How to...Automatically generate new documents

Document Assembly & Template Creation

Our How to... series gives practical tips and step by step guides on how to do lots of different things in Actionstep. We develop these based on the queries raised by customers with our support team.

Our latest How to... looks at automatically generating new documents by combining document templates with live data:

  • What is document assembly?!
  • How to find where to go in the system to generate new documents
  • What are my options? – complex documents
  • How it can help your law firm

Ok, lets dig in...

1. First, why should I know how to do this?

Document assembly is the process of taking a document template for e.g. current letters, contract and using that document as a start point for assembly by inserting live data or varying clients or matter data through merge fields. Actionstep automates the process of assembly by pulling that data out of your Actionstep database and mapping it to the right places in the document in order to produce a final document.

By building and uploading your own templates in Actionstep, you can easily generate documents that are pre-populated with relevant contact and matter information.

2. Where do I start in Actionstep?

Build your own document template

All document templates will need to be created in Microsoft Word. You can upload a static document (a document without merge fields, that does not auto-populate with information) or create it from your own files. To get the greatest on-going time savings from Actionstep, we recommend that you make use of the pre-populating merge fields to create your template. Here's how to...

Start with the document you want to turn into a template.

Open the existing document and identify the blocks of text you want to vary based on the matter or client. To create the template, you will go through each of these text blocks and add in merge fields so that Actionstep can pull the correct data from the correct sources.

View the List of Merge fields

Navigate Admin -> Document Assembly -> Merge field list.

See a sample merge field list below.

This will allow you to see a list of all the merge fields available in your system.

To find the merge field you're after, use the Filter function in the top-left hand corner of the screen and click "show available filters."

3. More complex documents

For complex documents you can use HotDocs templates directly from within Actionstep.

Admin -> Workflow -> Action Types -> Choose Action Type -> Document Templates

Once you have uploaded, and saved, a HotDocs package file to an Action Type, Actionstep will extract the HotDocs variable names and provide you with an edit form to map these to Actionstep merge fields.

See a full step-by-step breakdown of Document Template creation, purchase and assembly here.

4. How does Document Assembly help your firm?

Actionstep gives firms the advantage of quickly designing your own templates in Microsoft Word or choosing a template from your system or a 3rd party. Any type of data can be inserted into the templates including names, addresses, custom data fields, logos, and even financial information to help your firm reduce errors and save time on cut & paste jobs and multiple entry.

5. Where can I find more information?

Check out our support centre for full details on Document Templates & Automation>>

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