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Beginner's Guide: The Basics of Document Creation

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What is the Purpose of Document Generation or Creation Software?

Document generation (also acknowledged as document creation,document automation or document assembly) software lets you transform text-based records (generally, MS Word and PDF files) into compelling, productive formats defined as templates. It helps create personalized, transaction-ready documents in record time. Document generation templates not only decrease the time it takes to produce a new document, but they also help enhance the document's quality by excluding any human flaws that occur with manual editing.

How Does a Document Generation Template Work?

A document generation template (ready-for-use) can remain in a library of other relevant templates. When a developer or document creation user picks the template from the list, they will be given options like:

“Would you prefer to apply an existing database source (answer file)?"

Or

“Would you prefer to create a new answer file?"

If the document generation user chooses an existing answer file, then most, if not all fields in the template would be pre-filled within formation from the chosen file. The developer can also include any important additional answers, which will then be automatically stored in the file for future use.

On the contrary, if the developer picks to create a new answer file, then they have to present all the answers in every field within the template. After which, the document creation software will use this information to generate a new, custom document.

How are Document Generation Templates Created and Deployed? (The Windward Way)

Various software vendors address the template creation aspect in multiple ways.

Windward Studios, the leading document generation software company, offers Windward Designer that empowers the user to transform simple text-based files and data into powerful, easily customizable document templates and deploy them in an extensive range of environments — including but not limited to the desktop, cloud, and client/server.

In contrast to other solutions in the industry, Windward Studios affords excellent results and unparalleled user experience and our 95% customer retention rate stands as a witness.

You don't have to be a professional developer to take advantage of the Windward Designer for document creation. In fact, you don't require any core training as the templates can be created and edited using your all-time favorite platforms like MS Office, Excel, and PowerPoint to include the specific design elements you need — rotation spacing, custom pages, graphics and more. Also, smart in-line data tags introduce conditional logic to personalize your output to suit your unique document requirements.

Even non-technical users can introduce intricate business logic into the template. On the other hand, developers can harness similar components to create an interactive source (Q&A forms, conditional logic,charts, and more) for the template. For similar documents, Windward enables users to share and apply components across multiple templates. This smart feature ensures you can create various documents using a single data source.

Learn more about how Windward works here.

 

Create Documents at Will With Windward Designer and Engine!

Users will enjoy smart document reusability as the document designer empowers you with the capability to import and use templates as sub-templates. Windward's data wizards make it super simple for even non-IT users to come up with data queries from the source of their choice with easy drag-and-drop options.

In conclusion, you can create new templates for your documents in a matter of minutes, so you can speed up your business activity like never before. In other words, Windward Designer helps streamline your document creation process which results in great savings and the workflow becomes seamless and super swift.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

Tag Tree

Provides a display of all the tags in the template, structures as they are placed in the template. Provides an easy way to see the structure, go to any tag, and see the properties of a tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

Generate Code

Designer (fka AutoTag) Generate Code tool allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables in your .NET or Java project. The process is quick, shortens delivery time and helps alleviate any bumps in the road.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in the template are carried over to XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will be pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, ot the properties in the parent.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

When Windward is merging the data into a template, it process the template handling each tag in order, and the tags can pull from different datasources. This allows the select in a tag to use data from other datasources in the select.

Genesis Abel

For over 10 years, Windward has lead the industry with our world-class document generation platform that creates visually stunning, data-powered documents designed exactly the way users want and are created in a fraction of the time and cost compared to existing solutions. Proudly located in Boulder, Colorado, Windward Studios is the premier solution for developers and business users adding reporting and document generation capabilities to their applications in over 70 countries around the world.

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