Document Automation Software Comparison

Reviews of the top document generation software solutions

Document Generation (DocGen) & Document Automation (DocAuto) software allows users to generate, customize, edit, and produce data-driven documents. These platforms pull data from third-party sources (including SQL, JSON, XML, & more) into templates and generate brand-consistent docs with conditional formatting. Many industries including pharma, finance, insurance, HR, and defense use DocGen & DocAuto software.

This guide will walk you through how to determine which product is best for you. No one product, not even ours, is best for all use cases.

Document Generation Software Comparison

This table (curated by SoftwareSuggest) provides a quick snapshot into each product’s functionality. Expand each feature to see more details.

Features

Critical Functionality
Applications
If you need Excel & PowerPoint, then go with a solution that supports them too. If you only need Word, think carefully if you might want Excel or PowerPoint someday in the future.
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
Ecrion Editor
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
-
Unknown
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Acrobat
Add-In
A good add-in assists you in creating your template, especially creating tags. It makes template design faster, smoother, & easier.A good add-in & query wizard (below) are what determine how quickly you can create templates.
Advanced
As an Office add-in, the system assists in all operations in the context of where you are in the document.
No
No
Basic
No
Basic
Basic
Just basic copy & paste from web app
No
Advanced
As an Office add-in, the system assists in all operations in the context of where you are in the document.
Code Behind
You most likely do not want this. If code behind is required, then every new template requires developer involvement and a rebuild of the application.
No code behind
Requires knowledge of SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language) statements
Requires code behind
Requires mapping fields
Requires mapping fields
Requires mapping fields
No code behind
-
No code behind
Drag & Drop Doclets
Create doclets so you and other users can drag those saved doclets to drop onto a template. This provides template designers a way to create very complex templates easily by dragging the needed components. It also eliminates repetitive tasks.
Advanced
  • Any fully formatted content from an Office document
  • Linked documents that auto-update
  • Does display content in template
Yes
No
Basic
  • Does not display in the template
No
No
No
Basic
  • Any fully formatted content from an Office document
  • Linked documents that auto-update
  • Does not display content in template
Basic
  • Any fully formatted content from an Office document
  • Copied from repository to template - no update functionality
  • Does display content in template
Query Wizards
Your most common activity creating templates will be writing the queries to select the data. With no wizards, then template creation is a developer only task. And for developers, it will be slower. No wizards means you can never turn template creation over to business users.
Advanced
Wizards for SQL (select & stored procedure), Xpath, JSON, OData, & Salesforce. Fast & easy for both business users & developers with a brilliant innovative design
No
No
No
No
Basic
Very basic complex wizard
No
No
No
Multiple Datasources
If you have multiple datasources, then must get a docgen solution that lets you have tags in a single template that are marked for which datasource that tag is to be applied to. Preferably simultaneously.
  • Multiple datasources supported
  • Processed simultaneously
Yes, but it isn't specified if it can process data from different sources simultaneously.
  • Multiple datasources supported
  • Processed simultaneously
  • Multiple datasources supported
  • Processed simultaneously
No
  • Multiple datasources supported
  • Processed simultaneously
No
-
Unknown
No, it is MS Dynamics only
Tag Start & End Locations
Any limitation on where a tag can start or end is potentially a limitation of something you will want to do - but can't. Best is no limitations on tag start and end locations.
Tags can start and end anywhere - no limitations
Tags come with certain limitations.
Tags can start and end anywhere - no limitations
Tags can start and end anywhere - no limitations
Tags can start and end anywhere - no limitations
Tags can start and end anywhere - no limitations
Limited to 4 locations
-
Unknown
Tags can start and end anywhere you can surround with a content control
Imported Templates
There is great benefit in having support for imports of live templates - with a solution that process tags in the imported child template.
Advanced
Imported templates are live (tags processed)
Yes, it lets you add up to 10 pre-existing templates in a Solution (record)
Advanced
Imported templates are live (tags processed)
Advanced
Imported templates are live (tags processed)
No
Basic
Imported templates are static (tags are not processed)
Basic
Static documents only
-
Unknown
Advanced
Imported templates are live (tags processed)
Important Functionality
Functions (Macros) Included & Custom
You will likely need many of the standard Excel functions available in your queries. And there is great benefit in being able to add your own custom functions.
Advanced
  • Support for custom functions - handled the same as the standard functions
  • Support for custom functions - handled the same as the standard functions
No
Basic
  • ~ 50 standard functions
  • No support for custom functions
Basic
  • ~ 50 standard functions
  • Inline scripts supported
No
Basic
  • ~ 50 standard functions
  • Inline scripts supported
No
-
Unknown
Advanced
  • Support for custom functions - handled the same as the standard functions
  • Support for custom functions - handled the same as the standard functions
Access Providers
What protocols are supported to read files for datasources & the import tag. If you use your own custom authentication & authorization protocols, the solution must support custom access providers.
  • Standard support for Windows credentials
  • Standard support for BASIC, Digest, & Negotiate
  • Support custom access providers
  • Access providers used for reading datasources, import tag URLs and OData connection
-
Unknown
No
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
Document Locking
Does document locking in DOCX & XLSX templates carry over to the generated DOCX & XLSX documents? This can be key to reducing your legal liability.
Fully supported
-
Unknown
No
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
-
Unknown
Validation, Error & Warning Handling
Each solution has its own approach to this functionality. Try to get a measure of how well what's provided by each will help you.
  • Validate template
  • List errors & warnings on test generation
  • Runtime error handling setting at the document and tag level
No
List errors & warnings on test generation
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
Process Embedded Office Objects
Will an embedded object be carried over to the generated document? Including for PDF? If the embedded document is a template, will it be processed?
  • Embedded DOCX, XLSX, & PPTX objects are processed (tags handled)
  • Embedded object (all types) are displayed in output
No
No
Can't have embedded objects
No
No
  • Embedded DOCX, XLSX, & PPTX objects are processed (tags handled)
  • Embedded object (all types) are displayed in output
-
Unknown
  • Embedded DOCX, XLSX, & PPTX objects are processed (tags handled)
  • Embedded object (all types) are displayed in output
Word Form Fields
If the Word template has checkboxes, drop down lists, or other form fields, are those carried over to PDF output? And if so, is there a way to set their values from the data?
Fully supported
No
Fully supported
Can't have form fields
No
No
Fully supported
-
Unknown
Fully supported
Excel References & Pivot Tables
Any limitation on where a tag can start or end is potentially a limitation of something you will want to do - but can't. Best is no limitations on tag start and end locations.
  • XLSX references adjusted in output
  • XLSX pivot tables adjusted in XLSX output
  • XLSX cells re-calculated for non XLSX output
-
Unknown
N/A
N/A - does not support XLSX templates
N/A
N/A - does not support XLSX templates
No
N/A
N/A - does not support XLSX templates
Fully supported
-
Unknown
N/A
N/A - does not support XLSX templates
Hide/Show Control Tags
Can hide the control tags so the template is only displaying tags that will render output in the generated document.
Basic
Yes - Word only
-
Unknown
No
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
Capabilities
Programming Languages
Make sure it supports your programming language hosted in the mode you need.
RESTful Server
Java library (JAR files)
.NET library (DLL files)
SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language)
RESTful Server
Java library (JAR files)
.NET library (DLL files)
RESTful Server
Java library (JAR files)
.NET library (DLL files)
RESTful Server
Java library (JAR files)
.NET library (DLL files)
N/A
-
-
Unknown
N/A
-
N/A
-
RESTful Server
Java library (JAR files)
.NET library (DLL files)
Supported Datasources
You may only need to verify it supports the type of data you're working with. But Odata support is a good insurance policy to connect to most anything.
Salesforce
MS Dynamics
JSON
OData
SQL
XML
Salesforce
MS Dynamics
JSON
OData
SQL
XML
Salesforce
MS Dynamics
JSON
OData
SQL
XML
Salesforce
MS Dynamics
JSON (indirectly)
OData (indirectly)
SQL (indirectly)
XML
Salesforce
MS Dynamics
JSON (indirectly)
OData
SQL (indirectly)
XML (indirectly)
-
Unknown
Salesforce
MS Dynamics
JSON
OData
SQL
XML
-
Unknown
Salesforce (soon)
MS Dynamics
JSON
OData
SQL
XML
Output Formats
Check that it renders in the output formats you need. And realize that PDF will not match Office exactly.
Advanced
Pretty much everything including direct to a printer
Basic
PDF, Word, Excel
Basic
DOCX, HTML, PDF, & RTF
Advanced
Pretty much everything including direct to a printer
Basic
CSV, DOCX, HTML, PDF, PPTX, RTF, & XLSX
DOCX & PDF only
Basic
DOCX, PDF, PPTX, & XLSX
-
Unknown
Advanced
Pretty much everything including direct to a printer
Parameters
All the products have a way to pass parameters to the template to use in the queries. Check that they have all the data types you need.
All standared data types
Yes
Everything is a string, but it auto-converts as needed
Yes
Yes
-
Unknown
Yes
-
Unknown
All standared data types
Conditional Formatting
Word & PowerPoint do not have conditional formatting in table cells. If you need this, make sure the solution you are looking at has it, and if so, is it sufficient.
Similar to Excel capabilities
No (limited only to IF statements that MS Word supports)
Similar to Excel capabilities
Similar to Excel capabilities
No
No
No
-
Unknown
Similar to Excel capabilities
Auto-hyphenation
If you want auto-hyphenation (PDF & Printer output), make sure the solutions you are looking at have it.
Default is to hyphenate if turned on in the template but can be forced on/off
No (One can download the output, save it to CRM, send it for eSignature, email, and post to Chatter)
Default is to hyphenate if turned on in the template but can be forced on/off
Default is to hyphenate if turned on in the template but can be forced on/off
Default is to hyphenate if turned on in the template but can be forced on/off
No
No
-
Unknown
-
Unknown
Tag Tree
Does the designer have a way to show the structure of the tags in the document? And clicking on one, go to that tag?
Yes, with full query for each tag and go to the tag in the template
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes, with full query for each tag and go to the tag in the template
Data Count
Does the solution have a tool that tells you for each iterative select how many rows of data it returns and how long the query took to complete?
Yes, both number of rows and time to query
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Generate Code
For solution without code behind, does it provide sample code to show how to connect your application to their engine?
Yes
No
N/A
-
No
N/A
-
-
Unknown
N/A
-
No
-
Unknown
Debuggers
What debuggers, if any, does a solution have to help you debug: the template, a datasource connection, and/or a query.
  • Template debugger
  • Datasource connection debugger
  • Query debugger
-
Unknown
No
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
Tags
out tag
Place the data from a select at this location.
Yes, including bitmaps
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
-
Unknown
Yes, including bitmaps
import tag
Data returns a filename or URL, place what’s in that file at this location.
Yes, including bitmaps
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Sort-of
-
Unknown
Yes, including bitmaps
bitmap tag
Some solutions have a distinct tag for bitmaps (sometimes called pictures).
Handled in out & import tag
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
-
Unknown
Handled in out & import tag
set tag
Set the value of a parameter (new or existing).
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
query tag
Reads one row of data to be used by other tags.
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
forEach tag
Iterate through the rows of data in the query repeating the template content between them once for each row of data returned. Important that it have column and block mode as well as the standard row mode.
Advanced
  • Row major mode (default)
  • Column major mode
  • Block mode
  • Optionally insert section break (Word), new workbook (Excel), or new slide (PowerPoint) per iteration
No
Basic
  • Row major mode (default)
Basic
  • Row major mode (default)
Basic
  • Row major mode (default)
Basic
  • Row major mode (default)
Basic
  • Row major mode (default)
-
Unknown
Basic
  • Row major mode (default)
if tag
Conditionally include content between if and else or else and endIf based on the result of the query.
if
else
else if
Yes (limited to Word's functionality)
if
else
else if
if
else
else if
if
else
else if
if
else
else if
if
else
else if
-
Unknown
if
else
else if
switch tag
Like if but has multiple case statements within the switch. If a solution does not have this, you can make do with the if tag.
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
link tag
The ability to create a link for content in the document with the URL set from the data.
-
bookmark tag
A link anchor inside the document. The name set from the data.
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
-
Unknown
No
chart tag
A chart built from data. For DOCX, XLSX, & PPTX output it's a lot better if the created chart is an Office chart (as opposed to a bitmap).
Yes, chart in DOCX, XLSX, & PPTX output is a native Office chart
No
No
Yes
Sort-of, via a 3rd party web app pulling it down via a url
No
Yes, by placing data in a worksheet and making a chart from that worksheet
-
Unknown
Yes, chart in DOCX, XLSX, & PPTX output is a native Office chart

Detailed Reviews

Read: Detailed reviews by respected independent company SoftwareSuggest.

Reviews - Windward Studios

Read: Reviews of Windward Studios from enterprise software review websites.

Reviews - DocGen

Read: The reviews of all of the document generation products on the 7 different enterprise software review websites.