Creating a BidTable

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. (Unsure if you a BidTable is applicable to your project? Check out, What is a BidTable and when should I use one?)

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 prior to listing the project. 

Before Creating Your Bidtable

Prior to creating your Bidtable, ensure you have the correct Submission Type selected for your Bidtable. You can view your Submission Type by clicking Actions -> Edit Project on your Project Details page. 


  • Excel submissions are the BidTable templates you may have already used. In this format, vendors download an Excel template, which they complete then upload as part of their Submission. This format is recommended for large or complex BidTables, as well as for BidTables that may require extended functionality (ie., multiple Calculated BidTable Columns).
  • Browser submissions are wholly browser-based, and recommended for BidTables or Pricing Sheets with under 20 line items, or that do not require advanced or complex functionality. This BidTable type does not utilize Excel or external templates.

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 using the respective icons found under each column's heading:


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

In the sample data below we have additional columns that we will need to add and column headings we will edit:

To begin, let's edit the general information, by clicking on the Actions button at the top right and selecting Edit BidTable:


You'll see the edit modal come up where we can update the BidTable name and update the Item Column to be called Description. The Item Column Header Name refers to the column that will list all items that you wish to procure. If you do not fill out the Item Column Header Name, the column name will default to "Item". 


You'll also see the option to Allow No Bids - this allows Vendors the option to select No Bid on individual line items.

You can also toggle Allow Additional Responses? to determine if you'll accept Additional Responses. This provides a second sheet in the BidTable workbook that will let Vendors input additional items that they believe align with your Project.

You can toggle Allow Partial BidTable if you want to create vendor-specific BidTables from a master list of items. You can read more about that here

The last field/option on the bottom left of the screenshot above allows you to select your choice of the BidTable Currency from a drop-down menu. 

Next, we'll add the additional columns. To add custom Purchaser columns, click on the Add Column dropdown and select Purchaser Column:


At this time you will also be deciding whether or not your columns will be visible to or hidden from Vendors.

NOTE: For a full explanation of each column type, as well as the difference between Hidden and Visible columns, please see our BidTable Columns page.

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 Order # dictates the order in which the columns are laid out within the BidTable. The columns can only be ordered within their respective groups (i.e Purchaser Columns, Vendor Columns, and Calculated Columns). You can also move directly to adding the next column by clicking the Create another check box at the bottom right:


We will go ahead and add custom Purchaser columns for both "Manufacturer" and "Product Code".

Follow the same process to add the new Vendor Columns. When adding or editing Vendor columns, you have the ability to select two checkboxes to display the grand total for the column, and to show the basket total(s) for the column only when using Number or Currency formats. By default, these options are not selected for Vendor columns. If you would like this information to display for the column, simply click on the respective checkbox and click Save:

add vendor column.png

Your columns will now match your Excel spreadsheet:


Browser BidTable Creation

When creating your Project, you have the option of selecting the Browser or Excel BidTable types. 

NOTE: The Browser BidTable feature is turned off by default. If you would like to use the Browser BidTable feature and do not see it on your portal, please reach out to to have it enabled.


The Browser option allows Vendors to fill out BidTables in their browser, instead of downloading a Microsoft Excel XLSX document. Vendors can fill out their BidTable directly on the Complete Your Submission page (which is the page that Vendors already use to upload their submission documents). 

It is recommended that the Browser BidTables feature is used for BidTables with 20 line items or less. Choosing the Browser Submission type will not affect how Project Owners create BidTables or how Evaluators complete evaluations.

NOTE: Once you have selected a Submission Type, you cannot edit or change the Submission Type if there are Work-In-Progress or completed submissions.

Importing BidTable Data

Now that we've set up our columns as required based on our data, we're ready to Bulk Import our data from our spreadsheet into our Bonfire BidTable.

Click the Bulk Import button.


You can download a Bulk Import Template. This is helpful if you wish to work offline or have a large number of line items to manage. 

To download the template, simply click on Download Template in the Bulk Import pop-up.


When you're ready to upload your data, follow the Bulk Import steps. 

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


Ensure that if you're copying the headers from your Excel data, you check the box indicating that headers are in the data. 

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


Click Import! 

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


When inputting line items manually, please note that we recommend a maximum of 3000-4000 line items for Classic BidTables, and a maximum of 20 for New BidTables. When BidTables are larger than that, we recommend splitting them up into multiple BidTables for the convenience of your Reviewers/Evaluators.

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 baskets for both Hockey and Soccer, 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 the basket.


Our BidTable is now ready to be mapped!  

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, as shown below.


Click on the Requested BidTable dropdown and add the corresponding BidTable as shown below.


If you've already set up your Evaluation Groups, you can also map it to the correct Group:


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 then Download Vendor Template:



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.

Editing a BidTable Template

It is recommended that edits are made prior to the project going live. Making edits during the open stages of a project can invalidate Work-In-Progress or Completed Submissions.

To edit your BidTable template navigate the BidTable section and click on Actions and then Edit. This will bring you back to the BidTable creation interface where you can make your desired changes.



Editing response options: 

Editing Baskets:

Editing Columns:

Editing Items:

NOTE: Review the following if you are making edits to your BidTable template during the Open stage of a project:

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


Saving any changes where there are Work-In-Progress or Completed Submissions will notify you that you have invalidated a submission(s), you will see the following:


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 a Public Notice for Vendors to download the updated template. 

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



Further reading: 

If you would like to see more details from the Vendor's point-of-view with respects to filling out a BidTable template, please see our How do I fill out a BidTable template? page.

NOTE: If your organization does not utilize logos, Vendors and Suppliers may encounter errors when downloading Vendor Templates. Please contact Bonfire Support at





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