Database to document

Create PDF and Word documents from Database

document generation

Database and Documents

In every organization, a database plays an important role in holding the entire organization’s data across functions/departments. Organizations create a variety of documents from this data. They create Sales proposals, invoices, and after-sales documents, Procurement contracts, NDAs etc.

Some industries such as legal, mortgage, and real estate are inherently document intensive and documents play a central role in day-to-day transactions. The document-generation requirements tend to vary a lot from creating one document to the generation of hundreds of documents in one go.

Organizations share generated documents with internal and external stakeholders including customers, vendors, and partners. This is driven by compliance requirements and for communication purposes.

In essence, generating PDF / Microsoft Word documents from database data and their distribution is an essential job in every organization.


Direct creation of Database documents

In traditional databases, data inside the database is stored in tables and they have a logical connection among them. Hence, Database solutions don’t have document design capabilities. NoSQL/document databases store data in JSON or a JSON like documents and not great for document generation either.

If you are a master of SQL commands, you have a lot of choices including off-the-shelf PL/SQL packages. But for a non-technical user/business user, the options are limited. The first option is to knock IT department door for help. However, business documents undergo frequent changes and getting IT bandwidth every time for document generation is difficult.

Hence, you find business users tend to look for a solution that allows them to

  1. Create/modify templates easily conforming to organization’s brand and design guidelines
  2. Generate documents on click of a button

Let’s look at the tools for addressing these requirements.

Common Tools and Approaches

The most common solutions being used are not built for database documents generation and hence offer only a little automation.

Reporting/BI tools: Tools such as Tableau, Jasper, Crystal reports generate reports but they lack in document design. These are best suited for creating interactive reports. Though they make the document generation easy, business users still need to depend on IT help for template creation and template changes.

Publishing tools: Data merge and Mail merge functionality offered by publishing tools such as Indesign, Microsoft Word is good only for basic document merge. For example, if you are looking to create a nice report with bullets, conclusions and other written text, and pre-formatted numbers then a publishing tool is not the right choice. Moreover, these tools have several limitations including the inability to suppress blank rows, date & number formatting errors etc.

EDocGen for Database documents generation

EDocGen Document Generation software addresses the creation of documents from database in a very elegant fashion. Business users can create/edit templates in their favorite editors. With a DIY interface, it can populate database data into templates to generate documents.Users can use existing documents as templates for document generation, thus getting rid of the pain of template creation from scratch or employing developers for template creation.

EDocGen offers dynamic population of text, tables, hyperlinks, content blocks & images and is extremely flexible to cater to different kinds of business documents in PDF and Microsoft Word format. As it is a cloud application, it enhances collaboration, intelligence, and mobility of your team to work from anywhere on any device.

Let's see how it creates documents from different databases.

SQL Server: Using FOR XML and FOR JSON, retrieve SQL Server data in XML /JSON format with a simple SELECT query and populate into templates for document generation. Refer to SQL to PDF, SQL to Word for details on how to go about creating PDF and Word documents from SQL Server. This process could be automated through API integration. You can also automate by integrating your SQL server with EDocGen through Zapier.

SELECT Title,					
FROM Person.Person

MySQL: MySQL allows you to retrieve SQL data into a local CSV file through simple SELECT query. Populate that into the template for Database documents generation.

You can also export query data into JSON file as well as shown below using ‘JSON_OBJECT’ function.

SELECT CONCAT('[',GROUP_CONCAT(JSON_OBJECT('ID', department_id, 'name', department_name)),']')
FROM departments 

Refer to JSON to Word for details about JSON population into Word template.

Oracle: Using XMLElement and XMLForest, you can export XML data from Oracle database. Use EDocGen to populate XML data into your template to generate multiple documents.

Refer to Oracle to PDF, Oracle to Word for details on how to go about creating PDF and Word documents from Oracle database.

Document Databases: Document databases such as MongoDB allow users to export data as JSON. Use EDocGen to populate JSON data into your template for generating multiple documents in one go

Online Databases: Databases such as Knack, Caspio etc. offer Zapier integration. Again here as well integrate with EDocGen to generate documents. For example, you can set-up a trigger for every new record entry into the database. This trigger fires and creates a document every time a record gets added to the database. Even the delivery of documents to recipients via email can be automated.

In summary, EDocGen document generation software is the perfect solution for creating PDF and Word documents from databases. You can use both Word and fillable PDF templates for database documents creation.

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