Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about ActiveDocs, and its document automation and compliance solutions




Choosing the right platform

Document Creation

Usage, Support, and Performance

Alternative Solutions


Can we integrate ActiveDocs Opus with SharePoint, Office, CRM, and SalesForce?

Yes. The following links show you how.

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Can we integrate ActiveDocs Opus with other applications?

Yes, in many ways

  • ActiveDocs Opus Templates can use data from other systems
  • The ActiveDocs Opus Document Wizard can be invoked from other applications for document creation in User-Driven Mode
  • The Document Wizard can be invoked with preset Answers from another application
  • Other applications can use ActiveDocs Opus in Automated Mode to create documents programmatically using ActiveDocs Opus Templates
  • Documents created with ActiveDocs Opus can be easily forwarded to storage and handling destinations like WebDAV, SharePoint, networks, and web services
  • Documents created with ActiveDocs Opus can be easily forwarded to other applications for onward processing

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What applications have other customers integrated with ActiveDocs?

Here is a small sample of the applications that ActiveDocs customers and partners have integrated:

  • HP Worksite/iManage
  • Appian
  • FileNet
  • SharePoint Portal Server
  • Jalios JCMS (Content Management)
  • SAP
  • BizTalk Server
  • Carizma (Contract Management)
  • RBS WorldPay
  • Open Text eDOC
  • Temenos T24
  • Brassring
  • Selectica
  • Oracle Taleo
  • Kofax Capture
  • IBM AS/400

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What is DOCCM?

A Forrester report entitled "Document Output For Customer Communications Management, Q2 2009" explored the capabilities of a sample of vendors and products in this very specific sector of the Document Automation space. Look here for more information.

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Is ActiveDocs Opus a DOCCM solution?

Yes. Look here for more information about DOCCM and the Forrester report in general, and here for more detail about ActiveDocs Opus in relation to DOCCM.

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Why would we want to use templates?

Templates allow you to start standardizing your documentation by providing a convenient starting point for document creation using corporate standards. On their own, however, templates still have drawbacks:

  • Users still have to go looking for templates with attendant risks and time costs
  • Template repositories need to be kept up-to-date with changes like branding, regulations, and market drivers
  • Large numbers of templates can produce significant maintenance issues
  • Unless templates are easily found and easy to use, users will fall back on practices like copy-and-paste
  • Standard templates don't easily support repeated instances of the same data, filtered access to external data sources, and other features to help reduce errors

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What advantages does an ActiveDocs Opus solution have over ordinary templates?

  • ActiveDocs Opus provides an integrated environment for Template Designers using a component-based approach: ActiveDocs Opus Designer
  • ActiveDocs Opus allows Template Designers to build intelligence, rules, and user help, into Templates
  • Users can find, and use, all of their ActiveDocs Opus Templates via the ActiveDocs Opus Express Wizard's web browser interface, allowing your end users to use the right template, right now
  • The web-based ActiveDocs Opus Document Wizard takes users through a well-controlled, rule-driven, help-assisted, logical process to complete their documents
  • ActiveDocs Opus provides Designers with the tools to access external data sources via reusable components
  • ActiveDocs Opus supports rapid change and deployment through reusable components, a robust and comprehensive Design environment, and server-based web-enabled access to Templates
  • ActiveDocs Opus Templates are Word-based with added ActiveDocs intelligence, supporting multiple instances of data, external data sources, Image capture, Free Text, and other features covered elsewhere on this site
  • Interactive (User-Driven) and programmatic (Automated Mode) usage of the same ActiveDocs Opus Template is fully supported

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What is a “component-based approach” for Templates? Is software development required?

  • ActiveDocs Opus uses a component-based approach for Template Design - and there's no programming involved
  • Designers develop catalogs of reusable ActiveDocs Opus Design Components which include:
    • Templates
    • Snippets for common content
    • Data Views for accessing data in other systems
    • Templates use Snippets and Data Views, and can be used to build Template Sets
  • Snippets can be purely passive content or can also contain their own ActiveDocs Opus Intelligence as Active Snippets
  • Snippets - passive or Active - can be reused in other Office applications

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Does ActiveDocs Opus require significant IT involvement?


  • Installations do require IT support, take less than a day, and can be done remotely
  • ActiveDocs Opus Designer was especially created with business users in mind for template design and management
  • User-driven document creation is a simple web-based process using a browser without any application rollout
  • ActiveDocs Opus is designed to integrate with your other applications and your IT people will want to get involved with configuring that - it's their job and what they do best

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Does ActiveDocs Opus support multiple delivery channels?


  • ActiveDocs Opus supports delivery in multiple formats via print, fax, email, and onward handling
  • Delivery integrates with your existing IT infrastructure
  • Print, fax, and email delivery use configurable queues and support grouping and OCR for cost control
  • Onward handling includes options for storage into other applications and via web services

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What level of post-creation document processing does ActiveDocs Opus support?

ActiveDocs Opus supports a comprehensive range of post-creation document processing.

  • Pre-release approval which may be standalone or part of a workflow process
  • Edit with the ActiveDocs Opus Client
  • Delivery which integrates with your print, fax, and email infrastructure
  • Onward handling including options for storage into other applications and via web services

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What about support for open standards?

  • ActiveDocs Opus provides document output in multiple industry standard formats including Word, PDF, TIFF, and HTM
  • The Open Document (Text) Format (ODF-ODT) is fully supported as an open standard output document format
  • For output documents, ActiveDocs Opus will support the ISO/IEC OOXML open standard when it is supported by Microsoft® Office
  • ActiveDocs Opus Template Design is performed in Microsoft® Word and will support the ISO/IEC OOXML open standard when it is supported by Microsoft® Office
  • ActiveDocs is proud to be a Microsoft® Gold Partner. ActiveDocs Opus is built on Microsoft® technology.

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How much re-use of content and other components does ActiveDocs Opus support?

Part of the core philosophy behind ActiveDocs Opus is content re-use.

  • ActiveDocs Opus Designer provides for modular design of Templates using reusable components for common content, data access, fields, and rules
  • Designer provides complete control, enforcement, and reporting of relationships between components
  • ActiveDocs Opus Version Control integrates with Designer to provide complete version control and publish-now, publish-later control over components
  • ActiveDocs Opus Snippets are designed for common, reusable, content such as standard paragraphs, terms and conditions, legal clauses, and other recurring content
    • Snippets can be purely passive content or can also contain their own ActiveDocs Opus Intelligence as Active Snippets
    • Snippets can enable re-use of existing external content - ActiveDocs Opus can access content mapped as Snippets in other systems
    • Templates are built using their own content and with links to Snippets when common content is needed
    • Snippets may be re-used in selected Microsoft® Office applications
    • In summary, Snippets can use common content you already have, and new common content, for use in ActiveDocs Opus Templates and in other Office applications
  • ActiveDocs Opus Templates may be combined into Template Sets
  • ActiveDocs Opus Templates and Template Sets may be used for interactive (User-Driven Mode) and programmatic (Automated Mode) document generation

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How do I manage the content that I'm using in ActiveDocs Opus?

ActiveDocs Opus Designer's Content Manager provides full content management for ActiveDocs Opus.

  • Modular, component-based Template design
  • Component relationship control
  • Check-Out and Check-In of components
  • Integration with ActiveDocs Opus Version Control for
    • Check-In as Draft or Publish Now or Publish Later (Deferred Publishing)
    • Discard Check-Out
    • Promote and copy-out previous versions
  • Design Component Approval for pre-publication verification of new or changed material
  • Optional mapping to existing external repositories of snippet and template material
  • Export and Import functions for moving components between development, QA, and production systems

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Tell me about performance and resilience, as these are especially important to us?

ActiveDocs Opus is a high-performance enterprise-grade application

  • Multi-threading for scale-up performance using multi-processor servers
  • Multi-server for high-resilience and scale-out performance
  • High volume output benchmarked at over 150,000 documents per hour
  • One of our customers produces over 7 MILLION documents per annum with our automated solution
  • Proven design-and-use capability with thousand-page templates
  • Our customers have between 100 and 7000 automated templates and document sets

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Do ActiveDocs Opus Template Designers need to manually build the end user interview?


  • Designers create Templates using ActiveDocs intelligence with grouping and ordering for consistency and flow
  • Designers also use rules to control the flow of groups and the content of the output document
  • The ActiveDocs Opus Document Wizard works automatically with any ActiveDocs Opus Template
  • The Document Wizard follows the Designer's ordering, grouping, and rules

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What software do my end users need with ActiveDocs Opus?

  • To use ActiveDocs Opus Templates from the ActiveDocs Opus Express Wizard, all you need is a web browser
  • Documents can be created in most Word formats, ODF, PDF, and XPS
  • Other software needed will depend on the selected document format, and what your end users need to do with the document after creating it
  • The ActiveDocs Opus Client's functions allow users to save documents back to ActiveDocs Opus, and use ActiveDocs Opus Snippets in selected Office applications

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Do we need to install Microsoft® Word on our server?


  • ActiveDocs Opus creates documents in Microsoft® Word (OOXML) format by default, without using Microsoft® Word.
  • ActiveDocs Opus can automatically create documents in a wide range of other formats on demand.
  • The latest versions of ActiveDocs Opus do not need Word for format conversion on the server, although this is available as an option.
  • For older versions, or when selected for newer versions, a single-user copy of Microsoft® Word is required on the server.
  • We provide strict guidelines when implementing which means that the Microsoft® Word instance is well-managed and runs under very high security.
  • Please refer to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article for further information.

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Do ActiveDocs products work with Open Office XML (OOXML)?

  • ActiveDocs Opus Designer's Design Tools is an add-in for Microsoft® Word which uses OOXML for creating Templates. ActiveDocs Opus also creates documents in Microsoft® Word (OOXML) format by default. ActiveDocs Opus can create documents in a wide range of alternative formats which are described here. ActiveDocs Opus will support the OOXML IEC/ISO specification when the specification is supported by Microsoft® Office.

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Can ActiveDocs Opus create documents in the Open Document Format?

  • Yes. ActiveDocs Opus can create documents in a wide range of alternative formats, including ODF/ODT, which are described here.

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How are ActiveDocs products used?

  • Banking and Finance
    • Loans and Statements
  • Insurance
    • Policy and Endorsement Documents
  • Procurement and Fulfillment
    • Sales Ready Marketing and Order Fulfilment
  • Sales and HR
    • Proposals, RFI responses and HR Contracts
  • Regulatory and Government
    • Legal Titles, Rates, Public Notices, Regulation Changes
  • Our application solutions page has more

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How can ActiveDocs support us?

  • We have offices providing pre- and post- sales support in:
    • North America (Kansas, USA)
    • EMEA (London, UK)
    • Asia-Pacific (Brisbane AUS and Auckland NZ)
  • 80% of our business is in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Most installs take less than a day and can be done remotely
  • We provide in-depth feature-specific e-Learning modules for trained Designers
  • We can offer service level agreements
  • ActiveDocs Professional Services Team offers a wealth of value-added services including analysis, planning, implementation, training, and certification

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What makes ActiveDocs the right company to deal with?

  • We are dedicated to one product line
  • Our development team have been involved in the product since its inception
  • We’re a highly profitable, privately owned company
  • Our intention is to have mutually beneficial long-term relationships with our customers
  • We encourage customers to evaluate our products via customized presentations and Proof-of-Concept projects
  • We have many Fortune 500 customers
  • We are a trusted part of the core infrastructure of our clients

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Can ActiveDocs supply references and Case Studies?

Yes. We have complete confidence in our product and so do our customers.

  • All of our Customer Case Studies are available here
  • References are available so please contact us directly

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What about the cost and ROI?

  • ActiveDocs provides value through enterprise-wide efficiency
  • Price versus features we believe we offer the best solution available
  • Our customers could tell you about their ROI
    • A large multinational has saved US$1.3m in the first year
    • A major bank has reduced overtime to nil in one department and isn’t replacing staff who leave
    • One major corporate client cut the time required to create a complex legal contract from 4 days to under 1 hour
  • Creating documents takes time. Fixing problems in documents takes time. If you could save just one hour in creation or rework per document using ActiveDocs Opus, across 100,000 documents in a year, that one hundred thousand hours saved could mean over Five Million Dollars in annual savings.

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Couldn’t we build something like ActiveDocs Opus ourselves?

  • We have spent 22 years developing the ActiveDocs product line
  • You need to consider:
    • Time
    • Money
    • Resources
    • Long term user support
    • Evolution
    • Support for new and changing technologies - such as operating systems, databases, word processing, and document formats
    • We issue on average 6 feature upgrades per annum

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Isn’t this what Microsoft’s Open XML SDK is used for?

  • Microsoft’s Open XML SDK is an excellent toolkit - for developers!
  • For business users, a higher level solution is required.
  • Software development is required to make that happen...
  • ... and you might ask yourself why you couldn't build a solution.
  • And we might refer you to the question (and answers) above.

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Couldn’t we harness the capabilities of other Microsoft technologies?

  • See ”Couldn’t we build something like ActiveDocs Opus ourselves?” (above)
  • See ”Isn’t this what Microsoft’s Open XML SDK is used for?” (above)
  • There is an ActiveDocs White Paper on this subject here.

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