HotDocs Advance WorkflowUpload a template Manage user access to templates Work items Download assembled documents

Work Items Overview

To download an assembled document, you must first create a work item.

A work item is a named location in HotDocs Advance where you choose a template, enter and edit answer data, and assemble documents from that template and answer data.

For example, if a lawyer needs to create a will for a client, they would create a new work item for their client using their will template. The choice of template, answer data from the interview, and any assembled documents are stored together as a work item. You can create multiple documents from a single work item. From the work item, the lawyer can change the answers used to assemble the document and download the assembled document.


Depending on the sector in which you work, you may know a work item as a "matter", "claim", "document request" or another term. Regardless, the idea of a distinct piece of work for a client remains the same.

In Advance, a work item stores:

  • Information on the last editor of the work item and when they edited it.
  • Information on the work item creator and when they created it.
  • The owner of the work item.
  • The privacy status of the work item.
  • The choice of template used to generate the assemble document.
  • Any assembled documents generated.
  • Answer data provided during the interview.
  • Previous versions of the work item.
  • Workflow status

Common Tasks

Among others, the work items feature enables you to perform the following common tasks:


Before you open an interview for a template you first create and name a work item. This groups the data and the assembled documents together, enabling you to access the work as a whole if you need to revisit it. Once you have completed the interview, you can download the assembled document. If required, you can later access the work item, open the interview, edit the data and download an updated document. You can set a work item to private or accessible within your work group for collaboration. You can copy a work item and reuse the answer data.

Using Work Items

When you log in to Advance, you see Work groups in the Work groups section on the home page. Click on a work group to access the work items area. From there you can create a new work item and view a table containing existing work items in that work group, sorted by the most recently updated. You can also view the work item and download any assembled documents created for the work item. You can collaborate on work items with other members of your work group or set a work item as private.

If you are a Site Administrator you can see all of the work items created by your template users.

Work Item Details Pane

Each work item has a details pane that contains the following information:

  • A list of documents assembled for the work item
  • The date and time a user last updated the work item
  • The date and time a user created the work item
  • The name of the user that created the work item
  • The owner of the work item
  • The privacy status of the work item
  • The template used by the work item

You access the details pane by selecting a work group from the menu and clicking the work item name in the work items list.

Hidden Assembled Documents and Answer Files

Integration Administrators can specify whether or not documents and answer files are hidden when assembled. If you complete an interview and your assembled documents or answer files do not display in the work item details pane, they may have been hidden by your administrator.

Note: If you think your assembled documents or answer files are hidden in error, please contact your Integration Administrator.

Searching and Filtering Work Items

When you view a list of work items, you can can use the search bar to search for the name of work items. You can also filter work items on the Last Updated Date using a date range.

Work Item Ownership

Each work item is assigned an owner, by default the creator of the work item. The owner has the ability to rename the work item and edit the privacy settings. If a work item is set to private, it will only be visible to the owner and administrators. You can change the owner of a work item.

Private Work Items

When you create a work item, you can choose the privacy settings. By default, a work item is Private: it is visible only to the work item's owner and administrators. This is useful if you are working on confidential documents. You can also choose to share an existing work item which you own or administrate. You can share a work item either with all users of the work group or with specific members you select.

'New' Work Items

External systems can add new work items to your works items list. For example, another system run by your organization might create a work item for a contract you need to review. If an external system has created a work item for you to use, you will see a blue New icon next to the work item in the work items list. Work items with this icon have not yet been updated by you and require attention. The New icon disappears when you update the work item.

Previous Versions

Advance stores previous versions of work items for you to reference and download. If this feature is activated in your Advance site, you can view details and download documents for the previous 5 versions of the work item. You cannot open an interview for or edit previous versions.

Ownership of Interviews

When a work item is private, only the work item owner and Site Administrators can open and complete interviews. If you choose to share your work item, users can then open and complete interviews. 

If your work item is public, you can collaborate with other users on interviews. This is useful as it enables you to combine your answers with other users to generate assembled documents. For example, you might need another user to enter user specific data into your interview. In this case, you can open a new interview, save your changes, and exit the interview page. This enables the other user to resume and complete the interview with their answers.

Site Administrators can resume an interview that another user is actively editing. 

If you open an interview which another user is actively editing, you may lose data due to unsynchronized changes.

Template Titles in Work Items

Each work item displays the title of the HotDocs template used to create the work item, under the Template heading in the work items list and work item details pane. This title reflects the title of the template as it appeared when the work item was last updated.

If the title of the template changes, the work item will not display the new template title until the work item is updated.

Template Title Update Example

The following example sequence of steps explains when Advance updates a work item template title:

  1. A Template User creates a new work item using a template titled Employment Contract.
  2. The work item details pane displays the template title Employment Contract.
  3. An Author uploads an updated version of the template, with a changed title: Employee Agreement.
  4. The work item details pane still displays the Employment Contract template title.
  5. A Template User updates the work item, e.g. by reloading and completing an interview for the work item.
  6. The work item details pane now displays the new template title, Employee Agreement.