Plain Text -- Plain Easy
Pathagoras Document Assembly

Compare PATHAGORAS with . . .

    Pathagoras proudly and confidently invites you to compare its approach to document assembly and document automation to those of its main competitors. The links immediately below will jump you to a particular topic of interest. Or just scroll down the page to read the entire discussion.

Other Document Assembly Products
Other Document Management Products
MSWord's AutoCorrect
Word's Quick Parts
Window's "My Places"
Plain text 'automated' variables vs. any other kind

Web based document assembly
How we treat you as a customer
How we treat you as a potential customer

General Comments:

Pathagoras is a total document production program. It spans every aspect of the document creation process, from locating the text sources, to building the document, to filling in variable information. When you are ready to save the final product, it assists you in doing so with its document management aspects. It provides tools to easily rename documents and to disassembly large documents into component parts. You can create interviews to make clause and document selection easier and more accurate. You can recall documents and display the folders in which your documents reside with more ease and speed than is available in any competitive program. And customer support is second to none. When you call us, you either reach us live or we call you back in just a few minutes.

General Design features:

  • Pathagoras uses plain text for the creation of variables and of options and optional text blocks.
       This is the main differentiating feature of Pathagoras from all others. Other programs heavily depend upon highly specialized coding, hidden fields, separate component files and other 'behind the scenes' coding to produce a final document. The final product in a document created with Pathagoras is an unembellished, easy to read and understand Word document.
  • Our use of the term 'plain text' to describe our approach doesn't mean unformatted text. The text you create can be highly formatted and highly stylized to meet your needs. 'Plain text' means only that no hidden fields, no ancillary files, and no external or hidden coding is required to enjoy the full benefits of the program. The full power of Word remains intact. Whether you are working with your marked up source text, or the final draft for a client, Pathagoras is as close to a WYSIWYG ('what you see is what you 'will' get) adaptation of document automation as it comes.
  • Pathagoras runs wholly within Microsoft® Word Pathagoras is an 'add-in' for (i.e., augmentation of) Word. When you are in Word, Pathagoras is already loaded and you have its powerful document assembly and management features at your fingertips.  It's not that Pathagoras doesn't require some learning as well. It does, but it builds on what you know instead of demanding a wholly new learning curve.
  • You are never 'captured' by the system. With some other systems, separate programs control your activity. You are not released to perform other word processing jobs until you close those other programs. Not so with Pathagoras. You can switch to a new Word (or other) project as easily as you do now. Just change to a new screen.
  • Pathagoras' adopts a simpler, more intuitive, approach to document automation. Our screens are simple and instructive. On the left side of our 'Instant Database' screen, we list the variables, the same variables that are in the document and which you can see behind the overlay screen.

    Document selection is accomplished from lists of your documents. You will recognize their names because they are generated directly from your existing files and folders. We have concentrated our design efforts on making navigation to and document selection as easy and intuitive as possible.

Compare to other Document Assembly Programs:

  • HotDocs® , XpressDocs®, TheFormTool® and Exari® are four popular document creation programs. Others (perhaps two dozen) exist, and new ones appear with regularity. All accomplish most of the same tasks. But how you get from here to there is what distinguishes one from the other. Some programs limit you to using their clauses only. Pathagoras does not. All require special working templates, libraries, work sheets or remote tables. Pathagoras does not.

    All require some rather extensive coding before you can produce your first document. Pathagoras does not.

    All convert your simple forms into ones laden with grey fields that are difficult to understand and edit. Pathagoras does not.

      Pathagoras uses:

    your clauses,

    your directories,

    your databases,

    your language.
    Many of these programs are more 'dramatic' than Pathagoras when you see them populate documents with your variables, but the drama does not translate into ease of use.

    Pathagoras sticks to its plain text roots and therefore ease of use. Pathagoras always uses your clauses, your directories, your databases, your language.
  • Special templates, hidden coding and ancillary documents are the order of the day with most competitive programs. Therefore, the document (base or final) frequently cannot be viewed or edited unless that program is running.

    Not so with Pathagoras. A Pathagoras document is a Word document, plain, simple and always. Everything created by or for use by Pathagoras can be opened and edited on any computer running Microsoft® Word, whether Pathagoras is running on that particular computer or not.
  • Most other programs are "whole document" oriented. You start with, and edit from, a complete document as the base for future documents. These are typically called 'templates.' "If /Then" formulae are inserted at strategic points throughout the document (typically as hidden fields) so that clauses are added to (or deleted from) the final product depending upon certain conditions. Separate tables and control forms must be created outside the document which control how the document is personalized for the client or customer.
  • Pathagoras is not 'whole document' oriented.  We are "the way you want to work" oriented. It was built in an office environment, and follows the flow gleaned from contributions offered by dozens of real world working environments. Therefore, Pathagoras works just fine with either whole documents or simple clauses. You are not limited as to how your documents can be assembled.

    --You can assemble documents from the Clause Selection Screen, building the document from a 'zero base' and adding the proper selection of clauses to make the perfect final draft.

    --You can assemble a document one clause at a time using our incredibly handy DropDown Lists. (This 'one clause at a time' method is particularly useful when a lot of notes or dictation accompanies the inclusion of a particular clause, or when you want to add that 'one last clause.')

    --You can pre-compose documents (i.e., 'templates') and using Optional text markers (also plain text) to pare away parts of the document that do not belong in the document being assembled for the particular client or customer.

    --You can start with an essentially complete document and augment it with additional text that is easily accessed using either the Clause Selection Screen or the DropDown Lists.
    --You can link to a database, or not. You can use Pathagoras' Instant Database feature, or not. You can even use both features. There is no preferable method. There is no wrong method.

  • Instant clause insertion: Pathagoras can instantly insert a single term from a library directly from your editing screen. Whether the term is called in just to complete or polish up a document currently on the screen, or to call in a complete document as new project, there is not another program that does so with the elegance or speed of Pathagoras.

    Other programs allow you insert a library term. However, to do so require multiple, sometimes complex steps. With most, you have to activate their programs just to get to one of your clauses. How fun is that? Some program don't allow 'single clause insertion at all.

    • With Pathagoras you can simply type the clause name onto your Word editing screen and press <Alt-G>.  (See Mouseless assembly and SuperFolders for more information on these remarkable time saving tools.)
    • Alternatively, you can select a term from one of Pathagoras' always-on always visible DropDown Lists.
    • Indeed, you can assemble an entire document using one or both of these techniques, and you don't even have to open a single overlay screen. Try doing that with any other program!
  • Pathagoras libraries, books and glossaries can be readily viewed, edited and understood by their creators. But, and probably more importantly, future users who have no familiarity with Pathagoras can understand them too. They are naturally and by design 'cleaner.' They are immediately usable.
  • Pathagoras does not change document extensions. '.doc' and '.docx' are the norm. Pathagoras does not change your document's name in order to index it. (Ask yourself -- when you adopt a document manager that renames everything, who renames the documents if you decide to change from one document management tool to another?)
  • Pathagoras does not move anything to directories where they weren't originally without your say so.
  • You can find, edit and save your final product as a real Word document. That's because the documents created using Pathagoras are in fact Word documents.
  • Documents created by Pathagoras are totally transportable from one computer to another, regardless of whether the other computer uses Pathagoras. That's because, as stated in the previous bullet, they are plain Word documents.  Want to take a your document home, or on a trip, but don't have Pathagoras on your laptop or home desktop? No problem. You never have to be on a 'Pathagoras' machine in order to edit a 'Pathagorized' document.
  • Pathagoras ships with a very clever, very easy to use 'Instant Database.'  This quite simply is the world's easiest to use database. Document variables can be instantly displayed onto a worksheet where you can complete then with personal values and save them for reuse with other documents. All of this is done without requiring any programming skills or knowledge of database structure on your part.
  • Every document in every folder on every computer on your network is easily and almost automatically a part of the Pathagoras document assembly system. You do not have to move, import or convert anything. Just point one of your books or DropDown Lists to any folder which already contains documents and/or clauses, and you are ready to go.

Plain text 'automated' variables vs. any other kind

  • Pathagoras uses plain keyboard entered text to create automated variables. Typically, these variables are set out in a document with simple square brackets. E.g.., [Customer Name] and [number of widgets]. (Any other kind of 'bracket' is acceptable, as well. The settings are practically infinite.)

    These variables are easy to create, easy to understand, in terms of purpose. They become fully 'automated' with no further effort on the part of the user.

    Here are the advantages of plain text variables:
  1. A Pathagorized document with plain text variables is essentially neutral. HotDocs and other competitive programs change the essence of the form to meet that program's needs. The variables in their base forms are converted to fields. They become neither readily viewable or editable (and sometimes not even accessible) when the parent program is not active.

  2. You need HotDocs, Exari, XpressDocs, etc., to read/use/edit a source form created by that program. You don't need Pathagoras to read/use/edit a Pathagorized form.

    If someone buys a manual of forms marked "Pathagorized" but doesn't own Pathagoras, it's not a problem whatsoever for the customer to use the forms in their present state. The customer can manually 'search and replace' any text (including bracketed variables) to personalize the document. (Of course, owning Pathagoras would make the process much faster, but it is 'neutrality' issue that we are discussing here, not speed.)

  3. Plain text variables are clearly defined and clearly visible at all times. Editing is more accurate and precise. Plain text variables are obvious and they are intuitive to the casual users.

  4. Plain text variables are simply easier to create. Other than typing an opening and closing bracket, there are no steps to create them. All steps are performed right on the editing screen.

Compare to Word's 'Quick Parts':

  • Beginning with Word 2007, Microsoft added a clause management tool which it has named 'Quick Parts.' This tool allows you to highlight and add text blocks to a 'Quick Parts' library, and then recall individual terms from that library. As a practical matter, it is but an advanced version of Word's AutoText feature (a comparison to which is made below).
  • While Microsoft touts 'Quick Parts' as a document assembly tool, it is not.

  • You cannot 'assemble' Quick Parts in the fashion contemplated by Pathagoras (i.e., display all available clauses and select potentially dozens of individual clauses in a desired order and build a document . With 'Quick Parts,' you must select one block at a time.

  • You cannot create 'clause-sets' with Quick Parts.
    • With Pathagoras, you can generate 'sets' of individual clauses which, when selected, will create a specified document (or type of document) from the designated component clauses.

    • With 'Quick Parts,' you must select one block at a time.

    • Click this link to read more about Pathagoras' Clause-Sets

  • You cannot directly edit 'Quick Parts.'  To change an existing block, you must edit from the original and re-add. (Indeed, you cannot even directly 'see' your 'Quick Parts.' The 'blocks' are initially stored in a template called. But if you navigate to and display that template, you will see nothing but a blank page.)
    • This limitation does not exist with Pathagoras. Pathagoras stores component text ('quick parts', as it were) as regular Word documents. They are easily located and easily edited using techniques you already know.

  • You cannot instantly call in a Microsoft 'Quick Parts' from your keyboard. With Pathagoras, you easily can. Simply type the name of the clause you desire followed by <Alt-G>.  Pathagoras will instantly locate and insert the clause into your document at the insertion point.

Compare to other Document Management Programs:

  • Pathagoras' disk navigation tools are built into the program. Locating documents or clauses for assembly or editing is easy. Saving a new document to a proper location is a snap. (See the PathSmart and SaveSmart pages on this site.)

  • Pathagoras disk navigation tools are in fact Word/Windows functions. Pathagoras maintains the environment with which you are familiar. It doesn't block access to features which conflict with the program. Nothing conflicts with Pathagoras, and conflicts with nothing. (Exception: The PathSmart module of Pathagoras may not be compatible with some disk management programs such as Worldox®. These programs frequently store documents using their own (sometimes artificial) directory structures. In those cases, you can only use their programs to save and to locate the documents in their directories. (It's not that Pathagoras conflicts with them -- it is the artificial nature of their folder assignments, and the interruptions forced by these programs, which require you to use their programs to accomplish a document 'save' or 'retrieve'.)

    We fully recognize that the 'other guys' can provide indexing/search capabilities that Pathagoras/PathSmart cannot begin to approach. (That is simply not where we have gone with our 'document manager'.) But, with many of these programs, you have to give up 'normal' names and 'straight' saves. You simply have to decide how much you are willing to forego in order to obtain the indexing and desktop search capabilities that these other document managers can provide.

    Our recommendation -- if you have not already adopted a third party document manager (or are not happy with what you have), but need the kind of search power that a document manager can provide, try out PathSmart/SaveSmart to set up your file saving structure. Use it for daily file save and retrievals. When you are faced with a more complex search (e.g., "I know that I wrote a brief last year on the statute of limitations for contracts under seal, but where is it?"), use Microsoft's desktop and network search tools, or Google Desktop or one of the other tools such as Copernic®, Blinkx®, Locate32®,  and X1®. Some are free, some are quite expensive (but you can cross networks with the more powerful ones). All allow you to continue to use PathSmart and normal Word Find and Save windows. These alternatives quite literally gives you the best of both worlds.
  • Pathagoras can display a filtered listing of all of the files in a selected directory right on the face of the PathSmart screen. This improvement on Word's ability to filter and display files is unmatched by any other program.

How Pathagoras compares to Windows' "My Places" feature:
   It is possible in Window's (XP and later) to assign folder's down the left edge of a document folder which greatly speeds up navigation from folder to folder. The idea is similar to what Pathagoras has done (but Pathagoras has done it since 1998). To set a MSWord 'My Places' folder, navigate to the desired folder (highlight the folder from the parent folder, but do not enter into it), click on the Tools drop down toolbar at the top of the folders display, and click "Add to 'My Places." The differences are these:

  • While both have unlimited capacity to store SmartPaths (or its MSWord equivalent), there is a practical limit as to the latter's display.  Only the first few are visible on the screen.
  • Pathagoras groups folders into convenient profiles which can be user or subject matter oriented. Word does not. All of Word's MyPlaces display all the time. (See above entry.)
  • Pathagoras' SmartPaths are Word-centric. Only Word document folders are mapped. Word's favorite places are set at computer level and, assuming that you have set My Places for each program you run, all such folders will be displayed. (See above entry.)
  • Pathagoras filters before the display.  Word (including My Places) displays the entirety of the folders contents first. Only then can you filter.
  • Pathagoras allows mouseless access to any folder. No way with My Places.
  • Pathagoras allows the user to quickly move (copy to new location and delete from old location) in a single step.
  • Pathagoras allows 'active document' deletes.  If the current document is trash, then delete it without having to close it, then relocate it, then delete it.

Web-based document assembly

    There is little question that more and more processes are becoming 'web-based.' That is not in our immediate future because Microsoft has not released it macro language VBA to run 'in the cloud.' When and if it does, we'll be there. But for not, Pathagoras is tied to Word in a very real sense and the 'program' must reside in Word's 'startup' folder. So long as your Word program is on your local computer (or a file server), so must Pathagoras reside there. (This is not a bad thing. The power needed to run complex functions is not in the cloud. It is on your computer.)

   However, the forms, documents and clauses you want to use for document assembly can be stored anywhere. Whether you keep them locally (on your computer), on your server in a small office network, VPNs or WANs or in 'the cloud (DropBox, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc.) if you can get to it in Word, you can get to them faster with Pathagoras.

How we treat you as a customer?

    We like to think that nobody does it better. Our customers seem to support us in this. We won't repeat here what they have said, but we proudly invite you to our 'kudos' page to read what many have written about us.

How we treat you as a potential customer?

    We treat our potential customers the same as we treat our customers. See above comments.

    But there is one more 'thing' we want to point out.  We treat you, and your privacy, with respect and common courtesy.  We treat your visit to our website as an honor, not an opportunity to mine information from you.

  • When you download our program, all we ask for is your name and an email address.  We don't ask you for your life's history.
  • If you want to see one of our demo videos, you don't have to sign up or 'register'. We have no artificially contrived 'unlock code' or 'super secret' password that you have to apply for. The only reason why other firms do so is to collect demographic information about you to be used for a sales call.  We don't ask for it because we don't intend to call you (unless you ask us for such a call) to push a sale.

  • Our prices are plainly posted. You don't have to talk with us to get the information that really does not require a live person to provide.

  • Your privacy is always respected and protected.

  • But if you do want to talk to us for an answer to a question, or for a live demonstration of the program, shoot us over your phone number and we will call you promptly. See our 'kudos' page for a description of how you will be treated.

  • Even with all of its features, PATHAGORAS has made the learning curve to move from program installation to initial document production very short. In effect, PATHAGORAS has taken document assembly to a new level -- to that of the typical user.