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Best Document Automation Software

6 popular document automation software companies compared

Jump to: Dox42 | Epsillion | HotDocs | Upslide | Windward Studios | Woodpecker

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2021 is a great year for document automation software. Read on to find the best document automation software for you!

Finding the right document automation software for you and your team isn't easy

Document Automation Reviews Team | Last updated: 17 January 2021

Finding the right document automation service can take a lot of time and money.

Unfortunately, your time will be stretched in 2021. You’ll likely be bouncing from online meeting to meeting, reading and responding to dozens of emails, and juggling children who would otherwise be in school.

To date, we’ve compared 6 popular document automation companies. We've assessed them based on the following criteria:

Criteria to Assess Document Automation Software

  1. Can I Include Whatever I Want in My Documents?
  2. Will My Documents Look How I Want?
  3. How Long Will it Take to Learn the Software?
  4. Will my IT Team Consider the Software Secure?
  5. Is the Software Well-Maintained?
  6. Which Sectors Use the Software?
  7. If I Need Training and Support, Will the Company Help?
  8. Will the company's Sales Process Focus on Me?
  9. If I Switch Software, Can I Take My Data With Me?

All of our reviews are based on these nine criteria. With these criteria in mind, read below about the 6 document automation software providers that you should consider in 2021.

1. Epsillion Document Automation - Best Document Automation Visuals 2021, Best Document Automation for Business Valuation 2021

Document Automation Reviews Team | Last updated: 17 January 2021

Executive Summary

Epsillion Pros

Epsillion Cons

Can I Include Whatever I Want in My Documents?

Pros:

Cons:

Will My Documents Look How I Want?

Epsillion generates PDFs and HTML content that look professionally designed. The PDF format in particular gives the programmers total control over fonts, margins, colors, and graphics. The quality of Epsillion's outputs is therefore higher than that of most other document automation providers.

If brand compliance is important to you, Epsillion is one of your stronger choices.

How Long Will it Take to Learn the Software?

Epsillion is relatively easy to use because it is Microsoft Word- and Microsoft Excel-based. However, the variety of features mean that it can take several hours of practice and training to become an expert user.

Will my IT Team Consider the Software Secure?

Yes. Epsillion's installers are professionally signed and all traffic between your computer and Epsillion's servers is encrypted.

Is Espillion's Software Well-Maintained?

Yes. Epsillion's user interface melds with the latest versions of Microsoft Office and feels up-to-date.

Epsillion's Word addin is modern and fit in with Microsoft Word's user interface.

Epsillion's Excel addin is similarly up-to-date and makes use of both the ribbon and the sidebar to the right.

Thankfully, Epsillion supports high definition screens.

Which Sectors Use Epsillion?

Epsillion is flexible and can be used in many sectors. We believe the two sectors that comprise the greatest number of their users are:

If I Need Training and Support, Will Epsillion Help?

Epsillion has an extensive library of how-to YouTube videos.

Epsillion's support is fast. The support team typically does three things:

Will Epsillion's Sales Process Focus on Me?

Pros:

Cons:

If I Switch Software, Can I Take My Data With Me?

Yes. You store data in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel on your own computers, so if you want to switch to another document automation provider you aren't locked in.

See Epsillion for Yourself

Website: www.epsillion.com

YouTube: YouTube video that shows someone actually using the product

Something to consider...

What quality of output do you need? For some purposes, Microsoft Word outputs will suit your needs. For people who need strict brand compliance, PDF outputs allow for greater control and more professional results.

2. Woodpecker Document Automation - Best for Legal sector 2021, Best Learning Resources 2021

Document Automation Reviews Team | Last updated: 17 January 2021

Executive Summary

Woodpecker Pros

Woodpecker Cons

Can I Include Whatever I Want in my Woodpecker Documents?

Pros:

Cons:

Will my Woodpecker Documents Look How I Want?

Woodpecker generates standard Microsoft Word documents. The quality of the outputs are therefore largely up to the user’s capabilities with Microsoft Word. In addition, Microsoft Word has its own limitations. Even in the most skilled hands, Microsoft Word outputs won't be able to match the quality of more sophisticated publishing software that some automation providers can offer.

How Long Will it Take to Learn Woodpecker Software?

Woodpecker is easy to use because it is Microsoft Word-based. If you are already familiar with Microsoft Word, you should be able to pick up and use Woodpecker with ease and speed.

We liked how the software showed us how many instances of a particular variable existed in the report

However, we found that the counter wasn't always accurate, particularly after deleting one or more instances of the variable. The counter seems to be able to count up, but not down.

In the future, to improve documet-creation speed, we would like to see the cursor automatically positioned after a newly inserted variable, which would facilitate further typing or the insertion of additional variables in rapid succession. As it is, for some reason the cursor is placed to the left of newly inserted variables, so you need to manually click to the right to continue creating your document.

Woodpecker's large library of document templates, which you can adapt to suit your purposes, will help cut the time it takes to learn the software. Ready made templates that you can download, adapt, and use include:

  1. Attorney Retainer template
  2. Legal Pleading template
  3. Expert Witness Retainer template
  4. Independent Contractor Agreement template
  5. Non Disclosure Agreement template
  6. Employee Offer Letter template
  7. Advisory Board Letter template
  8. Confidentiality Agreement template
  9. Website Privacy Policy template
  10. Software Referral Agreement template
  11. Accounts Receivable Past Due Letter template
  12. Legal Client Non-Engagement Letter template
  13. Durable Power of Attorney template
  14. Living Will template
  15. Health Care Proxy template
  16. Legal Client Engagement Letter template
  17. Certificate of Incorporation template
  18. 10-Day Demand Letter template
  19. Discovery Requests template
  20. Answer to Complaint template

Will my IT Team Consider the Software Secure?

Woodpecker doesn't advertise its security credentials.

Is Woodpecker's Software Well-Maintained?

Woodpecker has an up-to-date looking sidebar Word addin.

Woodpecker doesn't have a Microsoft Excel addin.

Which Sectors Use Woodpecker?

Woodpecker was programmed specifically to serve the legal sector.

If I Need Training and Support, Will Woodpecker Help?

Woodpecker's training options are among the best and most extensive in the document automation industry. Woodpecker has an extensive self-service learning centre with helpful videos. The company offers easy to schedule live training sessions, and you can choose whether they are one-on-one or as part of a group. Woodpecker also has community discussion forums, where you can ask questions and share tips and tricks.

Will Woodpecker's Sales Process Focus on Me?

Pros:

Cons:

If I Switch Software, Can I Take My Data With Me?

The data you enter into the Woodpecker database can be downloaded to a CSV file that you can then use with other software. That means your data is not locked into the Woodpecker system.

See Woodpecker for Yourself

Website: www.woodpeckerweb.com

YouTube: YouTube video that shows someone actually using the product

Something to consider...

If you decide to change document automation companies, will you be able to take your data with you when you go? Or is your data locked in a database? Ask the company for a CSV for Excel file of data extracted from their database; that will show you clearly whether you will be able to take away any useful data or not. This is a weak point for many vendors because they don't want you to think about leaving them!

3. HotDocs Document Automation - Best for Document Automation Based on Client Questionnaires 2021, Best Document Automation for Government 2021

Document Automation Reviews Team | Last updated: 17 January 2021

Executive Summary

HotDocs Pros

HotDocs Cons

Can I Include Whatever I Want in my HotDocs Documents?

Pros:

Cons:

Will my HotDocs Documents Look How I Want?

HotDocs generates standard Microsoft Word documents. The quality of the outputs are therefore largely up to the user’s capabilities with Microsoft Word. In addition, Microsoft Word has its own limitations. Even in the most skilled hands, Microsoft Word outputs won't be able to match the quality of more sophisticated publishing software that some automation providers can offer.

How Long Will it Take to Learn HotDocs Software?

HotDocs is easy to use because it is Microsoft Word-based. An interview process walks you through the steps of creating your first document (software asks you a question about your document; you answer). If you are already familiar with Microsoft Word, you should be able to pick up and use HotDocs with ease and speed.

Will my IT Team Consider the Software Secure?

HotDocs says that, "All communication between the various components of HotDocs Document Services is encrypted using SSL/TLS. This includes communication from the browser to the web server, fromHotDocs Developer 10.2to the web application, and among all the various parts and pieces of theDocument Services stack."

Is HotDocs' Software Well-Maintained?

HotDocs' Microsoft Word addin looks a bit dated and could use a refresh.

HotDocs doesn't have a Microsoft Excel addin.

HotDocs doesn’t support high definition screens, which may be a dealbreaker for a growing fraction of computer users.

Which Sectors Use HotDocs?

HotDocs is flexible and can be used in many sectors. We believe the two sectors that comprise the greatest number of their users are:

We will reach out to HotDocs for confirmation, and will update this section when they provide it.

If I Need Training and Support, Will HotDocs Help?

Confusingly, if you click on the Knowledge Base link on HotDocs' website, you'll be taken to AbacusNext's support website (AbacusNext is HotDocs' parent company):

There is a link to the HotDocs specific information, but following some of those links simply takes you back to HotDocs website:

We think HotDocs' support documentation needs to be more organized to be helpful.

Will HotDocs' Sales Process Focus on Me?

Pros:

Cons:

If I Switch Software, Can I Take My Data With Me?

The data you enter into the HotDocs database cannot be downloaded to a CSV file that you can then use with other software. That means your data is locked into the HotDocs system.

See HotDocs for Yourself

Website: www.hotdocs.com

YouTube: YouTube video that shows someone actually using the product

Something to consider...

Does the company offer training videos and screensharing training sessions on demand? Those can be important for gaining the trust and confidence of your colleagues as the whole team learns the new system.

4. Dox42 Document Automation - Best Sharepoint Document Automation 2021, Best Manufacturing Document Automation 2021

Document Automation Reviews Team | Last updated: 17 January 2021

Executive Summary

Dox42 Pros

Dox42 Cons

Can I Include Whatever I Want in my Dox42 Documents?

Pros:

Cons:

Will My Dox42 Documents Look How I Want?

Dox42 generates standard Microsoft Word documents. The quality of the outputs are therefore largely up to the user’s capabilities with Microsoft Word. In addition, Microsoft Word has its own limitations. Even in the most skilled hands, Microsoft Word outputs won't be able to match the quality of more sophisticated publishing software that some automation providers can offer.

How Long Will it Take to Learn Dox42 Software?

Dox42 is easy to use because it is Microsoft Office-based, including Microsoft Word, SharePoint, and Excel. If you are already familiar with Microsoft Word, you should be able to pick up and use Dox42 with ease and speed.

Will my IT Team Consider the Software Secure?

Dox42's website doesn't discuss security features, so it's not clear what security steps they have taken and whether all information communicated between your PC and their servers is encrypted.

Is Dox42 Software Well-Maintained?

Dox42 has a Microsoft Word addin that looks modern and up-to-date in the German language verison...

...but the English language version looks out-of-date and you'll often find German language in dialog windows:

Dox42 has a Microsoft Excel addin, although its functionality is limited in scope, having just a few buttons.

Dox42's installation procedure may appear cumbersome at first. After unzipping the contents of the Office Addins installer, for example, you'll be presented with four installation folders:

Inside each folder are files and more folders, although the setup.exe file was all we needed to use to get the Word addin installed:

The installer itself is from an older era of computing:

The graphics in the Word Addin suggest that Dox42 doesn’t fully support high definition screens, which may be a dealbreaker for a growing fraction of computer users.

Which Sectors Use Dox42?

Dox42 is flexible and can work for many sectors, but it's user base is most concentrated in Manufacturing and Finance.

If I Need Training and Support, Will Dox42 Help?

Dox42 has a Learning Resources page containing a mix of video tutorials, demos, and discussions. The page can feel slightly disorganized, and it's not always easy to find what you need.

Will Dox42's Sales Process Focus on Me?

Pros:

Cons:

If I Switch Software, Can I Take My Data With Me?

Yes. Dox42 makes use of data you already own and control in SharePoint and Excel, so if you want to switch to another document automation provider you can.

See Dox42 for Yourself

Website: www.dox42.com

YouTube: YouTube video that shows someone actually using the product. Here is one that focuses on Excel.

Something to consider...

What one or two sectors does the document automation company specialize in? No company can focus on every sector, and when new features are considered or bugs fixed, it is the company will inevitably prioritize the areas of the software that its most important customers rely on. It's easier to swim with the current than fight it!

5. Windward Studios Document Automation - Best Programming Language Choices 2021, Best Output Format Variety 2021

Document Automation Reviews Team | Last updated: 17 January 2021

Executive Summary

Windward Studios Pros

Windward Studios Cons

Can I Include Whatever I Want in my Windward Studios Documents?

Pros:

Cons:

Will my Windward Studios Documents Look How I Want?

Windward Studios generates standard Microsoft Word documents. The quality of the outputs are therefore largely up to the user’s capabilities with Microsoft Word. In addition, Microsoft Word has its own limitations. Even in the most skilled hands, Microsoft Word outputs won't be able to match the quality of more sophisticated publishing software that some automation providers can offer.

Here is an example of Windward Studios creating a letter:

Below is an example of Windward Studios updating an investment performance newsletter. A downside to a template like this is that all the elements are fixed into place, and don't flow across pages depending on how much content there is. That means you need to ensure your content always fits the same, pre-set dimensions for each update.

Here is an example of Windward Studios creating an insurance form:

You can see more examples of Windward Studios output in their helpful template library

How Long Will it Take to Learn Windward Studios' Software?

Windward Studios is easy to use because it is Microsoft Word-based. If you are already familiar with Microsoft Word, you should be able to pick up and use Windward Studios with ease and speed.

Will my IT Team Consider the Software Secure?

The Windward Studios team discusses security on their blog, so that shows a good level of security conscientiousness.

Is Windward Studios Software Well-Maintained?

The Windword Studios Word addin looks modern and fits in well with the latest versions of Microsoft Office.

Windward Studios has a Microsoft Excel addin, although the company doesn't have enough information, videos, or screenshots of the addin on its website for us to assess it meaningfully.

Windward Studios addins don't support high definition screens, which may be a dealbreaker for a growing fraction of computer users.

Which Sectors Use Windward Studios?

Windward Studios does not specify on their website which sectors comprise the greatest number of their users. We will reach out to them to ask.

If I Need Training and Support, Will Windward Studios Help?

Windward Stuidios has helpful written documentation but a fairly limited video training library.

Will Windward Studios's Sales Process Focus on Me?

Pros:

Cons:

If I Switch Software, Can I Take My Data With Me?

Yes. Windword Studios works with SQL databases and other data sources that you own and control. If you want to move to another provider, you are free to do so.

See Windward Studios for Yourself

Website: www.windwardstudios.com

YouTube: YouTube video that shows someone actually using the product

Something to consider...

When asking potential document automation vendors about their products and services, ask them about their security practices. The best vendors implement security during data transit and storage, and they delete as much data as they can as often as they can.

6. Upslide Document Automation - Best PowerPoint Automation Addin 2021

Document Automation Reviews Team | Last updated: 17 January 2021

Executive Summary

Upslide Pros

Upslide Cons

Can I Include Whatever I Want in my Upslide Documents?

You can include a wide range of dynamic content into your PowerPoint slides, including dynamic numbers, charts, and tables originating in Microsoft Excel and PowerBI.

Upslide doesn't allow you to generate multiple documents at once (batch mode).

Will my Upslide Documents Look How I Want?

Upslide generates Microsoft PowerPoint documents with brand compliance features. The quality of the outputs are largely up to the user’s capabilities with Microsoft PowerPoint. In addition, Microsoft PowerPoint has its own limitations. Even in the most skilled hands, Microsoft PowerPoint's outputs won't be able to match the quality of more sophisticated publishing software that some automation providers can offer.

How Long Will it Take to Learn Upslide's Software?

Upslide is easy to use because it is Microsoft PowerPoint- and Excel-based. If you are already familiar with Microsoft Office, you should be able to pick up and use Upslide with ease and speed.

Will my IT Team Consider the Software Secure?

There is no substantial cloud component to Upslide, and therefore security is not a concern with this software.

Is Upslide Software Well-Maintained?

Upslide has a fully featured Microsoft PowerPoint addin, including functionality in the Ribbon and right hand sidebar.

Upslide has a Microsoft Excel addin whose main feature is to indicate that you want a table or chart to link to PowerPoint or Word.

Finally, Upslide has a Microsoft Word addin, but Upslide's Word functionality is not a focus for the company.

We don't like how Upslide's Microsoft Office addins force themselves into the 'second from File' position in the Ribbon. You could argue that the feature-packed PowerPoint addin deserves to do so, but it is inappropriate and productivity-sapping for Upslide's Microsoft Word and Excel addins to take this location; you'll mostly use those addins for one or two straightforward tasks that are unlikely to take precedence over the more important, native Microsoft Office features.

Upslide doesn’t support high definition screens, which may be a dealbreaker for a growing fraction of computer users.

Which Sectors Use Upslide?

Upslide specialises in the financial services sector. Many features and the terms used for them (like 'Tombstone' credentials) will be familiar to people who work in the financial services sector.

If I Need Training and Support, Will Upslide Help?

Upslide's website has a very helpful User Guide section. The company has a small YouTube presence, but the short, to-the-point video clips on Upslide's website make up for it.

Will Upslide's Sales Process Focus on Me?

Pros:

Cons:

If I Switch Software, Can I Take My Data With Me?

Yes. You own your Microsoft Office documents, including PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and PowerBI files. If you decide to stop using Upslide at some point in the future, you will still have access to all of your data.

See Upslide for Yourself

Website: www.upslide.net

YouTube: YouTube video that shows someone actually using the product



Future reviews

Something to consider...

When choosing a document automation provider, ask for examples of all the output formats their software can generate. Some vendors can only supply one or two document types, others may be able to provide PDFs, HTML, Word documents, presentations, Kindle format, and others.