Creating a BidTable template

BidTables allow a buyer to quickly solicit and evaluate projects with multiple bid items. The module also allows the ability to organize items into baskets, analyze price spread among vendors, and quickly generate order lists.

In order to use the functionality of a BidTable you must first create the Excel template that vendors will use to enter their responses into. This template should be created before the project goes 'live' - in other words, prior to listing the project. 

The first step to utilizing the BidTable functionality is creating a BidTable in your project.

1. BidTable Creation

To create a BidTable, click on the Create button under the BidTables section.



You will be taken to the BidTable creation wizard. Below you will see the standard default creation screen. Note the default columns that Bonfire creates for every new BidTable (you can choose to edit or delete these):

Default Purchaser Columns 

  • #
  • Item
  • Quantity Required

Default Vendor Columns

  • Quantity Provided
  • Unit Price



So let's take a look at some sample data from a spreadsheet that we are looking to import into our BidTable. In this example we are buying some sport equipment, we have a list of 10 items (4 are hockey related, 6 are soccer related).

In the sample data below we've got some additional columns (Manufacturer and Product Code) that we're going to add manually via the add Purchaser Column option.


To add these custom Purchaser columns, click on the Add Column dropdown and select Purchaser Column:


The Add Purchaser Column dialogue box will pop up. Input the name of the column and the format you wish to define for the column (text/number/currency)


The 3rd column (Make this column visible to vendors) can be toggled either Yes/No. Hidden BidTable Columns is the first step towards allowing for pricing analysis in BidTables to compare the price you paid last year vs your current price.

To achieve this you can add Buyer or Formula columns that are hidden from the Vendor in the Response Template. That way once the BidTables closes, you can immediately run a pricing comparison to look at savings.

We are going to go ahead here and add custom Purchaser columns for both "Manufacturer" and "Product Code". Please note that the order in which you add these columns will determine the order in which they appear on the vendor template. This is not something you can modify or re-order afterwards.

Once you've added the additional Purchaser columns you can view them by expanding the Purchaser Columns by clicking on the triangle arrow . Anytime you see this icon, you are able to click to expand or collapse the details:

In the expanded view you are able to edit and delete any of these custom columns. Press the triangle again to collapse the associated columns. 



2. Importing BidTable Data

We have now setup our columns as required based on our data contained within our sample spreadsheet. We are now ready to BULK IMPORT our data from our spreadsheet into our Bonfire BidTable.

Click the BULK IMPORT button



Step 1, copy and paste excel data (please carefully read the instructions defined for Step 1 as per below:)


Step 2 of the Bulk Import involves mapping the items you imported with the corresponding columns:



After successfully mapping the data to the columns, the data will be displayed as follows:


3. Organizing Data into Baskets

Because our sample data contains a mix of hockey and soccer related data, we are going to create 2 different baskets to help separate the items. Click the Add Basket button and create one basket for each grouping.



Once we've created both a Hockey basket and a Soccer basket, we are ready to move our items to the corresponding baskets. Do this by simply checking off the checkbox for the items in question then click on Move to Basket (dropdown button) to assign to the proper one.


In the screenshot below we have selected 4 items and we are going to move these to our Hockey basket:




We will then do the same for the remaining 6 items and assign them to the Soccer basket we created earlier. After we have done that, we will see the items are now displayed based on basket.



So now we are all set with the Purchaser columns. The default Vendor columns  again are:




From our original data, we still need to add a custom Vendor column for the "Warranty (in months)". 

This time we will click on the Add Column dropdown and select "Vendor Column":


This time we will select the format to be "Number" since we want our response to be in total months.



After we've added our custom Warranty Vendor column it should appear as follows:



4. Mapping BidTable as Requested Information

Now that our BidTable has been created we need to map (assign) it as Requested Information. Click on the Manage button under the Requested Information section then Add a Requested Bid Table dropdown to add the BidTable as shown below.

This is what the Requested Information looks like after we've added our BidTable and mapped to the appropriate Evaluation Group(s).


If you wish to view a copy of what the BidTable Vendor Template looks like (again this is what the Vendor will be downloading and filling out), go to the BidTables section and click Actions button and Download:


Pictured below is a screenshot from our downloaded BidTable file. The Primary Responses tab/sheet is displayed.  The excel sheet is locked and the only fields that are editable are indicated by the darker blue column headings.




5. Editing a BidTable Template

You may Edit your BidTable template under the BidTable section by clicking on Actions and selecting Edit.



This will bring you back to the BidTable creation interface where you can make your desired changes.

If there are Work-In-Progress or Completed Submissions you will see the following warning:


Please note, if the change you're trying to make impacts an item that already has Vendor Responses, Order Lists or Notes associated, you will receive the following warning:


Notifications of any changes are not automatic. If your change requires action on the Vendor's part, we recommend issuing Public Notice for Vendors to download the updated template. 

If a Vendor is trying to upload an outdated template, they will receive an error message which prompts them to download the updated BidTable template:




If you would like to see more details from the Vendor's point-of-view with respects to filling out a BidTable template, please have a look at this article: How do I fill out a BidTable template?



If you have any further questions please reach out to us at:


Related Terms: creation, generate, import Bid Table, Tables, additional items, alternate items, alternate pricing, alternate brands, bidding tables, bid charts, itemized, item list

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