I-Deal Docs document automation for Microsoft Word Introduction I-Deal Docs is a powerful software tool to assist with automating document assembly in Microsoft Word. If you have a set of base documents into which you insert relevant information for each matter you do (e.g. names, addresses, dates, amounts), then I-Deal Docs will be of use. Law firms, accountancy firms, and insurance organisations are typical users of I-Deal Docs. Basically, anyone generating repetitive documents can use I-Deal Docs to streamline their document assembly process. Using I-Deal Docs, you can transform any Word document or template into an automatic prompter. An overview of the process is: your admin staff "mark up" a base/original document using the I-Deal Docs authoring tool. They then save the document just like they would any other document or template. The authoring tool is extremely easy to use. There is no macro programming involved! your operators generate a document by launching one of the marked up masters - they simply use your normal method of starting a new document. The I-Deal Docs wizard will then prompt them for answers via a series of automatically generated dialogue windows. They move forward and backward through these dialogue windows, entering their answers. The responses they make can determine what subsequent questions they are asked. For example, if they don't enter details for a second borrower, then don't prompt for details for a third based upon the answers, I-Deal Docs will complete the assembly of the document. It will put the answers in the correct locations, and in the correct format, throughout the entire document. It can include or discard text based upon specific answers the assembled document is presented in Word. The key benefits of I-Deal Docs are: there is no costly VBA macro programming involved it is extremely easy to use. The documents and templates are fully setup by your word processing staff, without involving your IT department it will drastically reduce the time it takes to produce a document. Documents can be assembled in literally a fraction of the time it takes if your operators are using "search and replace" or cloning one they did earlier. This leads to significant direct cost savings no more scrolling through a document looking for variable markers no more manual editing or removing of text that doesn't apply to a particular matter. Based upon the answers entered, I-Deal Docs can include or discard text it will reduce the chances for error because operators are not manually removing unwanted text it will produce more consistent and professional looking documents because operators are not cloning from one they did earlier, which may well be out of date now. Using I-Deal Docs, it is quicker and easier to start from the master and let it do the formatting and optional text inclusion or removal no more knowing how to enter something, for example, what format to use for a date. Set it up so that know matter how the operator enters it, it always gets inserted in a particular way gender references and verb tenses can change automatically based upon answers. No more "missed" manual changes frequently used text, graphics, Tables, etc. can be stored in a clause library and accessed very quickly - no more cut and paste. They can be inserted into any document, not just automated ones. The clause library is much more powerful than Word's AutoText facility the answers entered in one document can be used in other "follow-on" documents, with no re-keying. This significantly increases productivity and reduces errors professional staff can now do their own documents. They don't need to know how to drive Word, they just follow the wizard new colleagues can access the documented intellectual knowledge of experienced staff via one-click access to detailed instructional text about specific wizard questions automated generation of an answer sheet. This allows authors to quickly verify the data-entry without reading the whole document automated generation of dictation sheets for authors. They don't need to view or scroll the document to know what to dictate all functions are accessed from within Word, via an I-Deal Docs Toolbar. I-Deal Docs document automation for Microsoft Word Overview Using I-Deal Docs, you can transform any Word document or template into an automatic prompter. The transformation process is simple: STEP 1: Mark all changeable text with "variables". This could be as simple as marking each with #1# or *1*, etc. For example, you might use #1# to mark each spot where a borrower's name is to be inserted, and #2# to mark their address. A more powerful and flexible method is to mark each with a Word Ref or DocVariable Field (these are covered in detailed during training). An overly simplified document might look like: STEP 2: Use a simple variable definition function within I-Deal Docs to specify the data-entry format for each variable. For example, you might define variable 1 as a single-line value with prompt text of "Borrower's Name", and variable 2 as a multi-line value with prompt text of "Borrower's Address". An example definition window for variable 1 is shown here: STEP 3: Save the document or template. All details relating to the definition of each variable are held as non-visible attributes inside the document or template. I-Deal Docs does not use external files to store details about any of the variables. Therefore, there is no requirement for it to be saved to anywhere in particular. It is now ready for use. Generating one of these documents is also simple. Just use your normal method of starting a new document. Once you have the document open, click the "start prompt" button on the I-Deal Docs Toolbar (it can be setup to automatically start the prompt). Using the details that were entered for each variable, I-Deal Docs will build a prompt screen, or a series of them, depending on how it was setup. The following prompt might appear: You would enter your answers, then click the Upd Doc button. This will cause I-Deal Docs to update each variable marker with the value you entered. This includes variable markers in headers, footers, text frames, etc. The major features of I-Deal Docs are: Variable Prompt to dynamically build a prompt screen with a data-entry field for each variable in a document Print Variable Details to generate either an "answers" report or a "questionnaire/dictation" sheet Generate Related Documents to use the same answers to generate other "related" documents Keyboard Prompting for in-the-document, one-at-a-time entry of text that cannot be automated (e.g. entering a Table) Clause Library to store and quickly insert text, graphics, Fields, Tables, and other items that you frequently use Common Addresses to quickly insert commonly used addresses Employee Profiles to record details such as direct phone, mobile number and email address for each employee in your organisation. These details can be automatically "merged" into documents simply by selecting an employee from a list. I-Deal Docs document automation for Microsoft Word Variable Prompting The Variable Prompting functions automate document assembly by dynamically building prompt screens containing a data-entry field for each variable in a document, and then making the answers entered by the operator available throughout the entire document. To allow this to happen, you first use a simple "variable definition" function to define the details for each variable. As a minimum, each variable must be given a name/number and a description. For example, you might setup variable 1 with a description of "Borrower's Name", and variable 2 as "Borrower's Address". There is no macro programming involved. By default, all variables will be displayed on a single window. If you have many variables, or if you wish to create separate groupings of variables, you can easily break the data-entry into multiple windows. For example, in a conveyancing document you might have a borrower details window, a guarantor details window, and a settlement dates and amounts window. I-Deal Docs will automatically display Next and Back buttons if you setup multiple windows. I-Deal Docs allows two distinct methods for accessing the answer an operator enters for each variable. You can use either: Fully automated search and replace, for example, #1# or *1*. This technique is relatively slow when compared to the second method, but is typically the format documents are already in if no previous automation has been setup. It has the disadvantage that once variables have been prompted and the document generated, the #1# entries will have been replaced with actual text and therefore the values cannot be reprompted. Standard Word Ref or DocVariable Fields. This technique is significantly faster than the above automated search and replace method, and offers many advantages, most notably: you can reprompt the answers, make changes, and the document will automatically update you can use them to include or discard text based upon answers. For example, a document could be worded based upon the gender of the recipient. Or you could insert either of two paragraphs based upon whether the vendor is using a solicitor or acting for themself the same variable can be output in different formats at different locations in the document. For example, a settlement amount could appear like "$18,600" at one location and like "eighteen thousand six hundred dollars" at another. The User Guide that accompanies the software contains detailed information on using Word Ref and DocVariable Fields. They are also covered during training. The Variable Prompting functions also allow: Computed variables. These are variables created using the value of data-entry answers as the basis of a calculation. For example, you could prompt for a variable called "settlement date" and have a second variable automatically created that is 14 days before the date the operator enters. Operator Notes. These allow you to setup instructional text that the operator can see when entering answers. There are two sorts of operator notes - high level notes that are always visible, and detailed notes that are not displayed automatically but which can be accessed via a button on the data-entry window. Conditional disabling of data-entry. This allows for variables to be protected from data-entry if a given set of conditions is true. For example, if you prompt for "Is borrower an individual or a company?", you could disable entry of an ACN if the operator selects "individual". Conditional bypassing of data-entry windows. This allows for complete data-entry windows to be bypassed if a given set of conditions is true. For example, you could bypass the data-entry window for a third borrower if they didn't enter details for a second borrower. Insertion of employee details. Automatically inserts direct phone, fax, email, signing title, etc. from the simple selection of an employee. Prepare print version of a document. This allows you to generate a hardcopy version of a document for authors who don't work online. It makes the document easier to read by replacing each variable number with its plain text equivalent. For example, it could replace all #1# with the text "Borrower's Name". Automated extraction of details from external databases. For example, prompt for a client number and automatically pull in the mailing name and address from Open Practice®. Automated removal of unwanted text, graphics, Tables, etc. Based upon the answers entered, I- Deal Docs can remove items that are not required or relevant to the current document. For example, if you are prompting for "Is borrower an individual or a company?", you could remove either the company or the individuals signing block based upon what they choose. Automated inclusion of clause library items. Automatically pull in text, graphics, Tables, etc. from your clause library. The items pulled in can be based upon the answers entered. This ensures that the latest version is used in the document. Automated duplication of document text for repeating sets of answers. For example, you could allow entry of an open-ended list of plaintiff and defendant details for a Court form. Or you could allow entry of an open-ended list of amounts and descriptions for an expenses report. After data-entry, I- Deal Docs can make your document "grow" to use all the answers entered. I-Deal Docs document automation for Microsoft Word Print Variable Details The same details used to build the data-entry prompt screens can also be used to generate reports. I-Deal Docs includes functions to generate: An Answer Sheet. This generates a new Word document containing a two-column Table. The left column shows the variable names and descriptions. The right column shows the answer the operator entered for each variable. This could be filed with the matter or returned to the work author for verification. The report might look like: A Questionnaire or Dictation Sheet. This generates a new Word document with the same two- column Table layout as above, except that the right column is blank. This allows an entry for each variable to be handwritten, or for the report to be used as a dictation aid. I-Deal Docs document automation for Microsoft Word Generate Related Documents The answer entered for each variable is automatically stored as a non-visible attribute of the document. When you save the document, typically in a client matter directory or via a document management system, the answers are therefore saved as well. If you first open the document containing the answers you can generate other "related" documents using the same answers without re-keying. These related documents must use a consistent variable naming scheme. Related documents are useful in package situations. For example, you might have a set of documents all related to Vendor Conveyancing or all related to Banking and Finance. In these situations, the same variables will appear in many documents within the set. I-Deal Docs allows you to define a list of the documents in a set and to generate subsequent documents simply by selecting entries from the list. This significantly increases productivity and reduces error rates. I-Deal Docs document automation for Microsoft Word Keyboard Prompting Not all variables can be automated using the Variable Prompt function. For example, you cannot enter a Table or a numbered list in a data-entry field on a prompt screen. The Keyboard Prompting function of I-Deal Docs allows you to set "stop" points in a document. During document assembly, the generation process will automatically stop at each of these points and allow direct entry into the document. When ready, the operator clicks a Continue button to resume the generation process. For example, a document might contain the following text: 7.4 My executors shall hold my estate on trust to divide it as follows:- (a) and at "(a)" the operator is required to enter a numbered list of details on how the estate is to be divided. To set this up, you would enter the following in the base document: 7.4 My executors shall hold my estate on trust to divide it as follows:- (a) #idd inplace Enter details for division of estate# The "#idd" at the start and the "#" at the end are required as they mark the start and end of the keyboard prompting information. The "inplace" is a keyword that marks this as an in-the-document keyboard prompt (there are other keywords for different styles of prompting). As this document is being assembled, the following prompt will be displayed: The insertion point will be in the document, immediately after the "(a)" because that is where the "#idd" is. The operator would enter the required details, then click the Continue button to move onto the next prompt. I-Deal Docs document automation for Microsoft Word Clause Library The Clause Library allows you to store and quickly insert text, graphics, Fields, Tables, and other items that you frequently use. Clause library items can be organised into categories, for example, Wills, District Court and Supreme Court. Clause library items are stored in standard Word documents. This allows maximum flexibility because anything that can be entered into a document can be used as a clause library item. Categories of clauses are created by having more than one document. The name of the document becomes the name of the category. For example, you might have documents named Wills.doc, District Court.doc and Supreme Court.doc. Each clause item is assigned a unique code. An operator inserts an item into a document by entering its code, then clicking the relevant Toolbar button. A search facility exists for when the code is unknown. The Clause Library offers a number of advantages over Word's AutoText facility, most notably: Items may contain prompting information that will be presented to the operator as the clause is being inserted There is a search facility for when the clause code is unknown There is a small pop-up "helper" window for quick insertion of many clauses from the same category Reports can be generated showing details for each clause in a category Categories can be secured so that they can only be seen by employees in specific workgroups They do not need to be stored in a globally loaded or current template.