HotDocs, established in 1993, is a powerful document service that allows users to generate and populate documents automatically. It supports companies by converting frequently used documents and forms into reusable templates so that customised, error-free documentation can be created.

Fillthedoc offers a powerful contract automation engine that enables the creation of sophisticated digital documents, including contracts, but also complex forms for data gathering. It utilises a simple markup language known as {{mustache}}, allowing for the manipulation of constants and variables with conditional statements, external data and parsing functions.

Document Engine and Ease of Use

Fillthedoc was created due to a lack of a lightweight, yet powerful contract automation engine. Many contract automation services are difficult to integrate without adding more complexity to your business logic; making it much less cost-effective. Fillthedoc addresses this problem with a simple, yet an ingenious solution that does not involve any intrusive modifications to your codebase, all while giving you full control.

With expressions, a template can be fully adapted to different use cases and customers – abolishing the need to create one contract for each case or client! We accomplish this with the use of conditional expressions to hide specific fields or sections from a client depending on defined data either provided by the client while filling in the contract or external data from a third party service.

Fillthedoc allows full customisation of any template without limiting any of the parties involved in the contract drafting process. To grasp the complete power fillthedoc's template editor offers, view its documentation!

Figure 1: If-statement HotDocs
Figure 2: If-statement fillthedoc

Like fillthedoc, HotDocs supports the creation of conditional text areas (e.g. if-statements), provides sophisticated data-gathering questionnaires or can carry out complex calculations (Figure 1). HotDocs facilitates the document assembly by replacing template text with or by merely adding their variable function <<variables>>. The different variable types include Text, Date, Number, True/False, Multiple Choice, Computation, and Personal Information. Figure 1 provides an example of how the variables can be used to include an if-statement, text field, date, personal information or a multiple-choice option. Furthermore, their computation variable enables to calculate numbers, date, true/false, and text values. It can generate a list from a repeated dialogue or defines a custom interview. The custom interview (Figure 3) is a data-gathering questionnaire that fills out every variable created in the template after the user answered the different questions. This allows quick and easy data entry into any template by any user.

On the other hand, fillthedoc has the option to work with 14 fields, including but not limited to: text, number, date, email, dropdown, groups, checkbox, Likert scale, expressions or external data.

Figure 3: Interview process HotDocs Source:

Thus, fillthedoc packed feature list and the integrated {{moustaches}} does not have to hide in front of HotDocs' numerous features and its <<variables>> notion. The expressions field is especially a potent tool as it enables the achievement of complex mathematical formulas and conditional statements. Hence, fillthedoc's expression field is equal to Hotdocs' computation variable, as they allow the same functionality and freedom to the template creator. Furthermore, while HotDocs' focuses on complexity and functionality-packed offer, fillthedoc understands that less is sometimes more without losing any of the functionalities HotDocs offers. With the natural dropdown function, the different fields can be included in the data-gathering questionnaire of fillthedoc. Every {{moustache}} in the templates can be assigned to one or more fields.

Figure 4: Interview fillthedoc

Lastly, fillthedoc allows the real-time manipulation of the templates. As the Gif shows, once a question is being answered, the templates response to it right away. On the contrary, HotDocs separates the interview process and the document preview. Only by switching between interview and document preview, the changes can be noticed. HotDocs and fillthedoc focus on delivering the most advanced and feature-packed document builder for its customers. At the same time, fillthedocs also focus on reducing complexity and costs.


HotDocs can be considered a veteran in the document automation ecosystem and gained for itself an extensive client base, by offering various features and different deployment types, such as web-based, cloud or Saas applications. For example, the HotDocs document template software supports the embedding of its business logic into an organisation's documents.

On the other hand, instead of taking the document creation out of the legacy systems, fillthedoc facilitates creating documents in the environment that organisations are used to work in. With fillthedoc, companies do not have to pay expensive contract management software in which they have to digitalise their contracts in external applications. Instead of offering one software, fillthedoc is seen to be a developer tool and thus facilitates the integration into many different applications. Please have a look at our tech post to find out more about our API!

Video fillthedoc's client OSRE

Pricing Structure

When it comes to the pricing structure, HotDocs prefers being opaque and does not disclose any pricing or subscription information. HotDocs separates their offers in two categories, namely small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises. To get a specific proposal on any category and price, companies have to sign up for a consultation at HotDocs. The starting price of HotDocs is $25.00/month/user and starts at $25 per user per month, with a minimum of five seats ($125). Furthermore, HotDocs is offering a free demo, which is limited in its functionalities and duration.

In contrast to HotDocs, fillthedoc offers a free plan, which does not limit any features. It allows now for the creation, transfer, signing and approval of 10 contracts per month and allows up to 25 templates for free. More importantly, as many users in your organisation as you wish can access and work with these contracts. Furthermore, the API access comes included with the free plan.

Fillthedoc pricing structure is based on the number of contracts that get processed each month, as opposed to the number of users in an organisation that would like to be included in the process. This pricing structure leads to a much cheaper outcome, especially for freelancers, startups and scale-ups, but also for enterprises who want to include many users in the contracting process. Lastly, we here at fillthedoc believe in transparency regarding our pricing and features. Hence, all information on this matter can be found here.

Final Words

HotDocs is an established player in the contract assembly and automation ecosystem. In the last years, they increased their features and deployment offers. However, this brings along an increase in costs and complexity. For every new potential user, HotDocs presupposes a steep learning curve. On the other hand, fillthedoc, a new player in the same ecosystem as HotDocs looks to lower the entrance barrier for contract automation which was set by the big players like HotDocs.

By offering a free plan, every potential user can enjoy all the features that fillthedoc provides. Hence, fillthedoc solves this problem of complexity by providing a lightweight backbone service along with a toolkit that aims for a plug-and-play experience. Fillthedoc enables firms to cut down on expensive contract management software were digitising contracts still involves much manual labour and only works in external applications and portals. Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all suite, fillthedoc is a developer-oriented service that enables smooth and painless integration with any codebase, including legacy systems. To see our templating markup in action, see fillthedocs live demo. Or do you want even more? Check out the documentation!

For a detailed comparison table, see our full comparison table here!