1. Forms application works in real time from inside MS Word.
2. Turns existing standard documents into custom forms with plain English inquiries rather than confusing field abbreviations.
3. Deals easily with number, gender, lists and conditional inquiries, including custom formatting.
4. Very intuitive program with very easy learning curve. An experienced attorney or parlegal can be up and running within an hour.
5. Basic version is free. Very powerful professional version, TheFormTool Pro, costs only $225.00.
6. Excellent training videos and supporting documentation.
No real cons or game stoppers thus far, but a few things to bear in mind:
1. New product.
2. Company’s first venture into the large scale distribution of software.
Before I review TheFormTool and TheFormTool Pro, let’s try to put this discussion in context. In the last 30 years businesses embracing technology have invested untold hundreds of billions pursuing “efficiency.” Those billions become trillions when you add the time spent transforming and adapting our businesses and professions to this new paradigm. The average business user understands that the purchase price of the software is only part of its real cost which is measured in time, training and implementation. Because most modern businesses have developed business processes that incorporate computers and the internet, any new hardware or software will be, by definition, disruptive. Knowing all this, business owners and professionals are understandably skeptical of any claim that a new piece of software will save them time. It rarely does. Certainly not in the short run. But if it’s really good, it will save them time and make them more profitable in the long run by producing marginal gains in quality, efficiency and, most important, profitability.
Every business has a basic set of documents that it uses to conduct its business. It is the informational core of their overall business process. Capturing the information for these documents uniformly and consistently is not only essential, it is mission critical. The success of some businesses and professions, like the law, finance and real estate, depend entirely on the integrity of this process. Although many of these forms have been converted to industry standard “forms,” these are only a tiny fraction of all standardized documents. There is, therefore, a considerable unmet need for an a forms design methodology that is immediately compatible not only to the documents that a user has already created but, more importantly, with the WAY they have created them. In other words, the ideal forms design program will (1) let you adapt your own forms (2) from within the word processing program you used to create them, (3) use the same file structure and (4) do it all in plain English. In many ways, this is the last frontier for the legal and financial services professions.
Enter TheFormTool and TheFormTool Pro. These are forms design programs that permit the user to create forms quickly and easily from within Microsoft Word. I could spend a lot of time describing this program to you, but your best bet is to go the web site and watch a simple 3 minute video clip that shows you how to use TheFormTool and create an automated form from one of your existing MS Word forms on the fly at http://www.theformtool.com. No tricks or sleight of hand programming, just a very straightforward plain language approach that lets you get started immediately. The basic version of TheFormTool will permit you to convert any standard document into an automated “form.” As you will see, it permits you to create an unlimited number of data fields, label them whatever you want and create a plain English question of unlimited length describing the information sought.
Once again, you do all of this right in MS Word. All you do is click on TheFormTool tab at the top of the bar. You don’t have to use someone else’s forms, work within a special forms design program, struggle with oddball field naming hieroglyphics or, worse yet, play Russian roulette with “search and replace.” (It should be known as “Sue Me.”)
For details on how the program works, your best bet is to go to the web site and check it out. Download a version and work with it at no cost. http://www.theformtool.com
Now for the best part: The basic version of TheFormTool is free. That’s right: FREE. This version will let you do a ton of things. Even the professional version, TheFormTool Pro, is only $225. This isn’t even one billable hour for most lawyers. Better yet, the program is so intuitive and easy to learn, that a lawyer can be up and running in an hour. Look for the custom forms world in the legal profession to migrate to TheFormTool Pro. In fact, their affiliate, Dilijinz, is already at work on a free version of business formation documents to be followed by bankruptcy and probate forms. Some incredible innovations will be coming out of this company soon.
In conclusion, if you’re a lawyer, paralegal, CPA or any other professional who needs a top flight forms automation software that will let you convert your existing forms quickly and easily, TheFormTool and TheFormTool pro are the tickets. You won’t be disappointed. Your modest investment in time and money will be rewarded many times over.
* can start right away — time to first value is 90 seconds
* free to try and free version has significant value; premium version (which allows more advanced forms of “conditional” merging) has easily understood, additional value … which is worth it if you have that need.
* can add to form as you discover new needs — flexible
* logical and easy way to create new documents from “standard” documents or even “nearly standard” ones. Just fill in the variables and then tweak the final result before printing … all from within the familiar confines of Word.
* only does one at a time — open the form, fill out the table with the variable information for that one need, and print. It might be nicer if you could do multiple ones at the same time.
* not super clear the extent of how the premium version might address my problems — I recommend they DEMONSTRATE the advanced features (singular/plural, gender, conditionals) a bit better.
I’ve been looking for a tool like this for 30 years and have struggled with native mail/merge in Word, form generators and “document assembly” software of all types. This is a plug-in to Microsoft Word and all creation/editing is done within a known environment (so there’s no need to learn new commands or software). An the free version is perfectly fine for straightforward “search and replace” (a.k.a., “fill-in-the-blank”) needs, with an easy premium upgrade path to more advanced document creation logic.
For literally YEARS I have been looking for… wanting… DESPERATELY NEEDING something that was close to TheFormTool. Then last night as I lay in bed, unable to sleep; browsing through the CNET app on my iPad I saw TheFormTool.
I quickly scanned the write-up and could hardly believe it. I was excited to wake up today and try it out.
I downloaded TheFormTool and installed it. Honestly I was expecting to be somewhat disappointed as I’ve found other “solutions” in the past or attempted to build my own work-arounds. I have tried/used custom metadata fields either built into a Word template properties or through creating custom, required fields within SharePoint, tried creating both a flat file database with Excel and a relational database with Access to use as a source for a Word MailMerge. Ive even tried without any luck using a custom SharePoint list as a data source for a Word MailMerge. And of course Ive used the tried and true “Find and Replace” on key words like “[CLIENTNAME]” along with countless other concepts and ideas.
They all worked to a degree in that they produced the final output that was needed (eventually). But inevitably they were time consuming and/or I would miss a keyword, field or something else causing me to have to read through an entire document. Typically these are 15 pages and it is easy to miss something.
On top of that all of the templates that I use required that I change the wording so much that all of my templated documents look like this…
“s/he has/had registered for the follow class(es) for one (1) day(s)…”
Which makes them difficult to read and they look unprofessional in my opinion.
I just finished watching the two videos 3 Minute Tutorial and 5 Minute Advanced Features. I was relatively impressed with TheFormTool upon initial download and use. But then after watching the 5 Minute Advanced Features video I was blown away. You’ve done your job of positioning and marketing as PRO can do ALL of the things I need and want and MORE!).
So, not only have you created a tool that I so desperately needed but it works better than I was expecting AND… you have features and functionality (in the PRO version) that I hadn’t even thought of or considered that makes it that much better.