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User Context Data Overview

User context data are answers Advance can automatically pass into an interview based on the user's details in the Advance site.

For example, user context data enables an interview to show or hide questions conditionally depending on the user's work group.


There are two main applications for user context data: reusing data already held by Advance, and tailoring an interview based on a user's permissions within Advance.

Users of Advance have already entered details, such as their first name, last name and email address. User context data retrieves this information and avoids the need to reenter such data into an interview. This can also be done with client interviews. Furthermore, Advance holds information relating to a user within Advance, for example which work group a user belongs to, and on the interview's context within Advance, such as whether the interview is a client interview.

When an interview is opened, Advance passes the user context data in, pre-populating the answer set and controlling how the interview behaves.

Template authors can use context data, such as whether the interview is a client interview or which work group a user belongs to, to tailor a template's interview to a user, for example by showing conditional sections or assembling auxiliary templates.


The template author, working in HotDocs Author version 1.78 or later, creates a template which uses the user context variables. These must match the name and variable type of the user context variables provided. The template author can add additional functionality, such as conditional regions, to the template as desired. When a user opens an interview for the template in Advance, Advance overlays the user context data as answers to the variables. If configured in the template, Advance can use these answers to present a tailored interview, for example showing conditional sets of questions or assembling auxiliary templates.

Advance ensures only the data asked for in the template's interview is imported. This helps reduce file size and avoids unnecessary data being retained.

If you use the Custom Interview event web hook to connect to an external data source, Advance sends user context data in the request.

Creating a Template Using User Context Variables

To use the user context data, you must have a template using the available user context variables. The following sections of the HotDocs Author documentation may help you create a template with user context variables:

Common Reference Topics

Among others, the following reference topics may relate to this conceptual area: