Posts Tagged: email

Send invoices as PDF attachments

We first introduced invoicing capabilities to our MIDAS room booking software way back in 2009.

Since then, it’s fair to say that invoicing has been the area that we receive the most suggestions from our customers for new features and capabilities.

That’s why over the years we’ve been constantly expanding and improving the invoicing capabilities in MIDAS.

In the past 12 months alone, we’ve allowed customers to set even more flexible venue rates, added Zoho Invoice to the growing list of 3rd party platforms you can export MIDAS invoices to, and added a couple of handy invoice tools too.

Now, the ability to be able to directly email an invoice to a client from within MIDAS is something that’s been available in our software ever since invoicing was first introduced.

This feature allowed a user to send an email to a client, with a copy of their invoice included in the body of the email.

For many of our customers this has worked well for many years, and continues to do so.

However, as the web continues to evolve, sadly many email clients haven’t kept up with more modern formatting and layout standards. This prompted us to recently introduce an new “Email Compatibility” setting to ensure that invoices sent to your customers via email display correctly in the body of the email when they come to view it.

Whilst this ensures that everyone can view a correctly formatted invoice contained within an email sent from a MIDAS system, we know that some customers would still prefer to send an invoice as a PDF file to their clients.

Until now, in order to send an invoice from a MIDAS system to a client in PDF format, a user would need to “save” the invoice to a PDF file and then attach and send it via their external email program.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t ideal, and it would be far better if you could send PDF versions of invoices to clients directly from within MIDAS.

That’s why starting from MIDAS v4.32, you’ll now have the option to be able to send invoices to your clients as PDF attachments, rather than “inline”.

Send PDF versions of invoices as email attachments
Send PDF versions of invoices as email attachments

To enable this option, cloud hosted customers can go to MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email → Advanced, and tick the “Send invoices as PDF attachments” option.

For self-hosted customers running MIDAS v4.32, in order to enable this functionality, there are a couple of additional prerequisets you’ll need to install on your server first.

We’re also providing you with controls over the page size and orientation of generated PDFs and you can also control page margins too.


In MIDAS v4.30 we’ve introduced a new “Send invoices in compatibility” option.

In this post, we’ll look at why such an option was needed…

Now, back in MIDAS v4.26 we made some changes to improve the way that invoices were rendered.

This involved updating some of the HTML code that MIDAS uses to display invoices to user newer standards.

Prior to v4.26, invoices were laid out using HTML “tables”. Using tables allowed data to be set out in columns and rows. This allowed a dedicated “row” for each item on an invoice, and dedicated columns for its description, quantity, rate, etc.

Since v4.26, MIDAS has instead used a more modern CSS “grid” layout. This allowed invoices to better adapt to fit different screen widths.

However, whilst all the browsers we support also support CSS “grid” layouts, sadly not all email clients do!

To our surprise, some editions of Outlook and Gmail don’t support CSS grid layouts. Instead, they actually modify any emails they receive so that when they are displayed any CSS grid layout information is “stripped” from them!

There is really no logic to this, or indeed consistancy!

For instance, Gmail’s “desktop” webmail strips out CSS grid information, but their “mobile” webmail doesnt!

Another example if Outlook; if you view an email using the Windows Outlook client, the CSS grid information is removed. If you view the same email using the MacOS Outlook client, the CSS grid information is retained!

Other popular email clients, including Thunderbrid and Apple Mail support CSS grid layouts without issue.

You can find a current list of which email clients support (or otherwise) CSS grid layouts here.

The result is that if you view an emailed invoice from MIDAS, how that invoice is presented depends very much on the recipient’s email client.

To illustrate, take a look at the following invoice….

A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Thunderbird
A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Thunderbird
A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Outlook
A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Outlook

Above is the exact same invoice viewed by two different mail clients. The first (and correctly displayed) uses Thunderbird to view the invoice. The second views the same invoice via outlook.com.

As you can see, because outlook.com strips out any CSS grid information from the HTML email, the result is that the email doesn’t display as intended. Rather than Description, Quantity, Rate, Tax, and Amount all being in separate columns, Outlook’s removal of the important CSS grid information causes these items to be displayed on separate rows instead!

We are at a loss to explain why certain email clients decide to “strip” out and remove CSS grid layouts, especially when CSS Grid Layouts are an official W3C specification, and supported by all modern browsers.

However, to work around this issue, we’ve now introduced a “Send invoices in compatibility” option. You’ll find this setting via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email → Advanced.

With this option enabled, MIDAS will revert to using HTML “tables”, rather than a CSS grid layout for invoices emailed through the system.

So if you have clients who aren’t able to view invoices you send them correctly, then enabling this setting should help.

We hope going forward that popular email clients – including Outlook and Gmail – will review their stance on not supporting modern layout standards – such as CSS grid. There’s really no reason not to support CSS grid. This is especially true for web-based email clients, where the client’s own browser support’s CSS grid, but the email client forcibly removes this information from emails.


As you can probably guess, a room booking system needs to be able to send email notifications. These may include, for instance, booking confirmation emails sent to customers.

MIDAS is no exception, and an extensive range of email settings and options are available in the software. Administrative users may configure these via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email.

One of the available email settings allows you to have email notifications sent from your MIDAS system to be sent from a particular email address.

Typically, for automated emails that you don’t require a response to, you may specify a “no-reply” style address.

However, what if you want to provide a way for your customers to contact you should they have any queries?

Well, you could use a real email address instead of a no-reply “black hole” inbox which isn’t monitored.

Or, from MIDAS v4.29 onwards, you could instead specify a “Reply To” email address. This can be different from the address that emails from your MIDAS system are sent from.

Specifying a "reply to" email address
Specifying an alternate “reply to” email address

In the above example screenshot, all email sent from the MIDAS system will be sent as though it originated from the address “noreply@example.com”.

However, if a recipient of an email from this MIDAS system hits “Reply”, they’ll be composing a message that will be sent to “roomhire@example.com” (instead of “noreply@example.com”.

This new setting adds a standard “Reply-To” header to all outgoing email from your MIDAS system.

More information on the various email configuration options and settings in MIDAS may be found in the documentation.


Our support team often receive emails from customers who are having trouble receiving email from their hosted MIDAS booking system.

We have a dedicated “Why am I not receiving email from my MIDAS system?” article in our extensive Knowledge Base to try to help users resolve their email deliverability issues.

Now, assuming email settings are correct in a customer’s MIDAS system, then the most likely cause is a missing or incorrect SPF record for their organization’s own domain.

SPF stands for “Sender Policy Framework” and its purpose is to prevent unauthorized sending of email purporting to be from someone within your organization.

It’s function is best explained with an example…

Let’s assume that your cloud-hosted MIDAS system resides at “demo.mid.as”, and your own organization’s own domain is “example.com”.

You may wish your MIDAS system to be able to send emails appearing from “bookings@example.com” even when your booking system is hosted at another domain (i.e. demo.mid.as).

However, if an SPF record has not been correctly configured on your “example.com” domain to authorize “demo.mid.as” to send email on behalf of your organization’s own domain, emails sent from your MIDAS system will likely not arrive.

In a previous blog post we explain the importance of SPF in more detail. This also covers how to correctly set an SPF record for MIDAS email delivery…

Anyway, back to email settings in MIDAS itself. These may be configured via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email.

Email settings and SMTP Test button in MIDAS
Email settings and SMTP Test button in MIDAS.

When choosing to have outgoing email sent via your organization’s own SMTP (mail) server, an “SMTP Test” button is shown. This allows you to send a test email to yourself using the SMTP settings you’ve entered.

Starting with MIDAS v4.28, we’ve added an SPF record check into this SMTP test for cloud hosted customers.

This will attempt to retrieve the SPF record for your domain, and warn you if it’s not been correctly configured to allow your MIDAS system to send email on behalf of your organization.

We hope this check will help our cloud-hosted customers to correctly setup an SPF record for their domain to ensure email deliverability.