contract-management Why Microsoft Word is not optimal for contract creation
Are you still using Microsoft Word for important business documents like proposals and contracts? If so, you’re not alone - but you’re missing out on many great features that can save you time and improve your documents.
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In this post, we’ll outline some of the problems with Microsoft Word and explore tools you can use instead that will give you far better results.
The history of Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word was first invented in 1983 and hasn’t changed much since then. It’s still basically a piece of digital paper on a screen with some basic writing tools, despite changes in color.
And although we’ve moved from .doc to .docx, the functionality hasn’t really changed. At the end of the day, it still produces a digital piece of paper with static text and graphics on it. While that was an absolutely powerful achievement in the early 90s, the world has changed a lot since then. Tablets and smartphones are now our main daily devices that we connect to, and more emails are opened on mobile devices than on desktops.
This significant change in the way we work, combined with the fact that Word hasn’t really changed in nearly 40 years, means it’s really not the best tool to use these days.
Here are just a few examples of where Word falls short:
Word documents are not mobile
Although most email is opened on mobile devices these days, viewing Word documents on a mobile device remains a terrible experience.
This is because unlike the web, Word documents are not responsive and do not adapt to the device they are being viewed on, meaning that the text is small and the user has to constantly zoom and swipe over it to read the content.
Word documents are not interactive
Word documents are generally superficial, static documents with images and text. Unlike the web, you cannot embed interactive content (such as videos, price calculators, forms, etc.) or map digital signature and approval workflows.
This means your documents are harder for recipients to use. Do you want recipients to sign a quote or contract? This requires them to print the document, sign it, scan it back in, and email it back to you (research shows this slows document turnaround time by 80%).
It’s difficult to collaborate on Word documents
Have you ever had to collaborate with other people on a Microsoft Word document? Usually the document is emailed back and forth, using crazy file names like “Contract_V13_MARKUS_CHANGES_FINAL” to keep track of where you are and what changes have been made over time.
This makes it difficult for people to know what the latest version is, and often leads to people overwriting each other’s work or creating conflicting versions. And while version control systems exist, it’s another tool you have to learn and pay for, even though in the 21st century, basic collaboration features should be readily available.
Word documents are untraceable
Although some email tools provide a method to track when someone opens an email, it’s impossible to know if they opened the Word document you attached.
But imagine being notified when someone looks at the quote or contract you sent, and imagine being able to see exactly what parts of the document they interact with or how long they read it. That way, you can time your follow-up perfectly, or at least avoid sending meaningless emails that say, “I just wanted to check if you received the document I sent you.”
Unfortunately, Word documents don’t have a way to track reading time or interactions, so this kind of advanced insight into when people are viewing your documents and what content they’re engaging with isn’t available to you in Word.
Word documents are not secure
Once you email a Word document to someone, the document is in their hands forever. It can be forwarded, shared, published, printed, left on the train, and so on. Sure, you can password protect a Word document, but the password can easily be given to someone else along with the document or removed completely by anyone with the password.
This can be problematic in your business in a number of ways:
Sales: if someone can simply forward your quote (including the prices you offer) to a competitor for them to counteroffer, you get into a price battle that reduces the value of the deal for your company (not to mention reducing the commission for the sales rep). HR: When you make an offer to someone, they can easily forward that offer letter to their existing employer (or another company they are interviewing with). This ends up in a bidding war for talent and ultimately incurs higher costs. Legal: If you are negotiating a confidential contract for the sale of a business, for example, or a partnership agreement, you should keep these documents confidential, and they can only be shared with third parties with your permission. Especially when sending confidential documents, you need more security than Word documents can offer.
With fynk’s contract management software, you can benefit from requiring not only passwords, but also time limits, limits on the number of times a document can be viewed, or even the entry of a business email address before viewing the documents. This will ensure that your documents don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Word is a generic tool
A Swiss army knife is a generic tool. It does the job well enough for many different applications, but of course you don’t want to cut down a tree with that tiny little knife.
Microsoft Word is similar. Its generic functionality means it’s used for everything from writing homework to preparing billion-euro corporate contracts, but it’s not optimized above average at either.
Although there are alternatives to Microsoft Word such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc., they are essentially the same thing: digital sheets of paper with basic writing tools and therefore suffer from many of the same shortcomings as Microsoft Word.
Depending on the type of documents you create, you’ll achieve a much better result if you use a modern tool intended for this type of document and its associated use case: Use our document management software fynk!
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