What is Document Generation?

Document Generation is the process of automatically creating documents using software.

Document Generation software is useful when multiple documents need to be generated and each document contains a mixture of:

  • Static content – content that remains the same in each document.
  • Dynamic content – content that is customized for the audience or recipient of the generated document.

Document Generation is sometimes referred to as Document Assembly or Document Automation. Reporting Software is a subset of Document Generation Software.

Documents that are exactly the same for every recipient, such as a marketing flyer, would not require Document Generation software.  Word Processing Software is discussed at the end of this page.

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Two types of Document Generation.

Document Generation software can be used in two different work flows, depending on the reason a document is being produced.

Batch Requests

A batch request is where tens, hundreds or thousands of similar documents are generated at one time.

For example: A fianance company may send a letter to all of their customers to advise them of an increase in interest rates. The static content, such as: the new rate and the please/thank you’s, will be the same for each customer. However the dynamic content, like: name, address, account details and repayments will be different for each customer.

Transactional Requests

A transactional request generates one document that is needed at a particular moment in time.

For example: A finance company prepares a contract for a customer applying for a loan. The same basic contract will be used with many customers. However, only one specific contract would need to be produced at any one time. Each contract will contain static content such as: the general terms and conditions for that type of loan, as well as dynamic content that is unique to the customer, like: name, address, amount borrowed, repayments.

Scheduled Requests are a subset of Transactional Requests. Some Document Generation software has the ability to schedule when certain documents should be created and possibly who they should be delivered to.

Who uses Document Generation software?

Document Generation is used in industries such as: Legal, Finance, Medical, Health, Government, Transport, Defense, Education, HR, Insurance and Logistics.

It is commonly used by any business or company that builds it’s own software or uses proprietary software that is customized to suit the business.

What types of Documents can be generated by software?

A Document is a very broad term ranging from a single page letter to a 1,000 page report with nested tables, page numbering and table of contents.

Document Generation is suited to any document where part of the content is static and part is dynamic. Document Generation Software allows an operator to create the "rules" used to generate a document.  Documents could be Letters, Contracts, Statements, Reports, Proposals, Quotes, Orders, and Invoices.

Reports are a subset of Documents. Reports usually include specific information and evidence that is presented, analysed and applied to a particular problem or issue.  Reports may include tables of data or graphics.

Documents may be plain black/white like invoices or bill of lading with lots of compact information. Or documents may be “artistic” like an insurance company including colorful graphics and pictures of happy families on a policy summary.

Document Generation vs Word Processing

There are key differences between Document Generation Software and Word Processing Software.

Document Generation Software is used is to automatically create multiple documents. This operation may be performed by a computer with no human interaction.

Word Processing Software is designed to be used by a single user to produce a single document.  Examples are software such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer.