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Create Complex Documents Easily in Salesforce

Automated customer document generation in Salesforce can become a time-consuming task when you are dealing with creation of more complex template layouts: their graphics, text, support for different use cases and content management.

Overcoming these complexities is not difficult, though, if you have the right tools in place, as we showed in our . In this article we explain, how Documill Dynamo Salesforce document generation app helps making things smoother. Read on and learn, how to create complex document templates quickly and easily in Salesforce.

Quicker template creation with MS Office

Dynamo comes with a sturdy little add-in for MS Office tools that allows you to use them directly for creating Salesforce document templates (see the figure below). Word is available for written documents and PowerPoint for presentations. Excel is also supported, but it is typically better for producing, say, templates of reports than those of customer documents like offers or contracts.

General cropped

All formatting features of the MS Office application are available when creating the template, whether it is about setting or blending font sizes and colors or defining line spacing, margins, text areas and so on.

The real benefit of automated document generation is, of course, that any data in Salesforce or an Excel database can be dynamically fetched to selected parts of the document. For this purpose, Dynamo add-in for Office allows you to select Salesforce field and add it as a dynamic field in the document, as shown below.

Data mapper 4 cropped

Flexible graphic design

As for visuals, they can be placed anywhere in the template: also at the background of the text or to decorate whole document pages.

The graphics can be directly inserted to the template or merged as dynamic elements that link to a database. While the former solution is fine for items such as company logos, which are rarely updated, the latter one works well for dynamic graphics like, say, personal sender signatures and product pictures, like those in the example below.


Many options for content creation and reuse

In terms of adding text to templates, Dynamo offers a variety of options.

Quick solution: direct to template. You can simply write all the text you have directly on one template from beginning to end and add fields for Salesforce data. This can work well as a quick and dirty solution for creating any document. However, it is a truly feasible option only for producing simple, short documents because of limited possibilities for content reuse.

Versatility with Word snippets. You can also create parts of the document text as separate Word documents and link to them from the document you are creating. This way, you can create a library of short texts – or snippets – to be used in multiple documents. All at once, content updates become much easier to make: you change a detail in a snippet once, and any document that will feature it gets updated.

Effectiveness with Excel data source. Excel can be productively used as a database for dynamic content in a document. However, text formatting options are limited, so you may have to settle for a more Spartan layout.

Best of all worlds: hybrid. While versatile, this option is also easy to put to good use. You get all the flexibility to treat each part of the document in an optimal way. You can use Word and Excel source files where they work best, peppered with dynamic data from Salesforce or Excel.

Put database data to good use

In addition to Salesforce and Excel, the dynamic data and document source files can also reside in SharePoint, Office 365 or another external database (with a little help from us, those can be set up).

Different document variants for different customers

Do you need three different variants of the same document, say, long, medium and short, for different uses? Here is what you can do with Dynamo.

  • Create three different templates that use shared building blocks. Content updates remain easier, and Dynamo allows you easily to set up a form that lets your users choose the right template each time.
  • Give users options to add attachments. If you want to give your users a little more choice, you can create parts of the document as separate Word of pdf attachments. Using Dynamo forms, you can allow your users select the appropriate ones for each customer and case (see the figure below).

create new doc cropped

Take care of content management

Are there any key considerations when deciding between the options above? Here is one: be careful with database and source file management: the more you have sources, the more complexity you will encounter in maintaining them.

So better organize all files well right from the start and keep it that way. Also, less is more when it comes to the number of databases you use. Just ensure that you have enough of them for maintaining the flexibility you need for creating quality layouts and enabling effective content reuse.

See Dynamo in action

Take a look at the video below for an overview of the Documill Dynamo Template Design Tool. To see in practice how Dynamo works, book a demo or download the application directly from the Salesforce AppExchange. Once you’ve downloaded the free trial, take a look at these ready-to-use Dynamo document templates to get started.

By | May 19th, 2016|