Formstack Documents Review March 2020
A friend of ours runs a small business with only a few full-time employees, but they serve over 100 business clients each year. When one of their employees announced that he was leaving for another job, they weren’t sure who was going to create the contracts and invoices that they send to their clients. We recommended they automate instead of hiring another person and so we recommended Formstack Documents, formerly known as WebMerge.me. Formstack solved their problem by generating documents faster and cheaper than the departing employee.
Things to Consider Before Buying Formstack Documents
Formstack Documents is a flexible form and survey builder for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises. It’s also beneficial across a range of industries, including the following:
Formstack Documents helps companies that need assistance with a variety of general needs such as document generation and workflow management. It also allows customers to fill out online forms such as bill payments, registrations and surveys. You should consider Formstack Documents if you want to quickly and easily produce proposals in PDF format and email them directly to your clients. It’s also a good fit if you want to integrate your document software with your sales software.
If you’re new to form building, you’ll be relieved to know that Formstack Documents has an intuitive interface that’s easy to use. It also has an extensive set of in-application help features, so you don’t need to leave Formstack Documents to get help. For more experienced users, Formstack Documents has advanced features such as conditional logic, save and resume and even built-in regulatory compliance.
However, Formstack Documents may not work for you if your company doesn’t rely on modern technology. If you only want to build forms and produce hard copies for customers to fill out, there are better alternatives. For example, Cognito Forms costs less and is easier to use if you don’t need Formstack Documents’ advanced features.
Presenting Formstack Documents
The forms in Formstack Documents are embedded on your website or social media platform, allowing you to perform tasks such as collect payments, feedback and marketing leads. Formstack Documents integrates with many other applications, including MailChimp, PayPal and Salesforce. In addition to running as a web-based application, Formstack Documents runs on a variety of operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Max OS, Android and iPhone. Competitors of Formstack Documents include Captisa Forms, which is cloud-hosted software intended for small and medium businesses. IntakeQ is also a Formstack competitor, although it’s specifically designed for healthcare professionals.
The pros and cons of Formstack Documents include the following:
- Customization. You can design documents just the way you want them.
- Reliability. Formstack has great routing for emails, allowing you to easily resend them when needed.
- Integration. Formstack integrates consistently with many other types of software.
- Learning. Formstack has more of a learning curve than other software of this type.
- Upgrades. Formstack releases particularly frequent upgrades, which can be a chore to manage.
- Terminology. The documentation uses terms that may require some research to understand.
Features & Benefits
Formstack Documents has many features that help you customize your documents more quickly and streamline your workflow, allowing you to devote more time to your core business. You can create your document in the native software and import them into Formstack Document, or develop documents directly in Formstack.
Customizable PDF Forms
If you’ve already created your own set of fillable PDF forms, you can upload them to Formstack Documents and create customized documents with a consistent appearance. This feature is great for documents with data that has a fixed length and requires the documents to have a specific formatting structure. These changes make it easy to read and fill out the form. Fillable PDF documents often contain checkboxes, which require additional care when preparing the document for Formstack. For example, when passing values to the PDF file, you can check a box by passing the “On” value to that checkbox.
Once you’ve completed your PDF file, you can upload it to Formstack Documents. It will detect the fields automatically, allowing them to retain their values. You can then make any changes in your PDF editor and upload the edited version to Formstack Documents.
Merge Word Documents
You’ll often want to edit Word documents after merging them, typically for contracts, letters and sales sheets. Formstack allows you to do this by generating a new Word file after the merge. This process involves using the DOCX file as your template by using the same formatting as you would in Formstack’s Builder. Again, it’s important not to use all numbers or special characters for the field names to ensure integration go smoothly. You’ll need to edit your original DOCX file because you can’t modify these files from within Formstack.
You can easily leverage Excel’s powerful functionality by uploading a spreadsheet contains merge fields in addition to all the standard Excel features such as calculations and charts. Formstack can then generate a merge spreadsheet that already contains your information. This feature is particularly helpful if you spend hours every month putting together complex reports such as invoices and proposals where only a few of the figures change. You can also use Formstack to export Excel spreadsheets into PDF for easy publishing.
Users often create PowerPoint presentations on the fly with Formstack Documents. Add your merge fields and upload your presentation to Formstack, which can then customize your presentation for a particular audience. This feature is especially helpful if you frequently present product demos and sales pitches in a similar format for different audiences. For example, you can include personalized information in the presentation such as the client’s name and logo, showing that you made the presentation just for that client.
Formstack’s Document Builder allows you to create new documents from scratch instead of treating them with other software and uploading them. With this approach, you create a template for your data by inserting fields into the document. The Document Builder also allows you to customize your document in a variety of ways by using HTML code. For example, you could use HTML to add your logo and add a variety of colors to give your document the same appearance as your website.
Formstack can integrate with a variety of third-party tools to help facilitate document creation. This feature allows you to connect your online forms to other file-sharing applications and automatically sends data to those applications, providing your document management process with great flexibility.
For example, Formstack can automatically import data from Salesforce objects and use it to dynamically generate files in a variety of formats, including PDF, PowerPoint and Word. In particular, you could automatically send out Salesforce subscription renewals to your customers. Another example of the benefits of Formstack’s third-party integration is the ability to use Zapier to automatically pull data from many web servers. You can then use this data to dynamically generate documents.
You can also use Formstack to populate documents from cloud-based applications and send them to Adobe Sign automatically. This process requires you to simply provide the e-mail addresses of the people who need to sign the documents. Formstack then passes this information on to Adobe Sign and collects the signatures.
Use Formstack’s third-party integration to save documents and Amazon S3 by providing the name of the destination folder. Formstack will take care of the rest and automatically synchronize these files with all of your devices. You can also populate documents directly to Dropbox, which will also synchronize these files with your devices
Formstack’s data routing feature allows you to pass data to multiple documents at the same time, based on conditions that control when and where it sends these files to. This feature allows you to attach uploaded files, create multiple documents and combine multiple documents.
The files that you upload to Formstack often require pictures or other documents to be attached to them. You may also want to combine your merged document with an uploaded PDF file. Formstack allows you to automatically upload remote files alongside your merged documents.
Data routing also lets you easily create multiple documents from a single data stream. Assume for this example that you wish to create two documents from a customer’s order form, with one being the customer’s receipt and the other being a shipping slip. Both new forms use the same data, but look quite different.
Another aspect of data routing is the ability to combine DOCX and PDF files that you have created with routing rules. This feature allows you to send individual documents with document deliveries, while also sending documents through data route deliveries.
Healthcare professionals often need to create documents automatically in a way that complies with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. Formstack lets you do that for documents such as registration, referrals and advance health care directives. Digitizing your existing paper processes provides benefits such as greater flexibility for delivery, integration of complaints and multi-user access. Formstack allows you to automate the creation and population of patient documents in a HIPAA-compliant manner. You can also merge documents from other HIPAA-compliant software.
Formstack only stores encrypted data and only saves data with your permission. It also allows you to save merged documents or integrate them with its cloud storage platforms for 24 hours. All data is deleted after a merge is complete, and the data is no longer needed. Formstack also uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to transfer all data.
A firewall constantly monitors the Formstack system and protects it from unauthorized access. All login attempts are also tracked and recorded, so that a session can be immediately terminated if an unauthorized user does gain access to the system. Formstack never shares any information that it receives, nor does it use that information for any purpose other than the creation and merging of documents.
You can dynamically create customized documents in Formstack based on the data you collect. Assume for this example that you’re creating a contract to render certain services for client. You are ready have a template that outlines the general terms of this contract, along with a description of every service your business provides. However, you only want the contract to include the service descriptions that apply to that specific contract.
Formstack’s dynamic content feature allows you to easily solve this problem by adding conditions to each service description. The built-in “if” statements would allow you to determine which sections would be displayed based on the document’s data values.
Formstack allows you to easily specify delivery conditions with conditional logic so that it only sends your merged documents to the recipients you desire. For example, you can send a merged document to some of your sales representatives in the field by creating multiple notifications. In this case, you could specify that only sales reps in certain states would receive an e-mail containing the document.
Robert J., a business analyst for a machinery company with over 200 employees, uses Formstack to overcome Salesforce’s limitations in creating customer-facing documents like quotes. He found it to be the perfect tool for creating professional documents.
Farooq A., senior HR manager for an online media company with over 10,000 employees, found that Formstack was a great product for automating a paperless onboarding process for new employees. He also praises Formstack’s seamless integration with Docusign and Zapier.
Matt K., CEO of a computer software company with up to 50 employees, uses Formstack to merge data from colleagues. He then sends the merged documents back to his various contacts.
Many alternatives to Formstack are currently available, although there are substantial variations on price, features and benefits. For comparison purposes, Formstack’s price ranges from about $32 per month for an individual with low volume to $440 per month for a medium business. Formstack uses custom pricing for Enterprises. Alternatives to Formstack include Form Builder, Pabbly Forms and Formsite.
Form Builder from FormGet allows you to create forms from existing templates. You can also add components to the template, including fields, images and additional text. Form Builder also allows you to create multilingual forms. The prices for Form Builder range from $7 to $99 per month, primarily depending on the number of forms and submissions you need. Comparison features for FormGet include the following:
- Drag & drop form building
- Email alert for form submission
- Smart form with conditional logic
Go to FormGet’s website to find out if Form Builder is a better fit for you than Formstack.
Pabbly Forms allows you to create forms by dragging form elements and dropping them into the form. You can create a variety of specific form types such as applications, reservations and surveys. Pabbly Forms also provides a dashboard from which you can manage your form activities. The price for Pabbly Forms ranges from $5 to $99 per month, depending on the number of forms and submissions. Comparison features for Pabbly Forms include the following:
- Integration with secure payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe
- Access restrictions by user from the dashboard
- Embed forms on your website
Check out Pabbly Forms here if you want to know more about how it compares to Formstack.
Formsite lets you build responsive forms in a variety of formats without needing to know any code like HTML. You can easily share forms by embedding them on a web page and sending recipients a secure link. Formsite offers a free plan with five forms and 10 results per form per month. The top plan costs about $100 per month for 100 forms and 10,000 results per form per month. Comparison features for Formsite include the following:
- Receive your results via email
- Collect data from the forms and deliver canned responses to the originator
- Collect payments through order forms via payment gateways
Formsite provides additional details on its website that will help you decide if you should use it instead of Formstack.
Formstack is primarily a form-building application, although it’s also a data management tool since it helps you acquire and sort data. Many add-ons are available in Formstack that provide capabilities such as for creating advanced reports, analyzing data and managing complex workflows. These integrated functions make Formstack one of the most complete document solutions currently available. Click here to learn more about Formstack.