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The Practical Advantages of Salesforce Document Generation

Salesforce document generation by a group of employees

You can complement the benefits of Salesforce by introducing document generation that enables you to generate documents in a rich format. With document generation in Salesforce, you can use templates to create HTML or PDF documents.

For a first-timer, it may be a bit confusing on how to achieve the best results by using a document generation tool. This guide will enlighten and prepare you to reap the benefits of document generation combined with Salesforce.

Introduction to Document Generation Salesforce

As the name suggests, the document generation software is used to create documents. What makes it unique is that it automates the process of creating documents by integrating it into your Salesforce application. You can pull relevant data from different sources and insert into a template.  You can produce different documents through Salesforce, for example, a pricing quote, invoice, or a detailed sales report.

With this, you can create documents in half or even less than half of the time it would take you by collecting the data and then manually entering it into a document.  Furthermore, human error is eliminated from this process and the data is usually up to date.

Template Compatibility

An important consideration for the success of Salesforce integration is the template compatibility. The template needs to be accessible to everyone who is involved in the generation of documents. It is, therefore, necessary to have a template that can run on Windows as well as Mac computers and any other devices that may be used for document creation. Many organizations choose to have an online template in HTML that can be compatible with all devices.

Drag and Drop Editing

Remember that document generation is supposed to speed up the process of creating a document, so it is important that editing is super-fast and easy. Having the option to just drag and drop into the template will make it easier to edit your Salesforce document. You do not want to be stuck trying to alter the settings in Salesforce as a client waits impatiently on the other end.

Document Automation

Automation is just about for any industry that cuts out a lot of time spent performing repetitive actions. It is amazing how much can be achieved by implementing automation into most of the document generation process. Some of the processes that can be automated include:

On paper, some of these processes may seem complicated and intimidating, but when you get down to using the document generation tool, it will become second nature.

Choosing the Right Salesforce Native Document Generation

Choosing the right document generation software needs to be a careful process based on the requirements of your organization. Some software does a better job than others, so you want to ensure you get a document generator that produces quality documents that suit your standard expectations.

For instance, Windward can handle complicated requirements of a Salesforce document. It can be used to compile a list of different products for performance comparison taking into account different variables. What may seem very complicated can be simplified using Windward.

Getting Started

Getting started with document generation is a simple process. You can download Windward for a trial and even contact support to walk you through.

You would need to start by creating a template. It is advised that you use the sample templates provided in the software, but go ahead and modify them to suit your particular need and represent your brand. When you are satisfied with the appearance of the template, then the rest of the process will be easy. The document generation tool can populate the template with relevant data from the different sources you have authorized it to access data.

Now, let’s take a look at a few advantages of automating Salesforce native document generation:

Reduced Need for Human Resource Involvement

When you do it manually, every stage of the document generation process requires the involvement of a human being, which means organizations allocate human resources to take part in creating a document. With automation, however, most of the processes are handled by the software so the employee is free to attend to more crucial business tasks that actually need human involvement. This will also reduce the expense that comes with having labor-intensive processes.

Improved Confidentiality

By reducing the number of people who handle documents, you can ensure stricter confidentiality. Many organizations have documents that may be considered confidential. It could be price quotes, customer personal information, and contracts. Such data will remain only in the possession of those that are authorized to handle the Salesforce and the document generation software will be responsible for retrieving the data so that the right people will be able to look at them and the business can guarantee confidentiality.

Adherence to Branding Guidelines

For a big company with several people generating documents manually, it can be hard to ensure that everyone sticks to the branding guidelines of the organization. However, with the right Salesforce document generation tools, that would not be a problem. Fields like company logo, address, and text formatting will be pre-set so that even if a thousand people printed letters for the company, they would all come out using the same format. The company will have an approved template that everyone can use, giving more control over the documents the company shares with clients and any stakeholder.

Ensure Accurate and Updated Data While Using Salesforce

Automation will ensure the data used in the documents is retrieved directly from Salesforce and this will restrict other sources of data that has not been verified and approved. The organization will see fewer cases of staff using inaccurate data or conflicting data. The best Salesforce document generation software also reduces errors in entering data. With humans, it is possible that their state of mind can cause them to enter the wrong data while the software, on the other hand, is consistent and accurate.

Repetitive Tasks No Longer a Problem

There are a lot of tasks that need to be performed over and over again, like a tedious copy/paste project. When you entrust a document generation tool to do that, it is never a problem. Document automation is a process that can be repeated as many times as possible and the software will never get bored or tired. This means even more documents can be generated in a short time and that enables the workflow to go faster and smoother.

Prevent Wastage

The manual process usually creates wastage since a number of documents need to be generated in order to come up with the final document. For example, you may need to come up with a number of drafts before you generate the final contract for a business, but with the Salesforce CPQ document generation software, all the other documents are unnecessary since a standard template is used and the information in the document is already stored in Salesforce.

Easier for New Employees to Learn Document Generation

With automation, there is not a lot for a new employee to remember. More than half of the document requirement is in the template and the data is stored in Salesforce. In a matter of hours, they should be able to generate documents that are to the standard of the organization.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating those documents in quick time.

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 © 2021 All Rights Reserved.


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