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Document Control Checklist - Ultimate Guide 2020

People holding documents with statistics

To what extent do the documents your team members create represent your organization's brand? Do you often have cases where certain documents need to be reformatted because a staff member went overboard with creativity? There is a high chance you can benefit from a document control checklist. Many enterprises are using this to have better control of the documents generated by different people within the organization.

However, it is a good idea to understand what we are talking about. So let us define this checklist.  

What is a Document Control Checklist?

It is an important list to help organizations guarantee, quality, compliance, and consistency of their documents. Without this checklist, it may be hard to ensure everyone within an organization adheres to the requirements for quality documents.

Using a document control audit checklist, an enterprise can give individual employees within the organization as well as contractors guidelines to follow when generating documents on behalf of the organization.

Objectives of a Control Checklist

The control checklist is aimed at creating uniformity as well as setting a standard for documents within a business. Everyone within the organization is required to perform the same checks when managing documents.

Some organizations use them as a training tool as well for new employees. The control checklist gives a document plan example to new employees so that they can understand the quality of documents expected every time they draft a document.

With clear controls understood by everyone, less time is spent going through documents before they are approved. A new employee can go through their draft and compare it to the checklist before they forward it to a supervisor or whoever should approve it.

Benefits of Document Control

Unless your business employs drones, then there is a high chance the humans you employ have varied preferences. If you allow each one to use those preferences to determine font style, page backgrounds, and where to place the logo, among other choices, your organization will lose its identity. Having a document review checklist template creates a uniform approach to creating professional documents every time. This is a big win for branding and all the benefits that come with a well-executed branding approach to documents.

Another benefit is the relief that comes with the knowledge that all the information being used in different documents meets a standard obligation the business has to its customers. For example, if the business needs to have terms and conditions or legal disclaimers in particular documents, a checklist will ensure that the information used in there is up to date and presented in a legally acceptable way.

Quality control is a major concern for many organizations, but quality goes beyond ensuring products are of a particular standard. Similarly, manufacturers endeavor to meet ISO guidelines for quality, businesses need to meet a similar standard with their documents. A control checklist is proof of quality control applied to all its documents. In some industries, this is a regulatory guideline that needs to be adhered to.

Requirements to Implement Document Control

It may be tricky getting started especially if you have a complicated approach to this process. The following procedure can guide an enterprise as they get started.

All this can be achieved with the implementation of a smart document plan. That then poses the question, what is document planning?

This is a process of using technical writers to put together a detailed procedure to be followed when reviewing a document. The document plan will set up a checklist for the organization to follow. Common elements of document planning include:

The plan for the document makes it easier to understand what should be achieved when a document is finally presented to the intended consumer.

Techniques Used for Document Control

The techniques and elements of the checklist may defer depending on the industry and the needs of a particular organization. Those will be identified in the planning process. A typical document control checklist however will include the following:

The final checklist should be able to cover the following fields.

Organizations can simplify this process by using approved templates from a reputable software vendor. Templates usually have embedded checklists to ensure most of the elements discussed above are included. Templates can be customized to suit the industry or business. The use of templates will save time and minimize human errors and Windward makes managing them easy and effective. Know more about our document template software.

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
Windward © 2020 All Rights Reserved.

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