Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers document assembly software that resides within Microsoft Word and offers a simplified way to create templates versus traditional products (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of practice management software that transforms legal billing from a multi-day process into one that takes minutes, a Microsoft Outlook add-in that predicts where to file your email and even lets you know when a colleague has beat you to it and already filed the same message, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.
Traditional document assembly software outputs a Microsoft Word document. But you don't work within Word. Instead, you must either master the intricacies of the document assembly software or hire a consultant. A new alternative seeks to flatten the learning curve.
Word DA … in One Sentence
The Killer Feature
Word DA resides in the Microsoft Word Ribbon. The clauses you regularly use when drafting reside in Microsoft Word documents. These "Templates" as they're called use Word's styles to categorize the clauses. A template can also consist of an entire document such as a trust, will, etc. that doesn't require the use of different components each time.
You create data fields (a.k.a. variables) within clauses and document templates by placing square brackets around placeholder text. Word DA replaces these data fields with the information you provide during the drafting process. For example, the data field "[Client Last Name]" would be replaced by your client's last name everywhere it appears. You need only enter the last name once when prompted.
You assemble documents from stored clauses using Word DA's Clause Tool. This three-pane window lists available clauses on the left, a preview on the bottom, and the clauses you've selected on the right. After adding clauses, you can change their order and preview the document you're about to create. When you're all set, one click combines the selected clauses into a Word document.
"Our Word DA document assembly tools provide firms with an easier way to build and manage their content while designing templates that incorporate logic and intelligence to quickly automate document creation," says Michael Barrons, Infoware's Vice President Marketing & Operations. "Our tools live within Microsoft Word, providing a simple and extremely cost-effective solution that saves legal professionals time and improves document quality and accuracy."
Other Notable Features
Many small and midsize law firms use both Word DA and Word LX Professional. The latter, which we covered previously in TL NewsWire, features a number of tools to ensure document consistency across your firm. These tools reside on the Ribbon alongside Word DA.
One such tool — Prompt — enhances the functionality of the data fields in Word DA templates by storing the information you enter. This enables you to make a change (e.g., correct a misspelling) and update that field throughout the document. The Prompt tool lists all data fields in a panel, making it faster to enter and update the fields than using Word DA alone.
Word LX's Template Designer enables you to create Word DA templates with your firm's logo and address, preferred margins, typeface styles, etc. Word LX also makes it easier to access frequently-used templates. You can even add dedicated template icons to the Ribbon. After using Word DA to create a document, Word LX can make quick work of many formatting tasks, including consistent paragraph numbering and styles, adding a DocID, and generating a table of contents.
What Else Should You Know?
Word DA costs $150 per user per year standalone (less if bundled with Word LX). Infoware helps you get up and running, including training for those at your firm who will maintain templates and create new ones. Learn more about Word DA.
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