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Documentation pages for using Creodocs.

  • Manual Entry

What Are Templates?

Templates are the document layouts in your Workshop that you can use to create documents. Each template encompasses the visual design and typography of a document, but also contains a specification for how you are allowed to interact with the template to specify document data. A template can be made for virtually any required document use case, and quality templates strive to be beautiful but also functional by intelligently allowing only essential information to be entered by users. Due to this, templates are at the very core of what Creodocs does.

Behind the scenes, Creodocs uses LaTeX to specify the document design of each template and to produce the resulting PDF after substituting document data from user input.

What Is LaTeX?

LaTeX logoLaTeX is a document preparation system originally released in 1983 by Leslie Lamport. It is built on top of the TeX typesetting system, released in 1978 by Donald Knuth. LaTeX is widely used in academia and especially for mathematics, but is not commonly used outside these fields due to the relatively steep learning curve for those unfamiliar with text-based markup languages (such as HTML).

In LaTeX, a document design is defined using commands in plain text, instead of using a point-and-click graphical user interface such as Microsoft Word. This plain text code is then compiled (typeset) to produce the document in PDF format. While this approach is too cumbersome for most people to learn, it has immense benefits for the resulting documents and for those who are technically inclined enough to learn it.

Why Does Creodocs Use LaTeX?

Typography The act of typesetting with LaTeX optimally arranges text on the page using best-practices typographic rules and algorithms. This influences such things as the spacing between words, hyphenation, how fonts are utilised and justification. Practically, resulting documents are more beautiful and feel nicer to read.

Powerful LaTeX has the ability to implement virtually any design through the use of a wide diversity of extensions (called packages). Combined with the ability to typeset mathematics, symbols and custom fonts with presets for any language, there are few document elements that can't be produced.

Programmatic LaTeX is programmatic in nature, which means variables, loops, if statements and switches can be readily utilised. This is particularly useful for Creodocs where small user inputs can be made to have big impacts on the document produced. For example, a single boolean (true/false) switch in the LaTeX code can have conditional impacts in many places in the document, such as whether tax should be calculated in an invoice, and whether the corresponding rows and columns for tax totals should be shown in the invoice table. Since LaTeX documents are plain text, templates are amenable to version control to easily track changes over time.

Free and Open Source LaTeX itself, and almost all LaTeX packages used to add functionality to documents, are free and open source, licensed under the LPPL (LaTeX Project Public License). This means there is no subscription to pay or forced upgrades over time to justify additional payments. Further, there is a large body of code examples, questions with answers and community spirit to LaTeX, opposed to the one-sided nature of a commercial product.

Longevity Documents produced with LaTeX are usually compilable years, or even decades, after they are written. Yearly releases of LaTeX rarely break backwards compatibility and packages tend to receive infrequent updates that don't often interfere with other packages.