A Comparison of HotDocs & Windward

Comparisons & Features of Two Top Document Generation Tools

At first blush, Windward and HotDocs appear similar enough that they might seem close competitors. Both solutions are self-described as ‘document generation.’ Both solutions allow developers to design templates in Microsoft® Word that are then used to generate documents. Both solutions offer useroriented designers.

Yet despite these parallels, the two products are substantially different in their targeted use cases. This document will help you identify which tool should be used for which purpose.

While Windward is often used to generate sorted/filtered/aggregated documents from a database (e.g., a table of employees as of March 1 sorted by revenue), HotDocs is unable to generate documents consisting of data outside of a single user (table row). HotDocs does not have a reporting component. Instead, HotDocs generates documents based off of what it labels as ‘interviews.’ The program mail merges ‘answers’ from customer forms into templates set up in Word.

An Example Use Case

A tax law firm has many clients in one day. The law firm finds that a large portion of clients need to have the same contract built for them, but small modifications need to be made for each individual client. For HotDocs, the law firm has an IT or business professional use the program to design a template for the client contract. Once the clients fill out a computer interview, HotDocs then merges the answers from the interview with the previously designed template and outputs a PDF or Word document to an organizational interface.

With Windward the process is much more automated. The law firm needs to process NDAs and billing statements for every client of the firm. A business or IT professional uses Windward to design the templates in Microsoft Word by easily dragging and dropping the field placeholders in their designated areas. The designer can quickly create a client ID variable to filter these fields to display only the current client information. The template can then generate this report for a list of all clients via the Windward Engine, which is integrated into a custom stand-alone or web-based application. Via this batch processing, Windward efficiently generates accurate documents in a fraction of the time.

Product Comparison Table


Windward Studios


Data Source Connectivity

Windward Studios
  • SQL Based
  • File Based
  • Web Based
  • Big Data
  • SQL and Access Databases (via JDBC)
  • Flat Files (TXT, CSV, XML)

Reporting Component Reuse

Windward Studios
Windward PODs
HotDocs Components

Interview Capability

Windward Studios
Not Supported
HotDocs Interview Wizard

Designer Environments

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
Windward Studios
  • Microsoft Word
  • WordPerfect

Template Formats

Windward Studios
  • DOCX
  • RTF
  • WordML
  • XLSX
  • PPTX
  • HTML
  • DOCX
  • RTF
  • DOT
  • TTX
  • WPT
  • PDF
  • CMP

Conditional Logic

Windward Studios


Windward Studios
Library can be deployed via .NETor Java (Office does not need to be installed)
Requires Microsoft Windows Server


Windward offers convenience and a host of ease-of-use features unavailable to HotDocs users.

With Windward you can:

Reporting for high-volume output and a familiar user-friendly design environment

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For over 10 years, Windward has lead the industry with our world-class document generation platform that creates visually stunning, data-powered documents designed exactly the way users want and are created in a fraction of the time and cost compared to existing solutions. Proudly located in Boulder, Colorado, Windward Studios is the premier solution for developers and business users adding reporting and document generation capabilities to their applications in over 70 countries around the world.


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