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Brief Guide: How Document Automation Can Improve Your Employee Training Program


Keeping documentation up-to-date is very important to most organizations and businesses today.  The reasons for creating documentation may be different ranging from creating contracts to legal papers, but without implementing the right documentation process, everything could go wrong. You would not want to lose a court case or an important client as a result of a faulty document generation process.

To prepare these documents manually, your staff has a lot of work on their hands and it could be even harder for those that are new to the company. Well, not anymore!

Documentation automation goes all the way to make procedures like contract preparation, portfolio statements, and other such document-related tasks a lot easier than what it used to be traditionally. If you have staff turnover or opening up new branches in other cities and hiring new employees, then you need a seamless system all across your firm that helps in document generation.

Here’s how document automation software like Windward can help new employees create documents like an experienced pro:

Document Generation in Popular Platforms

New employees can have a hard time adjusting to your office environment, but creating documents will be an exception!

They will need minimal training on how to handle the document generation software like Windward as it gets easily integrated into familiar platforms like MS Word, Excel, or Salesforce that they have more than likely used before. So, all you need to do is show them how to create documents from the platforms they are already well-acquainted with in just a few clicks (similar to plug-and-play!).

Augmented Accuracy and No More Fuss about Creating Documents

Document automation is the best option if you need precise and accurate content displayed in the documents. This can be instrumental to your organization especially in keeping track of new changes like client names and terms-and-conditions agreements. Even your new employees can adjust or revise the templates already available in the document generation system in accordance with the new regulations. This ultimately saves your new employees from the sphere of confusion and misunderstandings and helps manage and create business documents with greater accuracy on time.

Consistency and Adherence to Branding Guidelines

The automation of documents keeps your new staff at ease. The approved branding guidelines and terms of the organization inclusive of the language will be what everyone (including the new employees) in the organization adheres to as they carry on with creating and distributing documents.

In fact, by maintaining a certain pattern of operation even your clients become accustomed to your procedure creating order and consistency if not progression in your daily operations (with regards to document generation).

Boosts the Productivity Rate of New Employees

Most new employees will find that document automation will actually make work much easier for them. Preparation of important documents like contracts, financial statements, and even legal documents has been made simple with the templates already available in the system. New employees can also get their hands on the drafts of the documents made by previous employees in the organization in just a few clicks. As a company, you also get to serve more customers using fewer resources and people than before.

Combines Capabilities—Collaboration and Sharing Becomes Seamless

When preparing document templates in the automation platform, your staff comes together to make the process a success. This pool of knowledge is essential in creating high-quality documents. It also encourages seamless flow and sharing of information within different sections of the organization while also preserving the knowledge just in case the business experiences a major staff turnover.

This is vital as the transition phase with the new employees becomes quite simple and effortless.

In the end, it empowers them to take on the task of creating documents right from their first day in the office!

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

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

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

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.

Genesis Abel

Written by:_
Genesis Abel


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