Create professional looking event badges by merging typeform answers in a PDF

Running an event? You can automatically create slick event badges from your attendees’ typeform responses. Add images and QR codes to their badges – all without you lifting a finger.

This article explains how to generate an event badge by merging typeform answers in a PDF. The attendee fills in their personal details, uploads their photo, and the solution will create a badge and instantly email them a copy. You can also get the copy of the PDF file sent to yourself, or to someone on your team.

Here’s how it works:

In this case we’re creating an event pass. However, you can use the same process to merge your typeform with a PDF to automatically perform a whole host of tasks. For instance, you can:

  • Generate contracts and legal documents, such as wills
  • Send sales quotes based on a lead’s requirements
  • Produce assessment reports based on a respondent’s answers
  • Create personalized invitations or cards

What you’ll need

In order to make this solution you’ll need the following tools:

  • A Typeform account (you’ll need a PRO account if you want to include people’s photos in the event pass).
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides
  • The Document Studio add-on for Google Sheets. It’s free for up-to 20 passes per day, if you need more it’s $29 per year
  • Esponce account (optional). If you want to add QR codes to the event passes you’ll need a subscription to this service. Pricing starts at $12 per month. There’s a 14-day trial available with no credit cards details needed.
  • Zapier account (optional, if you want to add QR codes)

How to create event badges with a typeform

The following guide will walk you through the process of setting up the badge generator, including:

  • Building the typeform to collect the attendee’s details
  • Sending responses to a PDF
  • Creating a scannable QR code with the attendee’s contact details and printing it on the form (optional)

In total, all this should take just over an hour. Once it’s set up, the whole system runs automatically, so it’s probably a relatively small time investment given the hours you’ll save.

Part One: Make the typeform (takes 15 minutes)

The first stage is to create a typeform to collect the details needed to make the event pass. In this example, we’re going to print the following information onto the pass:

  • Attendee’s name
  • Their company name
  • Job title
  • Email address (which we’ll embed in a QR code)
  • Photo of the attendee

In this scenario we’re making a form that will be sent to an attendee after they’ve registered for an event. Equally though, you could cut out this step and use your event registration form to collect the information needed for the pass.

If you want an easier life, you can use our pre-made badge generation form template.

1. From the Typeform Workspace, click the + button to create a new typeform. Click the button to add your first question and create a Welcome Screen. Here you should explain that the purpose of the form is to collect a few details from the attendee in order to make their event pass.

You can add an image to the Welcome Screen to make it more attractive. You could also change the theme at this point if you wish.

Screenshot showing how to create a Welcome screen

2. Now add some Short text questions to collect the person’s name, company name, and their job title. We reused the name of the company in the job title question, using Variables. This helps to make the form feel more like a conversation.

Screenshot showing how to create a Short text question

3. Add an Email question. We need this to send the attendee a copy of their event pass. It can also be added to a QR code to help the attendee easily swap contacts at the event (we’ll show you how to do this in Part Three).

Screenshot showing how to add an email question

4. Next, add a File Upload question. This will allow the event attendee to upload their photo for their badge. Note that you need a PRO Typeform account to use File Upload questions.

Screenshot showing how to add a File Upload question

5. Finish off this simple typeform with a Thank You Screen to explain what happens next. In our case we’ll be sending a PDF version of their event pass to them. We’ll also send it to our event organizer who will print the pass and put it in a lanyard.

Screenshot showing how to create a Thank You Screen

Part Two: Send results to a PDF (takes about 30 mins)

Now you’re ready to send this typeform out to your attendees and start collecting their info. The next step is to take this information and automatically create an event pass from it.

In order to create the pass we’ll merge the typeform responses into a PDF file. This PDF badge can then be sent to the attendee, and/or sent to the event organizers to be printed.

To make this badge we need to:

1. Send attendees’ data to a Google Sheet using the Typeform integration.

2. Use the Google Document Studio add-on for Google Sheets to:

  • Send data from the Google Sheet to a pre-built Google Slide event pass template
  • Generate a PDF from this template
  • Send this PDF to the attendee and/or the event organizer
  • Do this automatically whenever a new response is received

This doesn’t require any technical knowledge and should take around 30 minutes to complete. Here’s how it’s done:

1. To send your typeform data to a Google Sheet, click the Connect tab at the top and then hit the Connect button next to the Google Sheets option.

Screenshot showing where to connect Google Sheets to Typeform

2. Sign into your Google account when prompted. Select the option to ‘Create new sheet‘ and give this new sheet a name.

Screenshot showing how to create a new sheet via the Google Sheets integration with Typeform

3. Test that the sheet has been connected by filling out your typeform with dummy data. Open up the Google Sheet you created in the previous step and you should see a new row populated with data.

Screenshot showing where test data appears in the Google Sheet

4. Now we need to take the data out of this sheet and add it to a PDF badge. For this you’ll need to install the Document Studio Add-on for Google Sheets from here. Click the blue ‘Free‘ button to download and install it.

Screenshot showing how to install Google Document Studio

5. Switch back to your Google Sheet. You can access Document Studio from Add-ons > Document Studio > Open.

Screenshot showing how to access the Document Studio add-on

6. A panel will open on the right of the screen where you’ll find all the Document Studio settings. We need to pick a document template where we want to send our attendee badge data to. You can use a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide as the template for this.

Screenshot displaying the Document Studio settings panel

In our case, we’ll use a Google Slide as it allows us to create a more visual design. So before we do anything else, let’s go and make the template in Google Slides.

7. Load up Google Slides and create your badge design in a single slide. If you want a starting point feel free to make a copy of our slide and adapt it to your needs.

Leave space in your design for your event name/logo, the personal details of the attendee, their photo, and their QR code (if you’re adding one). It might look something a bit like this:

Screenshot showing badge template design in Google Slides

8. Now for the cool part. We’ll pass the data from our sheet into this Google Slide using variable markers. We indicate which data we want to use by entering the name of the column in Google Sheets in between two curly brackets – i.e. {{column name}}.

Do this for all the attendee information from the Sheet that you want to include in the Google Slide, copying and pasting the column names as you go.

Screenshot showing badge template design with variable parameters inserted

9. Draw a text box in the slide to the size you want the person’s photo to appear on the pass. Here you’ll need to paste in the column name that corresponds to the file upload question:

Screenshot showing where to add the variable parameter for the uploaded image file

10. Once you’re done designing your badge in Google Slides and adding the variable markers (those curly brackets) go back to the Document Studio panel in Google Sheets. Select the Google Slide radio button and click ‘Change’. Now browse to the slide you just created on your Google Drive. You should now see the markers you added to your slide highlighted here.

Screenshot showing the variable markers in the Document Studio settings panel

11. Now enter a name for the exported event badge file. Here we’re going to use a variable marker again to include the person’s name in the file name. Then choose Adobe PDF as the exported file format.

Screenshot showing how to name the merged file in Document Studio

12. Next, let’s set up the email settings by clicking the Mail Merge with Gmail option in Document Studio. We’ll use this to send the PDF badge file to the attendee and to the event organizer. Click the Send Email toggle to do this.

Screenshot showing how to turn on the mail merge

13. Document Studio’s Email Template Designer will pop up. Complete the information needed. There’s a lot you can customize, including:

  • The recipient’s email address data column (from the ‘Send Email To‘ field)
  • The email addresses of any specific people who need to receive the badge PDF (e.g. from the events organization team). We recommend adding your email address here to, so you can see how the email and the PDF attachment look.
  • Subject line
  • Sender’s name
  • Reply-to address
  • Email message body (you can use variable markers to personalize this if you like)

Screenshot showing email draft inside Email Template Designer within Google Document Studio

Click Save once you’re done editing the email settings.

14. Now for the moment of truth. Go to the Finish and Merge option in Document Studio. Choose to ‘Merge Documents Now‘ and hit Run.

Screenshot showing how to activate the merge in Document Studio

15. You’ll get a message when the merge has been completed. You should receive an email with the PDF attachment, provided you added yourself as a recipient in step 13. If not, click Preview, wait, then click ‘View File‘ to download the merged PDF.

Screenshot showing the View File option in Document Studio

16. And here you have it, the finished badge in PDF format:

Screenshot showing finished event badge

Part Three (optional): Auto-generate a QR code and add to the pass (takes about 30 mins)

If you really want to wow your attendees (or indeed your boss) you can add a personalized QR code to each badge. QR codes can store information about the attendee which can be scanned and read by a QR code reader at the event. For example, you could add the attendees’ contact details or Web site address to the QR code to enable business card-free networking.

To set this up, we’ll need to integrate your typeform with a third-party QR code generator. In this solution, we propose integrating with Esponce, via Zapier. Esponce starts at $12 per month, and a 14-day free trial is available.

Here’s the process for generating a QR code and adding it to your PDF event badge:

1. Start by signing up for a free Esponce trial here. You can access the trial without parting with any credit card details.

Screenshot showing Esponce login screen

2. Now hop over to Zapier and sign up (again, a free trial is available) or log in, if you already have an account.

Screenshot showing Zapier login page

3. We’re going to make a ‘Zap’ (another word for a ‘workflow’) in Zapier. It will create a QR code in Esponce when a Typeform is submitted. The same Zap will then send details of this QR code to the Google Sheet we made previously. We can then use Document Studio to send the QR code to the Google Slide, which will then appear on the PDF event badge. Got it? Good. Let’s kick off by clicking Make a Zap.

Screenshot showing how to make a Zap

4. Start by searching for Typeform and choosing it as the Trigger app in the workflow.

Screenshot showing how to select Typeform as trigger app

5. The trigger for the Zap will be the submission of our typeform (it’ll be the only option selectable).

Screenshot showing how to set up trigger in Zapier

6. When prompted, connect to your Typeform account by entering your login details. Now select the typeform that you want to trigger the Zap (i.e. our badge generation form).

Screenshot showing how to select event badge form

7. When prompted, pick a sample response to your typeform. This will make it easier to see what data to use where in the following steps.

Screenshot showing how to pull in sample data into the Zap

8. Now let’s tell the Zap what we want to happen when the typeform is submitted. Click the +Add a Step button in the side panel and choose Action/Search.

Screenshot showing how to add an action step in Zapier

9. Search for and select Esponce as the action app.

Screenshot showing how to select Esponce as the action app

10. We’ll tell the Zap to create a new trackable QR code as the action…

Screenshot showing how to create a new QR code as the action

11. When prompted, connect to your Esponce account using the API key (find this by going to Settings > API in Esponce). We need to define a name for the QR codes based on one of the answers to your question. In our case, we’re going to use the person’s name. This will make it easy to find our QR codes in Esponce if we need to.

12. Now decide what content you want to encode into the QR code. For the purposes of an event badge it might be good to use the person’s name, company name, and email address, This means that while networking someone can just scan their badge to get all this information.

Select the questions in the typeform whose answers will be used to populate the QR codes, like this:

13. You can now send a test to Esponce to make sure the QR code is being generated from the typeform response.

14. Go to Esponce and login to your account. Click on the QR codes tab and you should see your new entry in there. Click on it to view the QR code for the attendee and check that the right data appears.

Screenshot showing generated QR code in Esponce

15. Now we’ve got the Zap to generate a QR code from each response to our typeform, let’s now send the QR code image to our PDF event badge. Remember that the PDF pulls in information from our Google Sheet. So, now we need to make a Zap that sends the QR code to the Sheet.

Let’s add a column in our sheet to store the QR code information. Load up the badge information sheet and add a title to the furthest column on the right calling it “QR code“.

Screenshot showing QR code field in the Google Sheet

16. Back in Zapier, add another Action step to your Zap and choose Google Sheets as the action app.

Screenshot showing how to set Google Sheets as the action app

17. In this action, we want to find the row in the Sheet that matches the person whose QR code we’ve generated. Choose Lookup Spreadsheet Row and hit Save + Continue.

Screenshot showing how to look up a spreadsheet row

18. Connect to your Google Sheets account when prompted. Now let’s find our attendee. Select your badge registration worksheet from the drop-down menus.

We’re going to look up a person based on their email address, since this should be unique to each attendee. Set the email address column as the Lookup Column and the email address data from the typeform as the Lookup Value, as shown here:

Gif showing how to find the lookup value

19. Test that the row has been found based on the sample typeform response. Zapier will display the contents of all the columns in that row when you click ‘view your spreadsheet row‘.

Screenshot showing results of the test submission

20. Now we’ve found the row in the Google Sheet, let’s update it with the link to the QR code that has been generated. Add an Action step and select Google Sheets as the Action app. This time we want to Update Spreadsheet Row.

Screenshot showing how to update a row in Google Sheets with Zapier

21. Connect to your Google Sheets account when prompted. Enter the details of your worksheet in the first two drop-downs. Now we need to specify that the row we want to update is the one we looked up in the previous step in the Zap. To do this choose Use a Custom Value and select the row lookup step as the Custom Value for Row ID.

Gif showing how to set up the custom value search

22. Now to add the link to QR code image into the ‘QR code’ column we created in step 16. The URL of the QR code image download is formed using the unique ID of the QR code. It is appended to the address “https://www.esponce.com/create/download/“, and “.png” is added to the end. So for example, the link to the QR code might look like:

https://www.esponce.com/create/download/QRcoDeID.png

Let’s insert this into the QR code column by pasting in the “https://www.esponce.com/create/download/” followed by the unique ID, followed by the “.png” part:

Screenshot showing how to configure the QR code image URL

23. After clicking Continue to save the setup, send a test to your Google Sheet when prompted. You should see the QR code has been added to the row corresponding to the sample response”.

Screenshot showing the passed QR code URL

Click on this link to view the QR code image in your browser.

Screenshot showing the finished QR code image

24. Now you need to update your Google Slide badge template to pass this QR code link as a variable, so it will be merged into the PDF.

Go back to your slide, draw a text box to the size you want your QR code, and add the variable marker (remember the curly brackets?) of the QR code column name.

Screenshot showing how to pass the QR code into the Google Slides badge template

25. Flick back to your Google Sheet and load up Document Studio from the Add-ons menu. Hit the Refresh button under the Markers section and you should notice it detect an extra variable marker.

Gif showing how to refresh the markers in Google Document Studio

26. Great. We’re almost there. Now go back to your Zap and turn it on (give it a name if you haven’t already).

Screenshot showing how to turn on the Zap

27. Now, test it out by submitting a dummy entry in your typeform.

Gif showing dummy submission

28. Go back to your Google Sheet and you should see a new row with the details you just entered, including the link to the QR Code. Go to Finish and Merge and click Save to process the badge.

Screenshot showing how to process the badge in Document Studio

29. The PDF badge, complete with QR code will now be sent to the email address you entered in the dummy typeform entry. To view it right away click Preview and then View File in the Finish and Merge section of Document Studio.

Screenshot showing the finished event badge

30. To activate the PDF merge click the ‘Merge Every Hour’ box and hit ‘Save’.

Screenshot showing how to activate the setup

Now, every time someone submits your Typeform a PDF badge will be generated and sent to the attendee and your event organizers – all without you having to lift a finger!

How did you get on?

Did you end up following the tutorial and creating a PDF export system? If so, would you be willing to share with us what you used it for? Fill out this typeform and you never know, it could be you we’re featuring in a forthcoming inspiration article!

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