Looking for a new document automation solution? Drag and drop elements are an absolute must for any template designer in the document design process. Creating templates with drag and drop elements are perfect for employees with little to no programming experience to design stunning data-powered documents exactly how your company needs them.
Do your programmers have time to code and design templates for your business team? Most likely not. Therefore, it’s essential that your template designer is completely low-code/no-code for the rest of your employees.
One user can create and save content to use in a future template. Later, other users can drag those saved doclets and drop them into a template during the document design process. This allows template designers to create very complex templates easily by just dragging the needed components.
When evaluating a document automation or document generation application, you’ll want to evaluate their drag/drop features on the following criteria:
The dropped doclets typically come in several “flavors.” The best are linked doclets where the content of the doclet is automatically displayed in your template in full, already laid out and formatted. And when the doclet itself is revised, that change immediately appears in your template and is used in every generated document thereafter.
The second approach is when a dropped doclet is just inserted into the template. You now have the doclet as a part of your template and can adjust it however you wish: from formatting to content tags. But with this approach, if the original doclet is changed, that change is not applied within your template. However, this is preferable in some use cases when you don’t want changes applied to already existing templates during document design.
The third approach is that there is a tag that will import the specific doclet. That means you don’t see the doclets’ content within the template design. But when the template is processed, it will pull from the live copy of the doclet. This is helpful for use cases when you need to pull in content based on the State the recipient of the document lives in.
The best document automation software will include all three flavors available so that you can use each as you deem appropriate.
When working on your document design templates, you don’t want to waste time performing the same work over and over. So when evaluating new document automation software, make sure the designer can encapsulate commonly used elements into easy-to-use components so that anyone in your company can drag and drop them into any template they wish.
For example, Windward’s Portable Object Doclets (PODs) are portable snippets of Microsoft Word objects, meaning they can be moved, dragged, and dropped throughout a Word template. You can encapsulate items such as your company’s logo, common headers and footers, input parameters, and any other common elements your company uses in its documents. More on PODs later.
The whole point of document automation is to save time on redundant and repetitive tasks, so you really need a solution that can save you and your development team time on proofing, editing, and debugging, as you can be confident that all of your templates contain identical components.
In a nutshell, drag and drop doclets work like the ultimate copy/paste command! It ensures you have the final look of a professional document design.
When searching for new document automation software, you need to make sure that the designer has less technical users in mind. For example, PODs is Windward’s system to create complex templates, easily, with just a few drag and drop operations.
One person can create all the needed template building blocks by merely dragging and dropping PODs into the template. When the content is updated within the POD, every document generated afterwards has the new content. There is no update step! The template will automatically update immediately.
Learn how Windward’s PODs work in our new video, and watch our staff create a brand new template in just minutes!