HotDocs is a powerful document assembly engine. With the release of HotDocs 6.1, LexisNexis has addressed many of the design deficiencies of earlier versions and produced a whole new look for the interview engine. Most lawyer-developed applications would be well suited to be built in HotDocs.
Feature Set of HotDocs
HotDocs has a rich feature set, which cannot be described in a single page. The feature set is designed to permit an experienced developer to create more intelligent, efficient and accurate documents. That is not to say that HotDocs requires you to be an expert to create templates and document assembly systems however, with experience and knowledge, HotDocs can produce a “close to final draft” first time for most templates and documents that we have worked with.
- Organize sets of templates into separate libraries with foldering (and sub-foldering) ability
- Define individual descriptions of a template and view file properties of each library item
- Preview basic templates (complex templates often do not preview due to large amounts of conditional logic)
Multiple Platform Support
- Create templates using either Word or WordPerfect. (Supported versions include Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003, and WordPerfect 8, 9, 10, and 11. In respect of Word, both RTF and DOT templates are supported
Validate and format user entered data
- Input different types of data, including text, dates, numbers, multiple choice options, true/false answers, and calculations.
- Format answers to appear differently each time the answer is merged in the document. (For example, a name may need to be in capital letters in a title, while in the rest of the document, it may only require initial caps.)
- Impose minimum and maximum limits on numbers used in your template.
- Assign default values to variables
- Assign patterns to your text answers to ensure correct data entry (such as an SSN or telephone number)
- Group related questions into dialogs so questions can be asked together and in the right context.
- Dynamically hide & show variables depending on a user’s choice.
- Use scripting to force a user to answer questions
- Repeat the same dialog multiple times to gather a list of answers, instead of a single answer. Then send the collected data set to your template sorted and/or filtered to suit.
- Create lists of answers within lists of answers. For example, you can create a list of creditors and then generate a list of the amounts owed to each creditor. This “nesting” can go four levels deep.
- Dynamically index & copy data from other dialogs (not a native function of HotDocs, requires extensive programming expertise)
Conditional Content in Documents
- HotDocs has excellent logical operators allowing a developer to write rules to include text in a document (or not to include). These formulas can be as simple or complex as required, quite often nesting several levels deep to produce finalized documents on first draft.
Calculations and Computations
- Perform simple or complex math calculations for the user, using data you already know.
- Calculate the difference between two dates (such as automatic age calculations), or interest calculations.
- Use the smart script editor to write computation scripts. Features of the editor include instruction and expression keyword auto-complete lists, color coding, and an interactive toolbar.
- Test calculations during development to make sure they are producing the correct result.
Insert Other Templates into the Current Template
- Use instructions to insert one template into another. The text of the inserted template will be merged at the point of the instruction. (This is especially useful for boilerplate language or other frequently used static or dynamic text.)
- Instruct HotDocs to assemble separate, multiple documents from one template.
- Maintain ONE letterhead template and ONE memo template that is then re-used by all your documents across the firm.
Manage Components in a Template File Using Component Manager
- Manage all components in a template using Component Manager.
- Keep Component Manager open while you work in the template. Drag components from it directly to the template.
- Edit as many components simultaneously as you need.
- Specify interview and assembly properties at the component-file level.
- Create, edit, delete, rename, and copy components.
- Search components for text; replace found instances with new text.
- Spell-check text used in components.
- Use pointed component files to ensure that all templates in a given library are using the same data and variables
Publish Templates So Others Can Use Them
- Distribute HotDocs files to others easily, including via the Web.
- Publish auto-install files, which allow you to provide a template or template set that, when accessed by the user, creates a new library or updates an existing library for the user.
- Publish auto-assemble files, which allow you to provide a template or template set that will automatically assemble when the user accesses the file. Auto-assemble files are temporary-once the user finishes assembling and has produced a document and/or answer file, the template files are deleted.
- Apply security settings and expiration dates for published template sets.
Automate Form Templates Using HotDocs Automator
- Use HotDocs Automator to convert government, court, banking, and other “static” forms into interactive templates.
- Use PDFs as the basis for form templates. (Requires a HotDocs® PDF Advantage user license.)
- Create HotDocs variables and overlay editable fields on the template.
- Use HotDocs Filler (described below) to assemble documents.
Document Assembly: Answer Files
- Choose which answers to load when you start an assembly.
- Save answers when you complete an interview in either native HotDocs format or XML format. (XML format lets you integrate your answer files with other applications that support XML.)
- Manage answer files using an answer library or use Windows Explorer – the choice is yours
- “Seed” an interview with answers using an overlay answer file.
- Preview existing answers before selecting an answer file for an interview.
Document Assembly: Integrate HotDocs with Other Applications You Use Each Day
- Store HotDocs templates and run HotDocs from your network server.
- Integrate with document management systems like PC DOCS®, and iManage® , and Hummingbird.
- Integrate with case management systems like Time Matters, Case Master, AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, Elite Encompass, JustWare, Practice Manager, LawBase, ProLaw, and others.