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Best Practices for Creating Contracts

Download the PDFExample contracts created and placed on an office table

Contracts will save parties from confusion about what is expected of them. It however requires that the contract follows best practices to ensure it covers all the bases agreed upon by the parties as well as clearly outlines terms so that everyone understands what has been agreed upon. The following guidelines must be followed when creating contracts.

Get the Language Right

Language plays a big part in contracts and it takes on different aspects. The main aspects though are:

  • Brevity
  • Clarity
  • Terminology

Brevity: Don't use more words than you need to. Even though lawyers like to use colorful language, remember that being too wordy can affect the understanding of the contract. Use only words that add value to the subject.

Clarity: Avoid ambiguity, make sure there is only one way to interpret clauses in the contract.

Terminology: Different industries have unique terminology, do not coin your own terms. Use the exact terms as understood within that industry.

Include the Right Contract Parts

Although contracts may vary in terms of style, length, and details, they all follow the same basic format. Regardless of industry, transactional detail, and so on, the following contract parts need to be included.

The Frame: This includes the formal introductory statement as well as the signatures at the end.

Definitions: Certain terms may need to be defined as they are used in the contract. This section clarifies what exactly is meant when those terms are used, for example, “Parties.”

Business Section: This is the body of the contract that should spell out rights and responsibilities of the parties.

Termination: This part will address the procedure involved in ending the relationship between the parties.

Boilerplate: This is placed at the end of a contract and defines general provisions of the contract. It includes policies that govern the contract as well as supporting laws.

Standardize Contract Formatting

Contracts need to have pre-approved formatting guidelines. Certain font styles may not be appropriate for a business contract or may not be easy to read. The right font ensures clarity and professionalism. This adds to the seriousness of the content created.

Use Templates for Better Results

One of the ways to standardize your contracts is to have templates instead of starting from scratch or copying old contracts. Contracts will save time, promote approved standards and eliminate errors. While using templates, however, follow these practices.

Make Templates Flexible: Avoid being too rigid with the templates, allow for certain changes to be made if the need arises.

Have More Than one Template: There is no one size fits all templates. Create different templates to suit particular situations that way people will stick to using templates.

Use Experienced Professionals: Template design needs to be done with the involvement of people who are knowledgeable about the industry. Lawyers can handle the legal aspect of a contract and industry professionals can handle the technical aspects such as terminology, deadlines, and pricing.

Test Templates: Involve ordinary business people or employees in the template creation, let them read through the contract, and highlight sections they do not understand.

Improve Templates: Do not sit back and believe the template created 2 years ago will serve the same purpose today, continuous analysis of contracts can help improve templates. To meet present needs and patch up loopholes.

Automate Contract Creation

Contract automation makes it possible for any team member to create a contract without using lawyers or IT specialists. It saves time and minimizes errors. Find the right software to use and your business will be on its way to closing more deals faster.

Adopt Contract Management Best Practices

Creating a contract is not enough to ensure its effectiveness. How you manage it after creation plays a crucial part as well. The following practices need to be adopted as well:

  • Employ a secure storage system with effective user verification processes.
  • Set Contract KPI to promote goal-driven contracts.
  • Embrace e-signatures to quicken the signing process.
  • Use a Cloud-based repository for quick access to drafts and final versions.
  • Review contracts for compliance with state and regulatory guidelines.
  • Design contracts with anticipated changes in business needs.
  • Automate processes like approvals and renewal.
  • Be proactive when making changes or resolving disputes.

Windward offers the best automatic contract generator that can help you create contracts in a matter of few seconds by using templates and dynamic data. Try us free before you buy for the next 14 days - download our free trial today.

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.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

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

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

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"

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Rename a Datasource

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

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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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).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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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

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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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.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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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.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Tags are Color Coded

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

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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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.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Advanced Image Properties

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

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Version 13 New Data Sources

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

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer 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. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

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

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

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, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

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

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Written by:_
Genesis Abel

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