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Answer Intake Overview

At its root, an Answer Intake is a "stand-alone" component not associated with any HotDocs template. An answer intake is more than a component file however, and acts much like a template. As with a template, you create an answer intake from Workspace Explorer, and Workplace Explorer displays the answer intakes along with any other templates you create. Just as with a template's component file, you create an answer intake to store variables from which HotDocs generates an interview. Answer intakes have a .HDINT file name extension.

You often use answer intakes to gather common information (such as court, attorney, or client information).


An answer intake is similar to a template in that you use it to gather information, unlike a template however there doesn't have to be a document output at the end. You focus, instead, on creating the interview that a user enters their information into and you generate from this an answer file which you can then use with multiple other templates, or even as an answer source.

Common Uses for Answer Intakes

Unlike with a template, you do not normally assemble a completed document from an answer intake, rather you use an answer intake to generate a master interview.

Master Interviews

Another common use for an answer intake, is as a "master interview" that can assemble multiple templates using the ASSEMBLE instruction. In this case, the user only needs to answer the questions in a single interview and HotDocs can use their answers to create multiple output documents. For example, the information a new employee supplies to a master interview could be used to generate their employment contract, insurance documents, benefits outline etc.

Creating and Editing an Answer Intake

The above image shows a possible workflow for creating an answer intake:

  1. Create a new answer intake.
  2. Create the variables you need to collect answers for.
  3. Create dialogs and group the variables into useful sets.
  4. Create the custom interview computation to display the dialogs in a useful order.

At each stage of this workflow you can use HotDocs script to make your answer intake interview dynamic. For example, you can choose to hide some variables until a condition has been met in the interview or only ask certain dialogs depending on what choices the user has made.

Example of a Custom Interview computation

After you have used the Component Studio to group your variables into dialogs you can create a very basic custom interview computation to ask them in the order you choose. If you have three dialogs; EmployeeInformation, JobDetails, and BenefitDetails your computation could look like this:

ASK EmployeeInformation


ASK JobDetails


ASK BenefitDetails

The answer intake displays these three dialogs to the user in the order listed.

Perhaps you only want the user to answer the questions on the BenefitDetails details dialog if they have selected that the job details contain a benefits package by choosing true in a true/false variable called BenefitsPackage. Then the computation could look like this:

ASK EmployeeInformation


ASK JobDetails


IF BenefitsPackage


ASK BenefitDetails



The interview displays the first two dialogs in order and, if BenefitsPackage is answered as true in the second dialog, HotDocs displays the BenefitDetails dialog.