Windward vs. HotDocs: Determine The Best Document Automation Software



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: August 26, 2020

It doesn’t matter in which industry you work – there’s one thing in common for all: piles of documents. Be it the Legal industry, Healthcare, Financial Services, Insurance, Government, Real Estate, Manufacturing, or Non-Profit organizations; documentation is a part of the business. So, investing in a robust document automation tool to power-up the documentation process has become crucial.

If you are researching the alternatives to automate your document generation, you might see Windward and HotDocs as close competitors. But when you dive deep into their offerings and capabilities, you will view a sea of differences. So, ensure you have known them to make a better decision.

Here’s a rundown on Windward and HotDoc’s offerings, capabilities, and functionalities to help you ease your document automation tool search.

Windward vs. HotDocs: Which is A Better DocAuto Solution?

1. Creating Templates

Creating templates is easier, simpler, and quicker with both Windward and HotDocs. While HotDocs follows a select-and-quick method to help you add data fields, Windward takes a drag-and-drop approach.

However, the point at which both differ is when you run a template. On the one hand, Windward auto-populates the data from the connected datasources, whereas, on the other, HotDocs require you to fill in the data one after the other. Yes, though HotDocs offers you the option to enter the data manually, fetch them from previously filled documents, and retrieve directly from the connected source, it cannot process all the data variables simultaneously. You need to click the variable name and then the answer box for every data field. This seemed to be quite intimidating and time-consuming.

2. Conditional Text

When it comes to generating a complex document, you require placing conditional text elements at certain points. This includes if, if-else, else, if, switch, and more. The former undoubtedly stands out if you sit and compare the conditional formatting options Windward and HotDocs offer. However, if you work with basic documents only, the latter can be beneficial for you. But settle for it only when you are sure that you won’t require building complex conditional documents anytime in the future.

3. Applications

Most of us are familiar working with MS Word. Luckily, Windward and HotDocs come with the capability to integrate with MS Word; thus, eliminating the hassles of learning a new tool. But if you need Excel and PowerPoint too, Windward is the best shot to give as HotDocs doesn’t support them. If you only need Word now, think carefully if you want Excel and PowerPoint someday.

4. Code Behind

One of the prime advantages of Windward is that it is a ‘no-code behind’ platform. Meaning, whatever you do on Windward doesn’t require you to write code. Everything is a simple drag-and-drop functionality. But that’s not the case with HotDocs. You need to write code for mapping fields. Again, it has a very basic and complex Query Wizard as compared to Windward. So, you will definitely seek the assistance of your developers while building any templates with HotDocs.

Windward vs. HotDocs At A Glance

FeaturesWindward Studioshotdocs
Applications Word
Document LockingIt comes with an advanced document locking feature.You have no control over who can access or modify your documents.
Validation, Error & Warning HandlingWarning and errors get marked so that you can work on them and resolve them easily.It does not highlight any error you encounter while running your document.
Word Form FieldsYou can have all that you want on your document template.Even if it works in MS Word, it doesn’t support checkboxes, drop-down lists, or any other form fields.
Output Formats DOCX
And anything you can think of including printer
Tag TreeThere’s a well-structured tag tree to ease the designing process.The designer has no way to showcase the structure of tags on the document.
Pros & Cons
  • Integration with MS programs eases the learning curve for beginners
  • It’s no-code behind model is what makes document generation a walk on the moon
  • Some might find it hard to take out tags if used in a complex block of text
  • You can create letters with standard branding
  • You can save your answers and use them whenever you need
  • Navigating through its menu is quite complex
  • It has got certain limitations that might leave your programmers frustrated

Wrapping Up

While HotDocs is a great document automation tool for your basic documentation needs, it has a certain limitation when it comes to creating complex ones. Again, its support only for MS Word might hinder you in the long run when you need to work in Excel and PowerPoint. Windward, on the other hand, has got the most advanced feature-set for your every document generation need.

But if you want to gain more knowledge about these products yet, explore our detailed reviews for Windward and HotDocs

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