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How to Build Your Own Document Automation Software - Part 1

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the fabric of the current business environment. It's important to make the best use of this time to ensure the continuity of business. This is also a great time for innovation and improvement for how we work together.

The drive for providing document automation is increasing as more people are required to work online. The document automation process can occur in several ways, but the most common route is to create documents from existing data.

These can be blocks of static data for legal documents, such as wills or leases, to dynamic data; data that changes based on the type of document i.e. address of a property or the parties working on the documents.

Combining this data into one software can help various industries speed up the process of document creation as the need for Document Automation Software becomes more apparent.

This multi-part blog discusses some use cases for document automation, as well as provides examples for developers to quickly begin creating their own Document Automation Software (DAS).

Use Case

Bob and Frida Blates are owners of a large rental and real estate agency in a college town in the northeast United States. Their primary business location is in Massachusetts, but they have offices all over the New England area. They currently have an antiquated system for managing their leases, with existing PDF files stored in their system. These files are then printed and manually completed by clients.

Although this method provides consistency in the look and feel of the documents, it is time-consuming and wastes a lot of resources i.e. paper, ink, time, etc. Their competitors have moved on to more robust online applications and streamlined processes and they feel they are a bit behind the curve.

They have enlisted your team to develop a better way for them to manage their leases and legal documents. You know that with GcPDF, GcWord, and a variety of .NET tools (in addition to your deep knowledge of systems and programming) you can quickly find them a solution.

After several meetings with Bob and Frida, the major portion of the design work is done. You've determined the most logical documents to work on first are the leases for their short-term rentals within their college communities. This is because of the quick property turn-over, as well as the tech-savvy clientele who are in favor of newer technologies.

You set out on a redesign of their website to include a new online application and leasing process. which will run your Document Automation Software (DAS) in the background. Your team has already stood up a SQL database and populated the database from their existing spreadsheets and legacy Access databases. You are now ready to get the DAS up and running.

Unsigned Lease Example for inserting graphical Signatures using JavaScript and GcPdfViewer AP
Figure 1 - Example of an unsigned lease

Signed lease example for inserting graphical Signatures using JavaScript and GcPdfViewer AP
Figure 2 - Example of a signed lease agreement

How to Get Started

GrapeCity has a ton of resources and, although many of our blogs typically contain code, this blog walks you through getting the pieces you need to get started. No need to reinvent the wheel; let's reuse some code!

  1. Step 1 - Install and configure the GcPdfViewer & Editor: This article will get up and running in about 10 minutes or less with the GcPdfViewer & Editor

  2. Step 2 - Create and use a report template to design your leasing document: This blog explains and shows you how to create report templates to populate forms from a database. It uses C# .NET as well as other tools from GrapeCity to output the final product to a PDF file, which can then ultimately be saved to the file system, or database, or sent to another portion of your Document Automation Software for signature tracking.

  3. Step 3 - Add GcPdfViewer Professional to the client's website and enable Signature processing: Learn about signing PDF documents in an online environment in about 10 minutes using JavaScript and the GcPdfViewer application here.

After completing these steps, you should be able to automatically generate a document and load it online for signing purposes. Stay tuned for the next installment for further instructions, use cases, and other helpful tips! Contact us with any questions or if you would like to discuss licensing of our products. Happy coding!


Sean Deegan

Sean Deegan

Product Manager
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