The ability to easily book clients with a signature and a payment is a crucial part of running a business—which is why we've added enhanced booking features in the new smart files builder.


This article references smart files, our newest file experience offering more power and customization than ever. Click here to learn more about smart files and add them to your account!


To save you the time and effort of recreating your legacy files as smart files, we've already updated your proposal file templates. But not to worry—you can also find your original legacy proposal templates in the Legacy Files tab of your templates section.

In addition to having updated templates ready for you, you’ll also still be able to quickly create new proposals as you know and love them, easily pulling in an invoice, payment schedule, payment page, and contract—even with all the enhancements of smart files.

In this article, we’ll review:


Legacy proposal files vs. smart files

Just as you could with your legacy proposal files, you can easily create simple, beautiful smart files that combine an invoice and a contract (or, just send out one of the templates we've already updated for you!).

When creating a proposal, smart files will allow you all the same options as legacy files, including the ability to:

  • Add a header image

  • Display packages and items included in the invoice

  • Customize the images, descriptions, and prices of those packages or items

  • Create a payment schedule (or use a payment schedule template you've saved)

  • Customize how clients can pay (credit card/bank transfer, autopay, optional gratuity, etc.)

  • Add custom contract language

  • Customize the formatting of contract text

  • Add smart fields

  • Pull in signature lines for project participants

What’s new with smart files? Instead of being limited to individual documents and emails, you can create a smart file that combines elements of your process (think service selection + invoice + contract, for example), as well as customizing the look and feel of the file with additional branding options and more opportunities to add in content.

But, of course, you can also keep things simple and send over a file that contains just a few actions—such as an invoice to allow the client to review & pay, and a contract to review and sign—just like you’re used to doing with your legacy proposal files!


Locating & sending your updated proposal templates

You can access your updated templates in your templates section—we've automatically updated all of your legacy proposal templates!

To find your updated templates:

1. Click the Tools menu in your top navigation bar.

2. Select My Templates.

PLEASE NOTE: Your original file templates are still there, too! You can find them in the Legacy Files tab of your templates section.

3. Click Filters and select Invoice and Contract.

This will filter your templates to only show those that include both invoices and contracts. All the templates you see here are your own, and they'll each have the same name as they did when they were file templates!

4. Click to open the template you'd like to review or adjust. From there, if needed, you can make changes to the invoice, contract, or other elements of the smart file—or, you can simply keep the document as-is!

Either way, when you're ready, you can click Use Template to send the proposal in a project, just as you would with a legacy proposal file.

  • HoneyBook Tip: Want to start organizing your updated templates into folders? Learn how here!


Making changes to smart file templates

You shouldn't have to make changes to these updated templates—they'll come complete with all of your original content and branding, after all!—so you can always simply send them out as-is. That said, you can also add in some of the new smart file features.

Make small changes like updating the font and color scheme, adding an image or two, or including a couple questions you'd like clients to answer; or, take it up a notch by adding another action to the file (like a services block).

Each template can be as simple or as detailed as you'd like, and just as you could with legacy files, you can make adjustments for specific clients before you share a smart file with project participants.

Learn more about what smart files can do here!


Recreating traditional proposal formats as smart files

Want to start from scratch and create a brand new proposal template in the smart files builder? Here’s how to recreate the proposals that you’re used to.

As a reminder, the client side of the legacy proposal file has an invoice to review, followed by a contract to review and sign (before paying), followed by a payment page where the client can submit their payment.

To create a proposal as a smart file:

1. Start with a custom (blank) smart file:

  • To create a proposal template: head to templates, click Create New, and select Custom Smart File.

  • To create a proposal in a project: open the project in question, click Create New, select Custom Smart File, then + Start from blank.

2. Select the Invoice & Pay block.

3. From here:

  • Click + Start from blank to add a new invoice & pay block; OR

  • Select an existing smart file template to pull in its invoice

  • HoneyBook Tip: If you used the old saved blocks feature, any saved invoice blocks will appear in the list for easy addition, too!

4. From the Pages menu, click the first page title to customize (you can simply rename it "Invoice"). You'll also notice a payment page (this is automatically added in whenever you add an invoice)—where you can adjust payment settings, and where your client will add their payment info—and a thank you page.

If you'd like to keep your proposal short and sweet, feel free to delete the thank you page by clicking the 3-dot icon next to the page title and selecting Delete. We'll add the contract in shortly!

5. Build or edit your invoice as necessary.

6. To fully replicate the look of legacy invoice files, you can also add a header image, with or without your company name and/or logo! To add, hover over the invoice block and click the Add a block button at the top.

If your document doesn't need a header, skip to Step 11.

7. If you'll be adding your company name on top of the header image, select Text from the block options. For just an image, select the Divider block.

Either way, click the block container (outside of the boxes that contain the elements) to open that block's settings.

8. In the sidebar on the right, click Choose next to Background Image.

9. Select an image from your library, or click Upload to upload something brand new. From there, you can click Replace to choose a new image, Crop to adjust the view, or change the opacity of the image.

  • HoneyBook Tip: You can adjust the height of the header by changing the Top & Bottom Padding settings in the block's settings.

10. If you'd like to add your company name, click the text box in the block to add & format your text.

  • HoneyBook Tip: You can also add your logo next to you company name in the header, or add the logo by itself! Just add an image element and resize as necessary; and, if you'd like the logo and company name side by side, make sure you've formatted the block with two columns.

11. Once your invoice looks good, head back to the Pages menu and click Add Page.

  • HoneyBook Tip: You can reorder the pages however you’d like — just use the 6-dot icon to drag and drop!

12. Select + Start from blank and add a contract block (then skip to Step 15 below), or search for a smart file that already contains a contract you'd like to add in the reusable templates sidebar.

  • HoneyBook Tip: You can quickly find smart files with contracts by clicking Filters > selecting Contracts.

13. Once you've located the smart file, select its name to preview the pages within it.

14. Click the page containing the contract you'd like to add. This will add the contract to your current smart file.

15. Build or edit your contract as necessary. If you'd like to add a header to the contract page as well, repeat Steps 6-10 (above) on the contract page.

Finally, make sure the pages are arranged in the order that you'd like. From the page menu, simply use the 6-dot icons to drag and drop pages into the order you need.

For example, the page order below would have a client review the invoice and payment schedule, then proceed to the contract for signature, then submit payment (just like the proposal file you’re used to).

When everything looks good, click Preview at the top of the builder to preview the client-side view of the contract. Then, click Update Template to save it. The result will be a smart file that looks very similar to your legacy proposal files:

Then, you can send your file off when you're ready.


Next steps to customize your smart files

Now that you know how to create a simple proposal smart file, you can start thinking about how to add on and continue to customize your documents in this new smart files builder—and in ways you never could before.

Once you've added a contract to your file, you can:

...and more!

Then, you can send your beautiful smart files out to your clients!

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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