Probably more than any other question that our sales reps get asked is this: “Can’t I do the same thing with Word Templates and Macros?” Now from my perspective, this question is right up there with asking a hammer salesman if you couldn’t do the same thing with the heel of your boot. The answer, of course, is that you probably could, but there’s a reason you shouldn’t.

When you say macros in the same breath as automated document generation, you’re not likely talking about recording keystrokes. You’re talking VBA, conditional clauses, automated pronouns and verbs, complex computed numbers and dates, sophisticated information-gathering dialogues—the kind of stuff, frankly, that requires software engineers in VBA, but which can be handled with ease in HotDocs by anyone with basic word-processing skills and a little hands-on experience.

Beyond the educational requirements of VBA mastery is the harsh reality that, depending on the size of the nail and hardness of the board, your boot may simply be outmatched. In other words, VBA (Word Templates and Macros) just isn’t designed for enterprise-grade document automation. Information-gathering dialogues in VBA are a nightmare, and even after several thousand lines of custom code, it still wouldn’t allow you to move forward and backward within an interview, modifying answers as you go. There’s no built-in answer-file management system in VBA, and no comprehensive function libraries to meet specific document-assembly requirements. The list goes on and on, but hopefully you get the idea. 

The fact is, I feel the same way about MS Word as I do about boot heels—you can’t live without either technology. But, at the end of the day, neither can be stretched too far beyond its intended purpose before it starts to suffer in comparison to more application-specific tools.