Three Ways to Automate Forms:
Choosing the Best
There are multitudes of document assembly and mobile forms solutions applications available today at the click of a button (or more precisely, at the touch of a screen). Knowing your business capabilities and needs, as well as client needs, can help make short work of deciding on which app to utilize in order to decrease those daunting loads of paperwork. Very little to no coding experience is needed to get these apps up-and-running. Below are three exciting applications available in the market today.
1. CANVAS SOLUTIONS
Canvas is advertised as “Mobile Business Apps and Forms on Android, iPad, iPhone.” Canvas is a great app for situations where a lot of data needs to be obtained through relatively simple means. Canvas doesn’t allow the upload of pre-existing documents and templates, but rather relies on the creation of a unique app interface to replace those old forms.
When creating an app, the developer can choose between a multitude of different field types to drag-and-drop onto a blank digital page. Field types include Text Box, Static Text, Date, Time, Image Capture, Signature, etc. The app rarely crosses over into something too complex, and when it does, the Help section and online chat support prove to be great tools.
When the developer publishes an app, they can then assign users to that app and receive submissions either directly via email, or through the Canvas web page. Submissions are viewable and exportable as PDF documents, though the editing and customizing capabilities are extremely limited, and you’re left with a basic, default PDF format for all submissions. There is the option for a custom PDF for those completed submissions, but this is done by Canvas themselves after a draft/mock-up version is sent to their team. The price varies on the custom PDF but can get pricey if many edits are needed. All in all, Canvas is a great resource for those situations where a simple app is needed to purely capture data, barring the need for a customizable output document.
GoFormz, the self-proclaimed “Most Complete Mobile Forms Solution,” is another extremely useful tool among Forms Solutions applications available today. One of the greatest strengths of GoFormz is its highly customizable nature. Nearly every aspect of a document can be edited and manipulated by the creator or user. Pre-existing documents and forms can be uploaded (must be a PDF) and edited through desktop means.
But with this highly customizable nature, also comes a fair amount of complexity. Conditional logic can be applied to most fields, a much sought-after feature with any mobile forms solution application. GoFormz is similar to Canvas in its app creation interface, as fields can be drag-and-dropped onto a page. But with GoFormz, these fields are placed directly onto the “image” of the uploaded document. For example, where you have a signature field on your paper document, GoFormz can handle the ability to place a “Signature” field-type in that exact spot for the web-based document. It’s a capability that can only be described as beyond useful. It creates a more smooth and precise document for users to fill out, and it can be as close to your paper forms as possible as long as one is willing to take the time to recreate said documents.
GoFormz’s palette of available Field Types is nearly identical to Canvas, though it also allows the placement of Tables, something Canvas is unfortunately lacking. The mobile device layout is fairly simple. Users fill out fields on a page that is similar to the uploaded documents’ format, they can navigate between pages and completely different fields as they see fit. Reports and other data can then be produced from completed documents. Overall, GoFormz is most useful for those organizations that have a static document where the format is critical and the output needs to be a PDF.
Draftonce is another extremely useful application to deal with your seemingly endless paper documents. It’s an ideal application when you need to replace physical contracts, legal filings, and enrollment forms with neat, easy-to-complete digital forms. The greatest perk of draftonce is the ability to use your own, proven documents as a basis for your online documents, or collection of documents known, in draftonce terms, as an “interview.” When users purchase draftonce, they get their own sub-domain to conduct all of their document assembly files in one convenient location.
To use your own documents in draftonce, all one needs to do is add field tags using a word processor, and upload as an RTF. Draftonce also provides full setup and maintenance services if needed. The conditional logic associated with draftonce is highly customizable – it allows the ability to attach clauses, parts of forms, or even entire documents, into another document. No re-formatting needed as section numbering, tables of contents, and page numbers automatically adjust. Blue Burro, creators of draftonce, uses the latest tools and encryption techniques to ensure the integrity and safety of all data. Draftonce is slightly more complex than GoFormz, as drag-and-drop capabilities aren’t yet available, but the amount of customization available more than makes up for that.
Draftonce can be a great fit for many industries, but has been most utilized for law firms, attorneys, governments, and childcare centers. At a high level, draftonce is for text-based documents, where full control of formatting is required, the content of the document can vary widely, and it must be in an editable format.