I wish I knew at least some basics of programming, but being a girl with a B.A. in Philology, I have always struggled with applied disciplines. You know what I mean. So yes, programming is definitely not something I am good at.

In this article, however, I am going to test my hard skills and try to edit PDF templates for StepShot Guides. After hosting a webinar on configuring StepShot Guides templates, we realized that many users share the same concern about templates. They believe it may be difficult to edit them if they are not technically-inclined. Well, I will prove them wrong. Challenge accepted!

In one of the previous blog posts, we discussed the benefits and importance of templates. And today, I will showcase how you can benefit from utilizing StepShot templates. If you are anything like me (afraid of long strings of code), let’s dig into programming together. Before going any further, I have checked out a step-by-step guide on configuring StepShot Guides PDF templates that is available to everyone. I’m going to follow the instructions specified there and show you what I get at each step.

To get started with editing StepShot Guides PDF templates, I have downloaded the second of the following blank templates:

download one of the StepShot Guides PDF templates

My next step is to import this template into StepShot Guides.

Imported template

I was told that programmers love NotePad ++  because it is the best free text editor. I see no reason not to use it as well. A few seconds later and voila.

download NotePad ++

Here is where it all starts. There are three main files where you can introduce some changes. These changes embrace the general settings of the template, style alterations and structure modifications.

I will start with something not that complicated. I follow this file path: C:\Users\user\Documents\StepShotGuides\templates\pdf\TemplateForEditing and click to open the config.xml file with the help of NotePad ++. The whole procedure looks like this:

open the config.xml file

It is possible to change the name of the guide, its margins, orientation, and size and choose whether to display a header and footer. Nothing much:

general settings of the template

To see what has changed, I click the Save button, open StepShot Guides and take the following steps:

  1. Click the File button.
  2. Select the Export & Publish tab in the dropdown menu.
  3. Choose Export as a PDF file.
  4. Click the Next button.
  5. Choose whether to insert referral link into exported document.
  6. Click the Next button.
  7. Choose the template you have been working on and click the Publish button.

view changes in StepShot Guides

Now, I want to change the title page properties, so I need to follow this path TemplateForEditing(Presentation)/article/assets/css/style.css and open the style file with the help of NotePad ++.

This file consists of several blocks where you can change a number of properties of a guide such as its font name, font size, text alignment, color, etc.

I will start with changing some properties on the front page of a guide:

  • guide-description
  • guide-title
  • guide-author

title page properties

Now, I want to upload another background image on a title page. So, here is how it can be done:

upload another background image

To adjust a background-size or background-position, I need to open the style.css file again and find the background-image block:

background image on a title page

Let’s move on…

If you remember initially, while making some changes in the config.xml file, I decided not to display footers in my guide, but now I have a change of heart (it always happens to girls) and want to play a bit with footer configurations. So, I need to add a footer to the document:

add a footer to the document

If I want to change content page properties, I need to go to the Components folder

where I can change the image in a footer and the image in a header, and add some text or date in the footer.

Let’s see how it works!

Firstly, I follow this file path TemplateForEditing(Presentation)/article/assets/components/ and replace the images of a header and footer with the ones I have created in Paint.

replace the images of a header and footer

To insert some text in the footer, I open the footer.html file in the same folder with the help of NotePad ++. I scroll to the bottom of the file and add <p> text</p> on the next line after <body onload=”subst()”>. I put this text in the center of a footer so it does not overlap with a date and add some properties (color, font-size, etc.).

insert some text in the footer

To indicate a date in the footer, I uncomment this piece of code <!– <div class=”isodate”></div> → in the footer.html file. All I need is just to select this piece of code, right click on it and choose Block Uncomment on context menu or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+K.

Block Uncomment

As far as the properties of a step and heading are concerned, I can also modify them at my convenience.

To change the image size in the exported document, I need to go to TemplateForEditing(Presentation)/article/assets/css/style.css and find the following blocks: image-wrapper and image-wrapper img. There, I can change the height and width of an image, its position, etc. I won’t change anything apart from the size of the images in my guide. I would rather make them smaller.

change the image size in the exported document

Now, I would like this template to be transferred to my colleagues so that they can work on it as well. All I need to do is to rename the template folder, compress this folder into the zip file, and change the extension from .zip to .sspdftemplate.

change the extension from .zip to .sspdftemplate.

Final words

At first, configuring templates seems to me like nothing fancy, but when I opened the files which I had to work with, I said, “Oh my God!” I had never seen so many strings of code. But I accepted this challenge and figured out how it works very quickly, and so will you. It took me over an hour to understand how it works, and here is what I have managed to create. Granted, it is far from being excellent, but now I can be proud of myself saying that I am a bit of a programmer.

If you still think that configuring templates is not something you can deal with, no problem! StepShot will take care of your documentation and create custom templates special for you. StepShot can do hard things for you; just drop a line at [email protected].