Five steps to automating documents in HotDocs

Where should you begin when automating your documents in HotDocs? We have broken it down into five steps:

Step 1 – Decide which documents you use the most in your practice.

Step 2 – Determine the ease of automating for each document.

Some questions that you should consider when determining the ease of automating in HotDocs are:

  • How many variables are going to be in the document? The more variables you have in your document the longer it will take to program. Having several variables in your document does not necessarily mean that it will be a hard document to program but it will take some time.
  • Do you have optional paragraphs that you want to include? When you start adding optional paragraphs, the programming that is required can become complex. We recommend starting on documents that do not have optional paragraphs to begin with so you that you can get your programming foundation in place.
  • Do you have questions that build upon themselves in order for the correct option to be in your document?  These questions can be simple as asking a true/false question to determine if another question needs to be asked to having multiple questions being asked prior to getting to the correct answer.
  • Do you have calculations that need to be entered in your documents? Calculations can include simply asking for a date or determining when an item is due in 90 days.  HotDocs calculations can also be extremely complex in nature and require the use of IF statements, Sums, and other calculations.

Step 3 – Pick the simplest document

Once you have determined the ease of each document, pick the easiest one to begin with. We recommend starting with the easiest document first so that you can get used to programming in HotDocs.

Step 4 – Mark-up your documents

Mark-up your documents. This can be done in a number of ways. Here is an article that describes how we recommend marking up your document.   Marking-up your documents article

Step 5 – Start programming your documents in HotDocs

If you need any assistance, we offer HotDocs online training courses and HotDocs programming.

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