# Using LaTeX for pre-printed paper

I'm thinking of moving from Crystal Reports to a LaTeX based solution, but it's a requirement to be able to make a pdf that conforms to a pre-printed layout (in the company I work we use pre-printed invoices, so they can be filled manually or printed).

Is there a way to do this with latex? i should need to define:

• the maximum width of a field.
• the position of this field.
• the paper size in milimeters (there are printed checks too!)
• Are you looking for something like this: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/108374/…, that allows you to call macros for filling in the blanks on a pre-printed form? Feb 24, 2014 at 19:14
• Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format. Feb 24, 2014 at 19:27
• this is certainly possible, but you do need to make sure that the printer you use places images reliably within tight tolerances. it may be easier to replicate the "background" form either with (la)tex or as an image, and overlay the data, printing both the form and the data at the same time, which would guarantee accurate alignment. (been doing this for years, though with plain tex, not latex.) Feb 24, 2014 at 19:48
• It is not terribly clear what you are trying to do. Are you trying to fill out an existing form or replicate one? I'm guessing the second. That's not difficult although it can be fiddly. You can also set it up as a fillable form which you can complete in a suitable viewer (but not all viewers will let you save the result though some certainly will) or print to complete by hand. The best method depends partly on how many times you expect to reuse a given form. Imposing data over a background might be easiest for a one-off but not easiest if you expect to need the same form again tomorrow.
– cfr
Feb 24, 2014 at 22:11
• No duplicate but related somehow: Fill in boxes for forms in TikZ.
– Tobi
Feb 25, 2014 at 0:24

I usually provide registration forms for our workshops in pdf format and also latex code to fill in data: Let us first have a sample Registration form (paper size-letterpaper):

First page (form-0):

Second page (form-1):

Now the code:

\documentclass[letterpaper]{article}% ensure identical page size
\usepackage[charter]{mathdesign}
\usepackage[svgnames]{xcolor}
\usepackage{tikz}
\newcommand{\setfont}[2]{{\fontfamily{#1}\selectfont #2}}
\newcommand{\mycolor}[1]{\color{NavyBlue}{#1}}

\pagestyle{empty}
\begin{document}
% Page 1
\begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture,overlay]
\node at (current page.center) {\includegraphics{form}};
\begin{scope}[shift={(current page.south west)},every node/.style={anchor=base west}]
% Grid to help find the positions (remove in final version)
\draw [help lines,xstep=.2,ystep=.2,very thin] (0,0) grid (current page.north east); % if you want finer grid
\draw [help lines,xstep=1,ystep=1,thick] (0,0) grid (current page.north east);
\draw [help lines,very thick] (0,0) grid [step=5cm] (current page.north east);
\foreach \x in {0,...,21} { \node [anchor=north] at (\x,1) {\x}; }
\foreach \y in {0,1,...,27} { \node [anchor=east] at (1,\y) {\y}; }
% Comment up to here in final version
\node at (8.5cm,21.79cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{\vrule width 12pt height 1.5pt\hspace{.08cm} \vrule width 12pt height 1.5pt \,\, Harish Kumar}}};
\node at (7.8cm,20.93cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{Degree}}};
\node at (7.8cm,20.1cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{Designation, Department}}};
\node at (7.8cm,19.27cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{XX years}}};
\node at (7.8cm,18.43cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{XXXXX XXXXX}}};
\node at (7.8cm,17.61cm) {{\textbf{\href{mailto:yourmail@something.com}{\texttt{yourmail@something.com}}}}};
\node at (7.8cm,16.8cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{Dr. Harish Kumar}}};
\node at (7.8cm,15.95cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{Designation, Department}}};
\node at (7.8cm,15.13cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{Institute}}};
\node at (7.8cm,14.3cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{XXX XXX}}};
\node at (8.5cm,13.5cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{$\checkmark\,\,\,\quad$ \vrule width 12pt height 2pt }}};
\node at (8.87cm,12.69cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{\vrule width 12pt height 2pt $\quad\,\,\,\checkmark$}}};
\node at (3.7cm,11.83cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{XXXXX}}};\node at (12.2cm,11.83cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{\today}}};
\node at (3.7cm,11cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{Your Bank}}}; \node at (12.3cm,11cm) {\mycolor{\textbf{Here}}};
\node at (15.4cm,9cm) {\setfont{frc}{\color{Blue}{Harish Kumar}}};
\end{scope}
\end{tikzpicture}
\clearpage
% Page 2
\begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture,overlay]
\node at (current page.center) {\includegraphics{form}};
\begin{scope}[shift={(current page.south west)},every node/.style={anchor=base west}]
% Grid to help find the positions (remove in final version)
\draw [help lines] (0,0) grid (current page.north east);
\draw [help lines,thick] (0,0) grid [step=5cm] (current page.north east);
\foreach \x in {0,...,21} { \node [anchor=north] at (\x,1) {\x}; }
\foreach \y in {0,1,...,27} { \node [anchor=east] at (1,\y) {\y}; }
% Comment up to here in final version
%
\node at (3.4cm,21.64cm) {{\mycolor{PEC}}};
\node at (3.4cm,20.8cm) {{\mycolor{\today}}};
\node at (15.9cm,19.55cm) {\setfont{frc}{\color{Blue}{Harish Kumar}}};
\node at (5.68cm,16.74cm) {\vrule width 12pt height 1pt \hspace{.08cm} \vrule width 12pt height 1pt \hspace{.2cm} \setfont{pzc}{\mycolor{\Large Harish Kumar}}};
\end{scope}
\end{tikzpicture}
\clearpage
\end{document}


You get this:

Grid is provided just for making it easy to locate the exact coordinates. In the final form comment these lines:

    \draw [help lines] (0,0) grid (current page.north east);
\draw [help lines,thick] (0,0) grid [step=5cm] (current page.north east);
\foreach \x in {0,...,21} { \node [anchor=north] at (\x,1) {\x}; }
\foreach \y in {0,1,...,27} { \node [anchor=east] at (1,\y) {\y}; }
% Comment up to here in final version


to get:

Note: The blank form which I used above is typeset on letterpaper. Hence in the tex code, I have used the same size. Use appropriate paper size in your tex code ( same as your pre-printed paper).

• this almost answer the question. It helped me to know how to place a field anywhere I want. What about the page size? Feb 25, 2014 at 20:17
• @Maluchi: Well, the example code has letterpaper, but you could use the package geometryand set up arbitrary sizes. Feb 25, 2014 at 20:22
• @Maluchi I have added a note below.
– user11232
Feb 25, 2014 at 22:25
• If OP does not know how to set the page size, OP is not ready to implement a full solution. Sounds like you are asking for trouble.
– Mica
Feb 26, 2014 at 2:15
• I searched on my own about the paper size, just asked for a complete answer, now it is tyvm! :) Feb 26, 2014 at 13:25

I have done this a few times, since my handwriting is soooo bad. I mostly use the textpospackage, lpic was also very helpful.

• Here's an example for a body organ donation passport: donation
• a template to fill the Deutsche Bahn railroad form: deutschebahn
• a contract for a used bike, which uses the lpic package: bike

Here's the code for the last one. It requires the download of the sale contract from contract example (slightly different from the one I originally used)

\documentclass{scrartcl}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[ngerman]{babel}
\usepackage[left=0cm,right=0cm,top=0cm,bottom=0cm]{geometry}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{lpic}
\setlength{\parindent}{0pt}
\begin{document}
\begin{lpic}[]{kaufvertragprivat(0.999)} % coords(20)
\lbl[t]{41,248;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Max Mustermann}}}
\lbl[t]{130,248;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Martina Musterfrau}}}
\lbl[t]{50,230;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Personalausweis, 1234567890}}}
\lbl[t]{40,160;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Oranje}}}
\lbl[t]{41,140;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{28 Zoll}}}
\lbl[t]{45,131;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{schwarzblau}}}
\lbl[t]{40,122;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{12345}}}
\lbl[t]{40,100;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Beleuchtung}}}
\lbl[t]{41,95;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Gepäckträger}}}
\lbl[t]{41,90;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Schutzbleche}}}
\lbl[t]{39,85;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{Kopfstütze}}}
\lbl[t]{42,80;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{mehr Zubehör}}}
\lbl[t]{42,75;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{mehr Zubehör}}}
\lbl[t]{42,70;\textcolor{black}{\small \textbf{mehr Zubehör}}}
\lbl[t]{167,71;\textcolor{black}{\Large \textbf{--1234--}}}
\lbl[t]{113,83;\textcolor{black}{\Large X}}
\lbl[t]{113,121;\textcolor{black}{\Large X}}
\lbl[t]{113,116;\textcolor{black}{\Large X}}
\lbl[t]{113,116;\textcolor{black}{\Large X}}
\lbl[t]{113,126;\textcolor{black}{\Large X}}
\lbl[t]{113,150;\textcolor{black}{\Large X}}
\lbl[t]{113,155;\textcolor{black}{\Large X}}
\end{lpic}
\end{document}


• In the example you use option t for "top" and it is more appropriate to use no option or [bl] most of the time (You will see the difference if you will need to rescale it.) Nov 10, 2015 at 20:43

I appreciate the folks who reach for TikZ, nothing wrong with that, but I'll also note that a LaTeX picture environment will also place text anywhere on a page perfectly well.