DataPrompter Adds Easy Automation to Word Document Creation, Editing
New version introduces multi-page data entry wizards, ability to customize documents with data from databases, spreadsheets, and XML files, plus faster performance
Wordsite has updated its automated DataPrompter document preparation tool with a wizard-style, multi-page dialog box, optional importing of data from external files, and support for Word 2010 as well as earlier versions of Word. The program also boasts faster performance.
Automating a document is simple: define DataPrompter fields for data that changes each time a document is used (a text field for Customer Last Name, a date field for Order Date, and so on), and then save the file. When you open the file again, DataPrompter displays a dialog box so you can enter new data (the customer’s last name, the order date, or whatever fields have been defined), and then DataPrompter inserts the data into the document where needed, without affecting the rest of the document.
The program supports conditional if-then-else logic; you can define a text field (for example, a text field called gender), insert it throughout the document, then define a checkbox. If the user checks the checkbox, all gender fields are set to "he," otherwise they are changed to "she." If you have an existing document, you can tell DataPrompter to replace all existing "he" and "she" text with the gender field, streamlining setup.
Other field types include short or long (multi-line) text strings, addresses, dropdown lists, and multi-select lists. You can also incorporate boilerplate text (for example, a single word or text passage, a graphic, or a table), a feature that is particularly useful when composing new documents (and when combined with checkboxes).
DataPrompter can update a single document or a group of documents. By default, the program gathers data interactively from the user, but you can tell it to insert data from other data files (such as databases or spreadsheets), from XML files (for versions of Word that support the format), or from another DataPrompter-enabled document. Users can also pull complete contact information from Outlook or another MAPI-compliant program or use selected contact fields (as such customer city).
In previous version of the program, DataPrompter created one long input screen to collect data. New in DataPrompter 2010 is the ability to produce multi-page “wizards” that prompt for data using multiple screens, which makes it easy to logically segregate groups of data prompts (one page for customer information, another for payment information, etc.) so that users can quickly navigate forward and backward through the groups of data.
Other features in the new release let you store lists of boilerplate text in databases, spreadsheets, and XML files. The company says document assembly is faster, with fewer clicks required to incorporate boilerplate text, and users can now update several documents with the same data. New in this version is the ability to scroll through the document itself while filling in fields.
The integrated spellchecker helps prevent misspelled words, and the Intelligent Page Management feature helps users manage “portrait and landscape pages, columns, section breaks, and headers and footers automatically,” according to the developer.
The utility works with Word 2000 SP1 through Word 2010, both 32- and 64-bit versions; it works with .DOC and .DOCX file formats. DataPrompter-enabled documents can be opened and edited by users who do not have DataPrompter.
DataPrompter 2010 can be licensed for $149 per user or $1,199 for ten users. Special discounts are available for larger groups and for users upgrading from earlier releases.
More information about DataPrompter can be found at www.wordsite.com.
James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (esj.com).