HotDocs is a document automation software that uses a template creation system to transform existing documentation of all kinds. The solution works by having subject matter experts who create the original HotDocs templates before end users complete dynamic HotDocs interviews for populating the document with customized data and calculated figures where required. Benefits revolve around the implied reduction of human error associated with manual editing and the time / effort costs incurred, while enhancing areas around content control, accuracy, branding and overall document quality.
For example, legal and potentially complex documents such as contracts, loan agreements, wills and trusts can require lengthy re-editing to reflect the circumstances of each new transaction or case. This traditionally involve lots of searching, replacing, cutting, pasting and manual "fixing", which can lead to inaccuracies or inconsistencies. HotDocs automates this process and promises to remove such oversights by working within a preferred word processor to transform existing documents into flexible HotDocs templates that are then capable of generating new specific variants. These templates are instantiated by a series of data gathering question and answer forms known as an "interview", utilizing branching logic to fully define a document while validating data entry. Variables are then inserted into HotDocs templates to represent the data normally subject to change such as names, dates and numbers, plus computed variables that are based on calculations the software also takes care of. The addition of business rules then define the inclusion of relevant clauses that apply to a certain instance, use case or scenario. Once generated, HotDocs templates can then be used on the desktop, across a server network environment and within HotDoc's own cloud, and are embeddable into custom workflows or webpages.
I've used HotDocs in my law practice for more than 10 years. Love it. Very powerful. The more time you invest using it, the more you'll appreciate its many features and the better your templates will become.
My only warning concerns the new year-to-year subscription pricing requirement. How does that make sense for this kind of software? The software becomes helpful only after you make your own serious upfront investment of time to build HotDocs "templates". Without that investment, HotDocs will do nothing for you.
Don't make such an investment without considering that, in future years, you'll have no guarantee that you'll be able to renew your HotDocs substription on a basis that makes sense. And without yearly renewals, you'll forfeit your own upfront investment of time in templates.
But for the pricing scheme adopted by HotDoc's new owner, AbacusNext, I'd give HotDocs an overall rating of 5 out of 5. However, as it stands now, I suggest you look at other software. Perhaps XpressDox. Or, for less ambitious automation projects, consider TheFormTool or Pathagorus.
I have been working in HotDocs for the past 11 years, as a user and a coder. To be able to use this program to assemble our documents saves an incredible amount of time. I have had to enter in repetitive information on a set of 25 documents many times over the years, but being able to use HotDocs has been a great improvement and a fantastic time saver. Over the years, I have been able to increase the amount of client documents used through HotDocs and gained the interest of several other departments.
Our firm works on a vast amount of forms that are specific to our individual clients needs - these are not fill-in forms, but documents ranging from 1 single page to 100+ pages. We use a sometimes complicated Answer File whereby HotDocs lets us quickly assemble a single document or multiple documents - I sometimes do 20 or more documents at a time. The amount of time that is saved being able to use HotDocs for this document assembly process is phenomenal.
If the answer to a variable is not readily available some end-users would like there to be a prompt on the draft document indicating what fields/questions have been left blank. For the person filling in the answer file those unanswered questions are known at the end of the answer file, but after assembly these documents are passed on for further editing and review and a reminder of what information was not available at the time of assembly would be helpful.
Love it, but not for the price they want you to pay. I have been using Hotdocs since around the mid-nineties and have seen the company change hands. The current "custodians" of Hotdocs have unfortunately missed the boat on pricing.
I can easily sell this program to anyone, and have in fact have turned several attorneys on to this program.
It's a great way to automate your documents. It's logical. Is it complex? Sure it can be, but that gives the user a lot of options and makes it a powerful tool.
Cost prohibitive. For some reason HotDocs has elected to increase the price of HotDocs well beyond what they charged. From my understanding they want to have you pay a MONTHLY FEE where they used to just charge you a one time fee for the program. The price is too high for solo attorneys and small law firms.
Bottom-line: Until Hotdocs can figure things out on the pricing, do not start using Hotdocs; there are other ways to get the same job done for cheaper, A LOT CHEAPER!
Document automation saves time and reduces errors. I've found HotDocs to be extremely reliable, stable, and bug-free.
This product's integration with Microsoft Word is outstanding. It is a fantastic scripting tool for document generation. I've also prepared some documents in WordPerfect and it seems entirely capable with that as well.
Hands down, the data entry interview is crude at best. It is probably ok for a developer who has never worked with another UI, but the "automation" it provides comes at a steep price - loss of control. If you want truly professional user interfaces, you'll have to write the front-end in some other language, write an "answer file" HotDocs can understand (which is not hard, it is very basic XML) and then let HotDocs work its magic to assemble the language in Word. When used that way, HotDocs is very powerful and flexible. When used in its native UI, it is fairly inflexible.
It's really the best software out there for what it does. It just still seems behind the times in terms of connectivity, componentization, and still no HiDPI support.
It is extremely flexible and can help you craft just about any document that you want. I prefer the desktop version to the cloud version. It just works every time!
I feel that HotDocs has been stagnating recently. Here are some things that they need to address:
*Easy import/export of answer data to other formats. For example, if I use some other tool such as an online form, it should have the ability to import that data into an answer file.
*It still doesn't support Hi-DPI displays.
*It would be great it if could be more flexible in the storage of answer data. The ability to componentize the fields/answer data would be wonderful. As it stands, each template is limited to only one component file.
A 30-day trial and a pricing quote are available via the HotDocs website.
Below are some frequently asked questions for HotDocs.
HotDocs offers the following pricing plans:
Pricing model: Subscription
Free Trial: Available
A 30-day trial and a pricing quote are available via the HotDocs website.
HotDocs offers the following features:
HotDocs has the following typical customers:
Large Enterprises, Mid Size Business, Small Business
HotDocs supports the following languages:
Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian
HotDocs has the following pricing plans:
We do not have any information about what devices HotDocs supports
HotDocs integrates with the following applications:
Microsoft Word, Office 365
HotDocs offers the following support options:
Online Support, Phone Support