In the past, many clients have generated personalized forms utilizing Adobe Forms as a template for an OpenContent Form (previously known as Active Wizard). Recently, we’ve worked with an Insurance client to provide similar functionality using a Microsoft Word document with Mail Merge fields to produce personalized letters that can be sent out to clients. This post will describe and demonstrate the new feature in the OpenContent Management Suite that allows word templates to be populated with data for consistent and automated creation of personalized documents.
OpenContent Forms provides a way for users to fill out forms using an intuitive wizard-based interface. This wizard-approach simplifies the form filling process, especially for complex form scenarios. Aside from simply filling out forms, this form data can be used to drive workflow review and approval processes, or in the case discussed here, create a document from a template.
OC Form Default Output
Typically, when filling out a form, the default output for the OpenContent Forms output is a fairly simple PDF file:
The default output utilizes this simple approach for one reason – when form configuration changes, there’s no corresponding change to the output template. When questions and pages are added or removed from the form template, the output PDF simply flexes with the changes.
Utilizing Microsoft Word as a Template
As mentioned in our Adobe Form integration blog post, some clients need a more structured output. Adobe forms work well for actual forms, but one client was more interested in generating letters. For this client, we added the ability to utilize a Microsoft Word document with mail merge fields to drive the output. Here’s what the template word document looks like. Notice the mail merge fields that are placeholders for input data from an OpenContent Form:
After filling out the OC Form, the data entered into the form will populate the appropriate mail merge fields to generate the personalized letter. Check out the video below to see it in action!
While our current client is utilizing the OC Forms integration with Word to generate letters, we see many other use cases where clients want additional control over the output PDF. Currently, we support replacing text mail merge fields, but future iterations could support
if fields as well to optionally include or exclude entire sections of the document – similar to how our HotDocs integration currently works. Let us know your thoughts below.