Automation is Changing the Work Landscape

1 January 2019

A photo of a rocky landscape

Automation is Changing the World of Work

If you are a professional in today’s economy, you are already experiencing this revolution first-hand.

Put simply, more automation in the workplace means there are now two types of professionals. There are professionals who are:

  1. Finishing work earlier
  2. Taking on more clients, but working less
  3. Making fewer mistakes
  4. Making changes for clients with lightning speed
  5. Focusing on the high value part of their jobs, while forgetting the repetitive, low value parts

And, of course, there are professionals who are missing out on those benefits. These people are missing the automation revolution. Unfortunately for this second group of people, we already have a blueprint for how their working lives are likely to progress over the next three decades. Their experience will likely be similar to those who never learned to use computers in the 1990s, and watched as their peers began to earn much more over the next 30 years.

How Can You Successfully Navigate the New Automation Landscape?

If you intend to keep up with the automation revolution, you need to think carefully about what you need in an automation solution. Here are some of the things you should think about:

Your automation software must be highly secure. In 2018, 8% of Fortune 500 companies were hacked. You don't want to be one of them. That means the company you choose for document automation better be on top of its security game. High security should be the default, not an afterthought.

Your automation software must work with your data formats. The most common way people work with data in professional occupations is Microsoft Excel. At a bare minimum, your automation solution should update your documents when you to enter and update data in Excel, including tables, charts, and calculations. Less common, but just as important, professionals need the same capability but with a database like Microsoft SQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Mongo DB, or SQL Lite. In addition, some users have online or offline questionnaires that output CSV or JSON files, and a good automation solution will effortlessly allow you to integrate that data into your documents. Finally, most users will need to be able to insert images, logos, PDF files, and signatures into their documents. Make sure these come standard with any automation software you choose.

Your automation software should generate the output formats you need. Depending on your business, you may need PDF, webpage, Kindle, or presentation formats. Ideally, each of these will be generated by the same Word file, which will save you hours whenever there is an update to the underlying content or data. Imagine having the same content in both PDF and webpage formats; now imagine five numbers change; with the right automation solution, updating all five numbers in both documents takes a single click; with the wrong solution, you could be hunting down 5 to 10 individual numbers and changing them manually.

Your automation software should remove all three dimensions of work repetition. Repetitive tasks are the biggest cause of wasted time, lost potential, and poor employee morale at work. It is therefore vital to eliminate repetition every chance you get.

The first dimension of repetition is design.Your company likely has a style guide that specifies the colours, fonts, chart styles, and logos you should use. Because these rules are the same across dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of documents, there is no reason to apply the rules manually.

The second dimension of repetition is numerical data. It is common for the same numerical information to appear in multiple places in a document: for example, once in a chart, once in the main text, and once in the executive summary.

The third dimension of repetition is document structure. Many documents that professionals create have structural similarities, as well as differences. For example, a business valuation report would always include a description of the business being valued. Then, if the business has many branches, there will be a sentence on the location of each one; there will be a sentence describing the industry the business operates in; and there will be a sentence about recent acquisitions if applicable.

Why Has Automation in Word Become So Popular?

Millions of professionals automate documents in Microsoft Word because it requires little to no additional training and the results can be spectacular.

The value of your time, as a professional, is undoubtedly high. That means the time cost of you learning new software can easily outstrip the cost of the software itself. It is therefore important that the automation solution you choose is easy to learn. Because 95% of professionals are already familiar with Microsoft Word, it is the obvious choice for most professionals who want to adopt automation and work smarter, not harder.

Of course, automation is only worthwhile if the results impress your clients and colleagues. The results must be spectacular. Otherwise, why bother? Thankfully, when paired with the right 3rd party addins, Microsoft Word is the ideal platform for generating outstanding PDFs and webpages automatically. The result often looks like a professional designer created it, yet you don't need any design or code writing skills.

Epsillion Can Help

Whether you are at the beginning of your automation journey or looking to increase your use of automation, we can help!

Email us today at to start your Proof of Concept!

Ready Made Templates for Banks

12 May 2019

Are you an employee of a major bank? Have you come looking for ready-made templates for reports and presentations? You've come to the right place.

We've got templates for Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Nomura, and Royal Bank all ready to go. just

Email us at to use our ready-made pitchbook and report templates.

Review of PowerUser for Excel

7 April 2019

Making a map in Excel with PowerUser

PowerUser is a Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint addin. Both addins are packed with features, but this post highlights my two favourite features from the Excel addin.

Favourite feature #1: Maps

PowerUser's mapping feature is my favourite thing about the Excel addin. It is easy to create high quality maps, using your data and your company's colors.

The addin comes packed with:

Favourite feature #2: Unpivot a table

Unpivoting data is essential if you use both Excel and databases a lot.

Why? Well, in Excel, it's often convenient to arrange, view, and edit data in tabular format, with row and column labels. Databases just want everything in columns, and don't care for row labels. PowerUser's unpivot function therefore prepares your Excel tables for database work instantly. Very cool!

Making a map in Excel with PowerUser


If you'd like to try for yourself, download the PowerUser addin for Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.

Proud to Make's List of Best Document Management Software

25 August 2018

We are thrilled to make's list of Best Document Management Software. The reviewers note that:

Epsillion takes the stress out of formatting and can save businesses time spent formatting documents. A user can write word documents or create excel charts and Epsillion Publisher formats the data. By integrating with these programs, necessary updates don't require manual data changes -- the program takes care of that for the user.

We know that Document management is a competitive field. That's why we've worked tirelessly to bring our customers something truly unique, paired with world class customer service.

Being listed next to IBM, Canon, Sap, Xerox, and Oracle means we have a lot to live up to. We can't wait to help you automate your document creation and formatting processes -- get in touch today by emailing .

What to do if your Excel or Word addin disappears

29 July 2018

It's rare, but if your Epsillion tab in Excel or Word disappears without reason, reinstate it by going to File>Options>Add-ins>COM Add-ins>Go and ensuring that the Epsillion addin is ticked.

This video shows how to fix the problem step-by-step

What to do if your addin disappears from the Excel or Word ribbon

How we gave an Excel genius a 4.5kg Toblerone

16 June 2018

In May we had a blast at ModelOff's London Training camp.

The best part? Giving away our 4.5 kilogram Toblerone to Alex Edwards. He is an Excel modeeling guru and Director of Savvy Financial Modelling, a financial modelling consultancy based in central London, providing modelling services to global clients.

Alex won our 4.5kg Toblerone

Giving away a 4.5kg Toblerone chocolate bar

It was great to meet a range of ModelOff attendees and learn about what they do.

ModelOff Training Camp, May 2018

Explaining Epsillion's offer

Everybody has their own unique challenges in their jobs. We like to think we can help with a few of those challenges!

Chatting with Excel greats

Charts in Excel that update with new data automatically

21 April 2018

Recently one of our users at a Fortune 500 company presented us with a problem. How do you add new data to a spreadsheet so that the chart automatically updates with that new data?

Download the ready-made Excel solution

Excel with an auto updating chart

We did a little searching and found this fantastic TechRepublic article that demonstrates two ways to do this. If you're looking for this functionality, this article may be just what you need.

In this blog post, we will build on that article in two ways. The first is that we've posted an example Excel file with the more complicated, dynamic named ranges solution to our website, so you can download it. See the 'AllSeriesInChart' worksheet.

And second, we extended the solution in case you want to include just the five most recent data series. If you want the ten most recent data series (or any other number), that's easy. Just go to the Formulas tab, click Name Manager, and edit each 5 so it becomes a 10:

Change number of series you want to include in your chart

Download the ready-made Excel solution

Partnership with the Vancouver School of Economics Undergrad Society

17 March 2018

Logo of the University of British Columbia

We're thrilled to announce our partnership with the Vancouver School of Economics Undergraduate Society.

As part of the partnership, Vancouver School of Economics students get free access to Epsillion Publisher for non-commercial purposes. If you're a student, just register your @ubc email address as a Google account and sign into Epsillion Publisher with that Google account.

Special thanks to Brandon Southern and Prajju Mantha who organized the Partnership and got the word out to students.

Partnership with the University of Bath Economics Society

28 February 2018

Logo of the University of Bath

A new partnership with the University of Bath Economics Society

We're excited to announce a new partnership with the University of Bath Economics Society.

As part of the partnership, Bath students get free access to Epsillion Publisher for non-commercial purposes. Just register your email address as a Google account and sign into Epsillion Publisher with that Google account.

The Bath Economics Society (BEST) is the biggest society on the University of Bath campus with 500+ members. BEST runs academic and employability-focused events, as well as the BEST socials.

Economics panel event

To kick off the partnership, Epsillion had the pleasure of sponsoring and participating in a panel discussion this month. A big thanks to Luke Appleton and Sam Pokar for organising it, and to all the students who contributed to the discussion.

It was great to hear about Dan Berry's work in Behavioural Economics--it turns out the reciprocity is more powerful than fear of loss in convincing people to donate their organs if the occasion arises--and get James Pomeroy's thoughts on common misperceptions in economics.

Dan Berry speaking at University of Bath panel event James Pomeroy speaking at University of Bath panel event

Get Started With Epsillion: YouTube Tutorials

10 February 2018

We've got seven new YouTube totorial videos to help you get started with Epsillion Publisher.

Here is the breakdown of the videos:

  1. What you can expect to get by using Epsillion Publisher
  2. How to start a new Epsillion document
  3. Add an image to your document
  4. Add a an Excel chart
  5. Add a an Excel table
  6. Update all Excel data in your document with one click
  7. Add sentences to your document that change when your Excel data changes

Alternative to InDesign that doesn't lock you in

20 January 2018

InDesign Logo locked in, Epsillion logo freedom

What is content lock-in?

Content lock-in is when you create content that can only be viewed or used with the software that created it. Lock-in restricts your freedom to do what you want with your content, so more lock-in is unambiguously bad for you.

Who locks your content in?

A lot of people dislike Adobe InDesign because it has the strongest form of lock-in: it prevents you from even viewing your files if you are no longer an active subscriber. That makes it difficult to impossible to then extract your content and use it with other software.

Epsillion Publisher has no lock in. You write your content in Microsoft Word, and create charts and tables in Microsoft Excel, and you can always open those files even if you are not an active Epsillion Publisher or Microsoft subscriber. We think our customers should keep their work no matter how it was created.

Epsillion Publisher is, therefore, a good alternative to InDesign if you want to avoid lock-in.

The best automatic formatting software: UpSlide vs. Epsillion Publisher 2

12 January 2018

logos of UpSlide and Epsillion


If you are like most people, half of the time you spend making a report or presentation goes to low value tasks. Making the headings the right size. Setting chart colors to your company style. Copying and pasting the same table from Excel 17 times. Adjusting numbers in the text.

Thankfully there are tools that can help. For example, Upslide and Epsillion Publisher 2.

What is UpSlide?

UpSlide is a Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint addin. It has some great features, like automatic linking of Excel charts and tables, automatic formatting in your company’s style, and making waterfall charts with just a click or two.

When should I use UpSlide?

When should you use it? suppose you are working on a 20 slide PowerPoint presentation that is due this Friday. Each slide has either a table or a chart from Excel, and some text that talks about those tables and charts. As you work, you make changes to your date in Excel, then copy and paste the revised charts and tables into your PowerPoint presentation. At the same time, you are trying to use your corporate colors, use consistent font sizes, and update the numbers in the sentences that refer to the charts and tables.

UpSlide is perfect for this scenario. It costs $45 per month, with a minimum of five licenses, and for an extra fee can be customised to match your company’s style rules.

What is Epsillion Publisher 2?

Epsillion Publisher 2 is a Word and Excel addin. It adds desktop publishing powers to your standard Microsoft Office installation. Kind of like Adobe InDesign, but a lot easier to use.

When should I use Epsillion Publisher 2?

Picture yourself on Friday at 2pm. You are writing a document—perhaps about the local real estate market, an investment opportunity, or about the product you are advertising. Once finished, you want to publish it as a PDF, put it on your company’s blog, and send it as an email marketing campaign.

You’re sure you can finish the content for your document. But you will need to stay until 9pm to copy and paste the content into your blog and into your Mail Chimp email marketing platform. If you want to perfect the formatting of each element, you know you’ll be in the office until 10pm.

This is when you should use Epsillion Publisher 2. Write unformatted content in Microsoft Word, create unformatted tables and charts in Excel, and with a click or two you can let Epsillion Publisher take care of all of the formatting—in your company’s style—for the PDF, web, and email versions. Any time your data changes in Excel—including charts, tables, and numbers—a single click will update your PDF, web, and email versions.

Best of all, Epsillion Publisher 2 gives you brilliant typography. If you’ve always wanted your documents to look like they were professionally designed in Adobe InDesign, but don’t want the cost and delays that come with hiring a designer, Epsillion Publisher 2 is the perfect solution.

Finally, choose Epsillion Publisher if your company demands high security. All communication between your computers and our servers is encrypted using HTTPS.

Epsillion Publisher 2 costs $399 per year per user, and corporate templates start at $1,000.

The best publishing software: Adobe InDesign CC vs. QuarkXPress 2017 vs. Epsillion Publisher 2

11 January 2018

logos of InDesign, QuarkXPress, and Epsillion


Let's be honest: we are tiny bit biased toward thinking Epsillion Publisher 2 is the best publishing software available.

But, realistically, Epsillion Publisher 2 is not for everyone. We think Adobe InDesign CC and QuarkXPress 2017 are great tools and the best choice for some users. We know that everybody has different needs and skills, and the right software depends on the person and company.

Below, we set out the nine questions you should ask yourself to choose the best publishing software for you.

Executive summary

If you make dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of documents with the same style (same colors, logos, margins, and fonts) but with different content, have no design experience, and you want to publish to PDF, websites, and emails with a click or two, Epsillion Publisher 2 is right for you.

If every document you make has a different style (that is, a unique set of colors, margins, logos, and fonts), you are willing to hire a skilled designer, and your main priority is PDFs, then you should choose Adobe InDesign CC or QuarkXPress 2017.

Now to the nine questions you should ask yourself...

1. Do I need to comply with my company's brand and style rules?

Epsillion Publisher 2 has a hard-wired template behind the scenes. That guarantees that your documents will adhere to your company’s brand and style guidelines, with no effort on your part.

Adobe InDesign CC and QuarkXpress 2017 have hundreds of configurable options. That flexibility is great when you need it, but it means a design professional will need to take care to adhere to your corporate brand and style.

2. How much time can I spend on training?

Every program takes at least some practice to learn. Some are relatively simple, and take a few minutes to grasp, while others can take months or years.

Epsillion Publisher tends to take about 20 to 30 minutes to learn. Because you only need to worry about your content, while the style is pre-programmed in the background, there are only a handful of buttons you will need to get to grips with. All are content-related (like how to add a section of text). Once you learn those, you’re off to the races.

Adobe InDesign CC and QuarkXPress 2017 tend to require months if not years of experience to master hundreds of buttons and design options. This gives amazing power to seasoned professionals, who can create fantastic designs and adjust them on-the-fly. Even if you are simply adding content to a professional’s design, you will need to know something about the large panel of buttons in front of you. People without design experience are likely to experience steep learning curves with Adobe InDesign CC and QuarkXPress 2017.

3. How good are my design skills?

We’ve seen a lot of documents. Some are great, some terrible. To avoid terrible results, you need to match your experience to your tools.

Epsillion Publisher 2 requires no design experience. You can use Epsillion’s default template or buy custom templates -- either way, you don’t need a shred of design experience to benefit from great design. The downside is that you are restricted to the default template or the custom templates you buy, and you can’t make design adjustments on-the-fly.

Adobe InDesign CC and QuarkXPress 2017 are hugely powerful, have hundreds of configurable options, and let you can make style adjustments on the fly. Want to change the fonts and colors? No problem. However, the complexity of these programs means that you need at least a couple of years experience and knowledge of design principles to use them effectively. An experienced designer can do amazing things with InDesign and QuarkXPress. An inexperienced person, on the other hand, will likely get amateurish results.

4. How much can I spend on designers?

Designers are expensive. You want to save money. Your choice of publishing platform—and the type of publishing you do—has important implications for your company’s budget.

Epsillion Publisher 2 is cost effective if you use the same template—a predefined set of colors, margins, logos, and fonts—over and over, because you only have to hire a designer once (or never if you use Epsillion’s default template). Someone with no design experience can re-use Epsillion templates thousands or even millions of times with different content in different places. However, if every document you make looks wildly different from the last, Epsillion Publisher won’t save you any money.

Adobe InDesign CCis flexible and powerful, with hundreds of configurable features. That means you can make any type of document imaginable, but it requires someone with at least a couple of years of experience to access its full potential. People without design experience who try to adapt or extend a professionally designed template often get amateurish results.

QuarkXPress 2017, like Adobe InDesign CC, is very powerful and allows for endless customisation. If you need a high degree of style flexibility in every document, and want to oversee the changes in-house, this can be a great option.

5. How much do I want to spend on software?

The all-important bottom-line!

Epsillion Publisher 2 costs $399 per year as of 11 January 2018. Professionally programmed templates cost $1,000 and up.

Adobe InDesign CC costs $239 per year as of 11 January 2018. Hiring a professional designer to create documents for you will often cost around $300 to $500 per day.

QuarkXPress 2017 costs $990 as a one-time fee as of 11 January 2018. Hiring a professional designer to create documents for you will often cost around $300 to $500 per day.

6. Do I want to be able to make changes right up to the publishing deadline?

“Lead time” is the amount of time you need to leave between preparing your content and preparing the designed version of your document. Shorter lead time is always better. How many times have you sent a “final” version of your document to the printers only to find a typo later? With shorter lead times, you have less deadline pressure, and more time to fix typos and perfect your content.

Epsillion Publisher 2 lets you publish the same moment you finish your content, because everything about your document’s style is hard coded in advance. Finish writing, press ‘Make PDF’, and you’re ready to email, print, and publish your document. That means you can edit your content right up until your publishing deadline.

Adobe InDesign CC and QuarkXPress 2017 users should allow their designers at least a day or two to perfect the layout after finishing the content, but the actual amount will depend on the designer. Consult with him or her to find out how much lead time you need to give.

7. Do I want a cloud-based or local solution?

Cloud solutions often give you faster and more frequent updates, as well as live tips, but require internet connectivity. Local solutions don’t require internet connectivity, but tend to be less frequently updated.

Epsillion Publisher 2 is a local installation used to write documents with cloud computing used to make them print-ready. Epsillion auto-updates whenever there is a bug fix or improvement. Epsillion staff monitor the documents, and reach out if they notice any possible improvements. The downside is that users must be connected to the internet to generate PDFs and webpages.

Adobe InDesign CC is a local installation, with cloud storage, that auto-updates whenever there is a bug fix or improvement. You can also store your files online and share them with colleagues. You must connect to the internet at least once every few months to validate your license.

QuarkXPress 2017 is a purely local installation. Some people like the sense of control this gives them. There can be a sense of truly owning the software.

7. Do I want a subscription plan or one-time fee?

There are pros and cons to both subscriptions and one-time payments. Some people like spreading payments out over time, while some people like to absorb the full amount right away and be done with it.

Epsillion Publisher 2 is a subscription product. The software auto-updates, so you always get the best and latest version of the software.

Adobe InDesign CC is a subscription product. It auto-updates, so you always get the best and latest version of the software.

QuarkXPress 2017 is has a one-time fee. You have access to the version you bought forever. This is exactly what some users need. However, when a new version of QuarkXPress is released, or you buy a new computer that isn’t compatible with your version of QuarkXPress, you will need to pay to upgrade to the latest version. This may not be as bad as it sounds, because users of older versions are often given good deals on the upgrade.

8. Do I use a lot of Excel data?

If your document has many tables, charts, or numbers that come from Excel, you will need to update your document when your Excel data changes.

Epsillion Publisher 2 updates your document to reflect the latest Excel tables, charts, and numbers with a single click. You can also swap spreadsheets entirely to get the same effect.

Adobe Indesign CC can update Excel tables in your report. However, you will need to manually tell InDesign which row is your header if you add rows to your Excel file. Adobe InDesign cannot auto-update charts or numbers in the main text based on Excel.

QuarkXPress 2017 does not support auto-updating charts, tables, or numbers from Excel.

9. Do I want to write once and publish on multiple platforms?

If you publish to multiple formats, like PDF, the web, and emails, you are probably familiar with copying and pasting content from one program to another and reformatting the same images over and over. It’s 2018; we should be past that.

Epsillion Publisher 2 lets you publish to PDF, the web, and emails with a click or two. After you write your content once in Microsoft Word, you can generate PDFs, HTML, and CSS files with no additional editing. You can immediately upload the HTML and CSS files to the web. You can also run them through Premailer (a 5 second process) and then use them with email marketing software like MailChimp or Constant Contact.

Adobe InDesign CC is best at making PDFs. It can export HTML and CSS files, but in our experience these files have many errors. you can’t simply upload these to the web or email marketing software like MailChimp or Constant Contact without significant editing. You need knowledge of HTML and CSS to make them usable.

QuarkXPress 2017 lets you create PDFs, and you can create an HTML page by creating a duplicate of your layout and setting it to be a Digital Layout. This is not as streamlined as Epsillion Publisher, but it will get the job done.


Epsillion Publisher 2 is a good choice if you:

  1. make dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of documents with the same style (same colors, logos, margins, and fonts) but with different content
  2. have no design experience
  3. want to publish to PDF, websites, and emails with a click or two

Adobe InDesign CC is a good choice if you:

  1. want a different style (that is, a unique set of colors, margins, logos, and fonts) for every document
  2. are willing to hire a skilled designer
  3. mostly want to make PDFs

QuarkXPress 2017 is a good choice if you:

  1. want a similar feature set to Adobe InDesign CC
  2. Prefer a one-time purchase rather than a subscription plan


How Epsillion Publisher 2 Works

1 December 2017

What Epsillion Does

Epsillion is easy-to-use software that helps you make amazing reports. By using Epsillion, you can:

  1. Write plain text in Microsoft Word, then get beautifully formatted PDFs and HTML output
  2. Update all Excel charts and tables in your reports with a single click

Epsillion Has a Simple User Interface

Epsillion is really easy to use. Its simple graphical user interface is shown below, along with the Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel plugins.

To Write a Report, Just Open Word

To create content, just open up Microsoft Word. Then, using the Epsillion addin in the Word ribbon, add a columns container, choose the number of columns (try 1, 2, 3, or even "0.66, 0.33"). If you want to add a chart or table, just select the chart or table from the addin's drop down menus.

To Add Charts and Tables, Open Excel

One thing that makes Epsillion special is its ability to incorporate Excel content easily. Simply make a chart or table in Excel, use the upload button in the addin, then you will have access to your chart or table in through the Word ribbon. Any time you update your Excel spreadsheet and press upload, all of your report's charts and tables will be updated automatically.

Publish Everywhere

To make your PDF, just click "Make PDF" in the Epsillion graphical user interface, Microsoft Word addin, or Excel addin. To get HTML output just click "Make HTML" in the Epsillion graphical user interface, and to get Word output just click "Make Word" in the graphical user interface.