all your custom layout fields at once:

  1. In Layout Setup, scroll down and click Export Fields. All the fields included on the layout will now be displayed in a new browser tab.
  2. Copy and paste the fields into your MS Word document.

To add a barcode to an RTF layout, see Add Elements to a Document Template.


Example of Exported Fields

[Organisation Name]
[Mailing Address 1]
[Mailing Suburb State PostCode]
[Todays Date]
[Job Name]
[Organisation Name (job)]
[Customer Order Number]
[Request Date]
[Request Time]
[Requested By]
[Suburb (loc)]
[Date Posted:Notes Table]
[Posted By:Notes Table]
[Note:Notes Table]
[Name Surname:Labour Table]


Create or use an existing document

You can create a document template from scratch using Microsoft Word or modify an existing Word document that you might already be using for a specific purpose, such as an invoice, quote or compliance form.

Document template layouts work best when they are created using Microsoft Word and the file size is < 5Mb.

  1. Open your document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Copy each data field you require from the exported fields tab and paste (text only) into your Word document.

    If a data element has a [ table ] in its description, you will need to add a table to your Word document (if you don't already have one) and paste the data element into a cell within the table. This is a requirement when adding any table data elements to a document template to ensure table information from the layout is exported successfully when you print to PDF.

  3. Once you've finished building your document template, go to File > Save as and change the Save as type to Rich Text Format (.RTF)

Word for Mac

If you're a Mac user, please ensure that you are creating or editing the document in Word. You can set your Mac to automatically open the document in Word by following these steps:

  1. Right-click the file name in Finder.
  2. Select Get Info.
  3. In the Open with dropdown, select Word from the list.


Upload the document template (.RTF)

Your RTF document template can now be uploaded to the custom layout within AroFlo.

  1. Go back to the Toolbox, click Layout Setup
  2. Under Template Document,select Upload Template
  3. Select Choose File to browse for the .RTF file and Open

    Reducing file sizes

    Once the file is selected, AroFlo will analyse the document and attempt to reduce filesize by removing duplicate images. This is especially useful when your file is over the 5MB file size limit. If this occurs, you will see 'Filesize (compressed): MB' above the upload button.

  4. Click Upload File

File Size Limit

RTF templates have a physical file size limit of 5 MB (5,242,880 bytes). When you select your file, AroFlo will pre-process it and remove uncompressed images which greatly reduces the overall file size. If you are still unable to upload your template, please contact Customer Service.



Document Templates in Online Views

Online views (such as Online Quotes and Online Invoices) display layouts as they appear in the Layout Preview, which will be different from your printed PDF, Word or RTF document.

Online views do not display the content created in an RTF file. Clients can download the PDF version of their invoice or quote through their online link and will be able to see the layout based on your RTF that way using the Download PDF button.


Layouts with an RTF Document Template include a setting to Use Layout Preview for Online View. If your layout preview is not suitable for an online view, leave this setting unticked, and AroFlo will display a generic layout in the Online view to download the document as a PDF.

Show me



To print the document template layout you have just uploaded, you first need to preview the custom layout to generate the required information. This information will be exported to the document template layout when you print to PDF, Word or RTF.

  1. Select the custom layout.
  2. Click Preview to generate the information required for the document template layout.

    The preview on your screen will show the custom layout, not the linked document template layout.

  3. Click Print and select one of the options, i.e. PDF, Word, RTF.
  4. Click the file name button to download and open the file.

If text was entered in HTML format within AroFlo, this formatting will be retained when exported to the document template layout and will override any formatting set within the document template.