Smart files not only make your life easier—although that’s a big plus—but they also provide a seamless and delightful end-to-end experience for your clients. And, since you’ll choose which pieces of the process to combine into each smart file, clients can actually move through several steps without you needing to personally oversee anything.

The client experience will vary based on what’s included in each smart file, but we’ll review a few different possibilities. Remember: your smart file can be any combination of these elements!


Your account look a little different? You might have a different version of files! Check out this article for more info on your clients' experience with legacy files.

Smart files are still in beta, but they’re coming soon and offering more power and customization than ever. Join the waitlist to get access ASAP!


In this article, we’ll review the client experience with:


Client experience receiving smart files via email or direct link

If you’ve sent a smart file via email, the client will receive it in their inbox, complete with your accompanying message and a button directing them to their file.

If you’ve sent the smart file via a direct link, they’ll simply receive that link through the messaging platform you’ve chosen.

If you have not turned the access code on for a file, your client can simply click the link to pop it open in a new window. If you have turned the access code on, check out the section below!


Client experience with access codes

Access codes in smart files ensure the privacy and security of your clients’ personal details by making sure the correct people have access to the correct files. Here's what your clients will experience when you turn access codes on.

Emails and access codes

If you’ve sent the smart file via email with the access code turned on, the client will be directed to a security page prompting them to send the code to the email address that received the file.

Once they click Send My Code, they'll be able to grab the code from their email and input it on the security screen to access the smart file.

Direct links and access codes

If you have chosen to turn the access code on, and you send a smart file via direct link, your client will be asked to input their email address before viewing the file. This will trigger an email containing the access code, which they can head back to their file to input.

Learn more about adjusting smart files’ settings here!

PLEASE NOTE: Though not required, access codes are recommended for booking smart files in particular (those containing invoices and/or contracts). Given the sensitive nature of the information your client might be adding—legally binding signatures, payment details, etc.—the access code adds a layer of security.


Client experience with questions

When a client receives a smart file that includes questions, they can easily add their responses from any device. If they miss a question you’ve designated as required, they’ll be alerted to answer that question before they can proceed to the next page or submit the file.

PLEASE NOTE: If you’ve turned an access code on for the file, your client will need to verify their email address before they can view the document. Access codes are not required.

Responses will be saved if a client progresses to a subsequent page. If they close the smart file at that point, they’ll be able to pick up where they left off when they open the document again.

Once your client submits the file, they will not be able to edit their responses unless you resend it.

Learn more about adding questions to a smart file and viewing your clients’ progress and responses.


Client experience with services

When your client receives a smart file containing services, their experience will vary based on the additional steps you’ve included in the file, as well as the services settings you’ve designated.

PLEASE NOTE: If you’ve turned an access code on for the file, your client will need to verify their email address before they can view the document. Access codes are not required.

Services settings & client experience

Learn more about customizing services settings here.

Selection options: setting will determine how many selections the client can make within a given services block. You can allow them to Select One, Select Multiple, or make your services View Only.

Selection requirements: if you toggled Clients Must Make a Selection on, your client will not be able to proceed to subsequent pages of the file until they’ve selected a service.

If this option is toggled off, the client will be able to proceed without making a selection.

Quantity customization: if you toggled Clients Can Customize Quantity on within an individual service, the client can update the quantity of that service (within the minimum/maximum values you set) once they’ve selected it.

If this option is toggled off, the client will not be able to adjust the quantity of an item or service.

Smart files with services only

If you send your client a smart file that contains service selection without an invoice or contract, they’ll simply be able to make their selections and submit the file back to you.

  • HoneyBook Tip: For smart files that contain services blocks but no invoice, HoneyBook can draft (but not send!) a follow-up invoice file after the client submits their selections.

If your smart file didn’t require a selection or was view-only, the client will also, of course, be able to submit it back without making a selection at all.

Smart files with services and an invoice

When your client selects one or more services in a smart file that also contains an invoice, the invoice will automatically reflect their selections. The grand total will account for the choice(s) they made, as well as any other static items or services you included in the invoice when building the file.

Once they’ve made their selections, the client can simply proceed with making a payment on the invoice!

For example: if you’d like your client to select the package they’d like to book (and maybe even a few add-ons!), then make their deposit or first payment immediately, based on those selections…

  • Create a smart file containing a services block that allows clients to select

  • Add an invoice to allow for a payment

If the services block didn’t require a selection (and the client did not select anything) or if it was set to view-only, the invoice will only reflect any static items you added before sending to the client.

For example: if you plan to invoice for Package A but offer clients the option of selecting optional add ons…

  • Create a smart file containing a services block that allows—but doesn’t require—clients to select a service

  • Add an invoice block with Package A already included

This will ensure that the client pays for their pre-selected package, while also allowing the invoice to dynamically update to include selected add-ons.

Smart files with services and a contract

In a smart file containing both a services block and a contract, you’ll be able to include a dynamic services recap section in the body of that contract.

If you choose to include the recap, your client will see a section of their contract that dynamically updates based on their service selections, providing an overview of what they chose.

For example: if your contracts always include an overview of what services your client is purchasing, but waiting for the client to make their selections before manually updating each contract feels too time-intensive…

  • Create a smart file containing a services block

  • Add a contract block to a subsequent page of the file

  • Add the Services Recap field to the body of the contract, which will dynamically update based on your client’s selections


Client experience with invoices

In smart files containing an invoice, your client will review their itemized list of items or services, as well as the payment schedule you’ve set up.

Then, they’ll continue to the payment screen to make their first payment, which you can allow them to do via credit card or bank transfer. Once they make their payment, they’ll just click your final button to submit the smart file and complete the process!

PLEASE NOTE: If you’ve turned an access code on for the file, your client will need to verify their email address before they can view the document. Access codes are not required.

Your client’s payment experience will vary slightly based on how many payments you’ve set for them:

First or only Payments

On the payments page, your client will be able to enter their credit card information or pay by bank transfer, depending on what payment options you’ve given them.

For credit card payments, they'll enter the following information:

  • Full name on card

  • Card number, expiration, and security code

  • Billing address (once the fields above are complete)

For bank transfers, the client can select their bank of choice and follow the on-screen prompts to sign into their account, which will automatically link the rest of their information.

Now, they can add gratuity (if you have that option turned on—if not, they will not see the option to add a tip), and if they're making future payments that they want to automate, they can check the box for autopay.

Then, they can just click Pay when they're ready! If there are multiple payments in the schedule and autopay is not enabled, they’ll return to the file to make all subsequent payments.

PLEASE NOTE: When a client enters their payment information and clicks Pay, the first payment in the payment schedule will process immediately, even if this occurs before the payment due date. This also applies if autopay is turned on (by you or the client); if the client enters their payment information before the first payment due date, the initial payment will process immediately, and future payments set to autopay will automatically process on the set due dates.

Second and Additional Payments:

When a client is ready to submit their next payment, they can:

  • Reuse the original credit card

  • Add a new payment method by clicking the Add (+) button

  • Click Edit to remove the first payment method

  • Click Pay to submit their payment

PLEASE NOTE: Clients should always confirm that the credit card on file is the card they want to use for the payment. Once the client clicks Pay, their account will be charged immediately.

Learn more about invoicing and with smart files here!


Client experience with contracts

In smart files, your client can review their interactive contracts. If you’ve set up any smart fields for them to fill out, they’ll be prompted to enter information in those fields; if any of the fields were set as Client Must Fill for the client, they will not be able to sign until they’ve added the required information. If a you set a smart field as field as Client Can Edit, they’ll be able to adjust any information already populating that field.

PLEASE NOTE: If you’ve turned an access code on for the file, your client will need to verify their email address before they can view the document. Access codes are not required.

Once the client has reviewed the contract and filled in any necessary fields, they can click or tap the signature line to add a legally binding signature to their contract. They’ll have the option of typing in a signature or drawing it in, and can sign from any device.

Learn more about using smart files for contracting here!


Client experience with content (no questions, services, invoice, or contract)

If your smart file simply contains text, images, or videos for clients to review, the process is extra simple! They’ll simply open the file, click to proceed through the pages you’ve included, and click your final Done or Submit button to let you know they’ve reviewed the whole thing.

PLEASE NOTE: If you’ve turned an access code on for the file, your client will need to verify their email address before they can view the document. Access codes are not required.


Client experience submitting a smart file

Once your client clicks the final button to submit, they can either be dropped into the client-side view of the HoneyBook project—their client portal—or, if you set the last button to redirect to a URL (which can be done from your smart file's configure settings), they can land on a thank you video on your website, a portfolio page, your Instagram... whatever makes sense for you!

PLEASE NOTE: Once a client submits their file, they’ll be able to open it again to review, but will not be able to edit any of their actions or responses unless you resend the smart file to them.

However you choose to wrap up, both you and your client will walk away confident that this is just the beginning of a fantastic project.

Want to learn more?

Still have questions? Feel free to send us a message by clicking the Question Mark icon on any HoneyBook page. Our team is always happy to help!

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