Database to document

Database to Word and PDF Documents Generation

TL;DR Generate Word/PDF documents from SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL using SQL queries.

Database to documents

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

Some industries such as legal, mortgage, and real estate are inherently document-intensive and documents play a central role in their day-to-day transactions. The document-generation requirements tend to vary a lot from on-demand creation of a single document to bulk generation of thousands of documents in one go.

The generated documents are shared with internal and external stakeholders including customers, vendors, and partners. It could be a simple mail or part of a complex business process that involves e-sign, approvals, etc.

In essence, database to PDF and Word document generation and their distribution is an essential job in every organization.

Database to PDF Demo

Challenges in Document generation from Database

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 on the 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 the organization’s brand and design guidelines.
  2. Generate documents with a click of a button.

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

Common Tools for Database PDF

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, 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 to Word and PDF Generation

The system addresses the creation of documents from the databases 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 as in previous approaches, they don't have to go through the pain of template creation from scratch or employing developers for template creation.

EDocGen offers the dynamic population of text, tables, hyperlinks, content blocks, and images. The system also supports the BLOB population into the template. Thus the extremely flexible to cater to different kinds of business documents including contracts, invoices, etc. 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.

  1. As a first step, select the database from which you want to generate documents.
  2. Enter the connection details. You can connect to on-premise as well as cloud databases to the system.
  3. Enter the query to extract data from the database.

If you cannot enter connection details, alternatively you can extract database data in XML/JSON/Excel formats and use this data for document automation.

SQL Server: Using FOR XML and FOR JSON, retrieve SQL Server data in XML /JSON format with a simple SELECT query and populate results 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. You can also use API integration for on-demand document generation from SQL Server.

SELECT Title,					
FROM Person.Person

MySQL: MySQL allows you to retrieve SQL data into a local CSV file through a 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 the Oracle database.

Document Databases: Document databases such as MongoDB store data as documents. Thus querying MongoDB data is not straightforward. You can retrieve the data using db.collection.find() method. Let's say you have a "students" collection. Enter "db.students.find()" in the select query input area to retrieve all records of students.

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 the next step of document generation, map the dynamic fields to query columns. If the names match, the system auto-maps the fields. Thus you avoid costly data transformations. Changing of table structure would never affect the document generation. You can generate thousands of documents in seconds.

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

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