Before we get started, I would like to set the context of this article so that you know how I have created this list of 9 Best document automation softwares in 2023
During my research for this article, I signed up for 33 document automation tools and tried using them for a variety of document automation use cases. It took me approximately one whole week to finally conclude the list of 9 Best Softwares which are now presented in my list.
I have excluded those softwares from my list which are simply add ons for Salesforce, MS word, or Google Docs and are covering some of the document automation use cases. I have excluded those softwares from my list which are very developer centric and cannot be used if you are not a techie. I have also excluded those softwares from my list which are ERP solutions and are providing document automation as a small module within their ERP offering.
So, in this list, you will see a list of real document automation softwares which can help you save time in drafting wide variety of documents. If you want to see the list of softwares which I tried but didn't include in my list, feel free to check them out with this link
What is document automation?
Imagine having a personal assistant who takes care of all your document needs, without any errors or delays . That's what document automation does for organizations!
By using pre-designed templates and letting users fill in the necessary information, it generates new documents in the blink of an eye. This saves time and effort, especially for repetitive tasks like creating contracts, invoices, or patient records. So, organizations can focus on what really matters, while the automation takes care of the rest. It's like having a superpower for paperwork!
One of the key capabilities of a document automation software is the ability to push or pull data from other apps you use like CRM, Sheets, Internal software applications.
Best 9 Document Automation Software in 2023
- Formstack Documents
- Gavel (formerly Documate)
- AirSlate Document Generation
Incase, you don't want to read the complete research, here's a quick comparison of all the 9 document automation softwares on the basis of parameters which are important:
|Name||Monthly Pricing||Number of Generated Documents||Number of Workflows/Templates||Free Trial Available?||Document Types||Conditional Logic||Advance Calculations||Collaboration Features||eSign||Integrations||Document Storage Limit||Support|
|Crove||Starts at USD 19||Unlimited||10 templates||14-days free trial||Docx, Pdf||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Zapier, API, Webhooks||No Limits||Help videos, live chat, email, community forum, & screen share support|
|Formstack Documents||Starts at USD 110||150 document merges/month||10 templates||14-days free trial||Docx, Pdf||Yes||No||No||Yes, with extra monthly payment of USD 20||Zapier, API, Webhooks, and many native integrations with other apps||No Limits||Help Videos, Live chat, Community forum|
|Gavel (Formerly Documate)||Starts at USD 99||Unlimited||10 workflows||7-days free trial||Docx, Pdf||Yes||Yes||No||No||Zapier||500 GB||Help docs, phone, screen share & email support|
|AirSlate Document Generation||Starts at USD 19; billed annually||Upto 20 documents per month||Unlimited||30-days free trial||Docx, Pdf||Yes||Yes||Yes, in higher value plans||Yes||Native Integrations||No Limits||Help docs & Email support|
|Docupilot||Starts at USD 29||100 documents/month||Unlimited||Free trial upto 20 documents||Docx, Pdf||Yes||Yes||No||No||Zapier, Make, and some native integrations with popular apps||No Limits||Help Docs, Live chat & email support|
|Pandadoc||Starts at USD 29||Unlimited||Unlimited||14-day free trial||Docx, Pdf||Yes, but very limited||No||Yes||Yes||Yes, in higher value plans||No Limits||Help Docs, Live chat & email support|
|Lawlift||Starts at USD 110||Unlimited||Unlimited||No Free trial||Docx only||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes, in higher value plans||No Limits||Email Support|
|Hotdocs||Custom pricing available after demo||Details available after demo||Details available after demo||No Free trial||Docx only||Yes||No||No||No||Details available after demo||Details available after demo||Help Docs, Email support|
|JotForm||USD 39||1000 submissions/month||25 forms||Free plan with limited features is available as trial||Pdf only||No||No||No||Yes||Zapier & 100+ Native Integrations with popular apps like calendar, sheets etc||10 GB||Help docs, Email support|
Crove is a document automation software to create client facing document workflows which generate documents as per your preset templates and data.
Crove’s document generation features along with the eSigning capabilities make it a unique document workflow tool. Its multi-step forms that react to user’s input along with its integrations with 3000+ apps using Zapier, API, and Webhooks make it a powerful document generation tool for businesses of all scales.
Lawyers, Realtors, Agencies, HRs, Healthcare professionals, Psychologists, Accountants, Immigration consultants, Solopreneurs are using Crove to save time with their documents and get consistent results everytime due to automation of documents.
Be it contracts, invoices, quotes, purchase order, proposal, you can automate pretty much any document.
With Crove’s proprietary document editor, you just need to drag n drop the required fields onto your content, prepare your questionnaire, and publish the template to start generating documents.
Pros of using Crove
- Crove is a document automation software with eSignature capabilities.
- It has a simple yet powerful document editor.
- You can create forms with conditional logics using Crove.
- It has the feature to Hide/ Display document pages using conditional logics.
- It doesn’t have any limit on number of templates, documents, and the number of fields you can add.
- It offers a wide choice of integrations
- Crove can save you a ton of time and redundant paperwork.
Cons of Using Crove
- Document tracking is not there (Coming Soon)
- Custom Domains (Coming soon)
- Starts at $29/ month with all the features
2. Formstack Documents
Formstack is a cloud-based solution that helps businesses automate processes of creating digital forms and collecting data for surveys, leads, registrations etc. Some of the key features include file uploads, data encryption, discount codes and form analytics.
Formstack allows users to collaborate with teams to approve, deny and comment on data submitted through forms. It comes with a form builder, which enables enterprises to create and customize surveys through branded themes and conditional logic.
Additionally, the solution allows firms to conduct split tests and import/export data in multiple formats such as Excel, comma-separated values (CSV), Word and portable document format (PDFs).
Pros of Formstack
- Good UI
- Smooth and fast software
- Formstack allows integration with various third-party applications such as Mailchimp, Salesforce, PayPal, Amazon S3, WebMerge and more.
- Mobile applications for Android and iOS devices are also offered to remotely manage business activities.
Cons of Formstack
- Formstack is not a friendly platforms because it has divided it into 3 parts which is little complex for a newbie.
- The price tiers are the most disappointing aspect of the product. The 3x jump from the first tier to the second tier is hard to accept. In this pricing, the UX part should be pretty strong so that the user does feel confident when he/ she start using it.
- Formstack has lots of limitations on documents, workflows, users, forms per submission, storage etc.
- Formstack documents is pretty tricky for a beginner because conditional documents can only be made using code.
- To edit a pre-made template we can only edit it in MS Office.
- As a user of Formstack Forms, Documents & Sign, the ability to switch between the products and utilise the data from the others, is highly lacking.
- It has 3 different products named Forms, Documents & eSign. To use all these products you have to pay separately for each product or you can buy a complete package.
- Starts at $125 per month with a lot of limitations
3. Gavel (formerly Documate)
Gavel is a no-code web-based document automation solution where you can create custom web forms (questionnaires) to generate your template and form documents.
It is primarily designed to help law firms, sales professionals, and HR teams drastically reduce the time to draft complex, fully assembled documents. A team of attornies and technologists created documate in the beginning. Although lawyers are the primary customers of documate, but any busniess may automate their document workflow using documate.
Pros of Gavel
- Gavel allows users to add complex branching and conditional logic to workflows without any need for coding.
- Gavel is a mobile friendly solution which lets firms put their intake online for clients to view and assess.
- Once it is set up, it's such an easy way to complete client intake and automate documents. Specifically, the intelligence of listing items and changing pronouns has been incredibly useful.
- It allows for quite a bit of complexity in formatting the documents, adding conditional logic, and setting up complex calculations. They set every user up on a dedicated instance, which is crucial when you're dealing with sensitive legal information.
- Impressive UI
- Easy form creation
- Generates agreements and price lists easily
- Lower human errors
Cons of using Gavel
- Building templates in Gavel is tricky because it does not have its own template builder. You need to install add ons in MS word and go through multiple steps to add variable fields and logic.
- Gavel doesn’t have a proper user and permissions management, you need to email their support to add a teammate in your account.
- Gavel only supports Zapier Integration as of now.
- Only basic document management features
- Not all features in basic Tier
- Expensive for more features
- Very long implementation process
- Starts at $99/month for 10 workflows
4. airSlate Document Generation
In my research, when I used airSlate to explore their document automation features, I found it to be very slow. Creating a new template took more than 1 minute to load.
Though, It is a robust document automation software, especially if you're using Microsoft CRM suite or Salesforce. You can pre-fill fields from custom objects in Dynamics 365 and generate documents from templates, and use a drag-and-drop editor to create templates easily.
Pros of using airSlate Document Generation
- Lots of native integration options
- Feature rich, provides you with conditional logic, advance calculations, and support for various kinds of tags to generate wide range of documents like Invoices, Contracts, Employee Documents, etc.
Cons of using airSlate Document Generation
- airSlate does not have a Zapier integration so you cannot connect airSlate with more than 5000 popular apps which are possible to connect with Zapier.
- It is billed annually; so you will have to make a commitment for atleast one year.
- High Learning curve
- You can generate only 200 documents per year with their base plan, which is very restrictive.
- Starts at USD 19 billed annually.
Docupilot is a cloud-based document automation software used to generate documents by designing preset templates and data.
Users can also create their own templates using MS Word or the native Document Builder to create dynamic content via an automated process.
It helps to save time with its automated process and creates error-free documents secured with password protection.
It can be used to create proposals, contracts & agreements, purchase and sale order, invoices and many more types of documents.
It connects to data source from online applications like CRM Online Forms, CRM Database and can be integrated to Zapier and various API. Document workflow is further automated by configurable deliveries.
Pros using Docupilot
- Generating e-mail PDF’s from Google Forms response
- Storage of created documents in Google Drive or Dropbox for backup
- Easy to use
- Can be integrated with Docusign for e-signing along with over 1000 apps to create a seamless workflow
- None of the tools has the capacity to Insert dynamic image function and insert google map function other than docupilot.
Cons using Docupilot
- Docupilot has very basic skeleton forms which are not of much use
- To build templates, you need to learn their syntax to add fields and logic which makes it unfriendly for beginners.
- It doesn’t allows you to see your generated documents unless you save them to an external storage service like Dropbox
- It doesn’t have user and permissions management
- It is more of a document generation software
- Its editor is based around the coding principle.
- There are still a few features that I'd like to see, but they are working diligently to add them.
- Starting $29/ month for 100 documents
Pandadoc is very popular document automation software created specifically for the sales process and mainly geared towards creating documents to get them e-signed online.
They have well formatted templates which anyone can use in their business. In adittion, users may monitor prospects intraction with the documents they’ve sent out and get instant notifications.
All in all, Pandadoc is inadequate as document automation software outside this usecase due to its emphasis on sales papers.
Pros of using Pandadoc
- Clean User Interface
- Lots of templates
- Easy to use
- Lots of integrations
- Tracks the no. of times a prospect reads a quotation
- e-Sign Capabilities
Cons of using eSign
- Poor integration with CRMs
- High Pricing for automation features and large team size
- UI Could be overwhelming at first sight
- Occasional bugs. You can’t expect silly bugs from such a renowned company
- Less tutorials
- Difficult to modify document processes
- No conditional logics on forms (Biggest drawback)
- Plans starts at $19/month but the document automation capabilities are priced at $59/month
Lawlift enables legal teams to create contracts with document automation. You can build questionnaires which can generate word documents. Lawlift is currently focused in German market only.
Pros of using Lawlift
- Nice looking form and document preview which appears side by side
- Feature rich with support for logical conditions and mathematical calculations
- Draft documents faster with their AI
Cons of using Lawlift
- Don't have options to integrate with other applications
- No support docs available which means you will have to email everytime you have a question.
HotDocs is a very old document automation tool in the market. The design doesn't look like modern web applications and it is focused towards enterprises with thousands of employees. It is technically complex to use which means not everyone can use it but it also means it can cover wide variety of complicated document automation use cases.
It is also one of the oldest document automation softwares in the market.
Pros of using Hotdocs
- It can generate wide variety of documents from simple to complicated
Cons of using Hotdocs
- Not easy to setup
- Steep learning Curve
- User interface has not evolved with time.
Since the company has started in 2006, oven 15 million users have received over 1 billion form submissions using Jotform. This tool is more than a form builder to gather the data.
It has drag-and-drop capabilities and have more than 1200 pre-made templates that you can modify according to your need to create a PDF document.
It is a good fit for those who are looking to embed forms on their website or app to collect the information.
Pros of using Jotform
- First of all, The user interface is brilliant. Very easy to understand. Easy Drag and Drop form builder saves lots of time in our corporate life.
- Security options such as email verification, phone number verification, ReCaptchas of all kinds (think visual, audio, and even drawing!), data capture, field masks, and more are present.
- Freemium version
- Response tracking
- Real-time tracking
- Best for form submission to collect information
Cons of using Jotform
- The progress can’t be saved automatically, if you refresh the page, you have to fill the complete document again.
- Data calculation and dependent actions are all possible in Jotform. However, the process is facilitated through the strategic placement and coding of form calculation fields that need to be hidden from user view and generally clutter the worksapce for editing. While there are many hints and reminders built into the steps to add these actions, I am fairly certain anyone that is not comfortable with setting up spreadsheet automations might feel overwhlemed or confused by the process.
- The prices keep increasing at massive rates. The software is no longer affordable for small-level users.
- Synchronizing problem between smartphone app and web app.
- Improper PDF downloading alignment
- Customer support service can be improved
- Sometimes, Its confusing to find the right template.
- Starts from $39/month
How to decide which document automation software is best for you?
The major parameters which will help you to decide he best fit for your document automation use case are:
- Ensure that document automation software supports the type of files you want to automate. Some document automation softwares are limited to only pdf, or only docx. Crove is an example which can automate both pdf and docx file types
- Check whether the document automation software is providing you options to integrate the software with your CRM, Sheets, or other apps you use on a daily basis in their lower tier plans. Most softwares provide integrations only in their Enterprise plans. Integrations are a must for building the document automation workflow as you will require to pull or push data from other apps to your document automation system.
- Determine your automation needs, consider what features are important to you, such as conditional logic, mathematical calculations, template creation, document generation limits per month.
- Consider the pricing. Review the pricing whether it aligns with your budget and usage needs. Whether the software offers a free trial or demo version to test the functionality.
- Evaluate Support Options: How responsive is the customer support team, are help docs or videos available. Having good support options is important because you will have to ask various questions while connecting your existing system of records with the document automation software.
- Other parameters to look for can be compliances and security practices of the docuemnt automation software.
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