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Fixed Table Component Overview

A Fixed Table component is a component that enables you to create rows and columns of known data that determine the options your template user can choose from to answer an interview question; you present this choice using a selection variable, which also enables you to specify the value HotDocs uses to represent your user's answer in the assembled document. For example, you might want to ask your template user their gender, and have their selection provide the appropriate text in the final assembled document (e.g., a choice of Male yields "his account" while a choice of Female yields "her account").


Fixed Table components enable you to create and store data that lends itself to organization in a tabular format, then to present a choice of that data to your template user through a selection variable. Fixed Table components consist of as many columns and rows you need, with the columns being used to specify the type of values (e.g., text, number, date, etc.) and the rows being used to contain the values themselves. Fixed Tables also have a requirement that you choose at least one column in the table to be a key. The key column in the Fixed Table serves two purposes:

  1. The key determines which column contains the default values you want to present as options in an interview and the values that you want in your assembled document
  2. The key identifies the column that contains unique values, i.e., that all of the values in a given row of the key column are unique from the values in all other rows in your table

While you can set multiple columns as keys (and in some cases, may be forced to), you should try to select a single key wherever possible, since this will make it easier for you when working with selection variables.

Common Tasks

Among others, Fixed Table components enable you to perform the following common tasks:


You create Fixed Table components for your template whenever the need to present your template users with a list of options arises. You can open the Fixed Table Component Editor from Component Studio by creating or selecting an existing Fixed Table component.

When you create your Fixed Table component, you name your columns, specify the type of data you want each column to contain, and lastly, designate one or more columns as keys. You then add the data you want in each row of your table. When you finish defining your table, you need to create a Selection variable, since this is the only means for accessing the data in your Fixed Table component.


When you first create a Fixed Table component, HotDocs first places focus the Column tab of the Fixed Table Component Editor. This enables you to define the columns you want your Fixed Table component to contain. To define your Fixed Table component, you need to provide the following for each column:

  • Name
  • Type – you choose one of the following types from the drop-down:
    • Text
    • Number
    • Date
    • True/False)
  • Key  – This designates the column as what can uniquely identify each row so you can ensure that each row contains data that is unique

Data Rows

After defining at least one column name and type, you can enter data into the rows of the fixed table component. To enter data into the rows, you use the Data tab of the Fixed Table Component Editor. The Data tab enables you to:

  • Add rows of data for the defined columns
  • Paste data from another application into the table
  • Copy the data from the table and paste it into another application
  • Delete, Insert, and reorder the data rows
  • Add, Remove, and Insert a new column to the table

Data rows also have the following rules:

  • The value in each data row must match the type designated for the column, in the format of a HotDocs Literal. For example, you enter a value in a column with the type Date as 14 APR 2020
  • Data in Key columns must be unique (the column cannot contain identical values), cannot be left blank, and cannot contain placeholder fields

Copy and Paste Table Data

Using the copy and paste commands available to you, Author enables you to do the following:

  • Copy data from another application (such as Microsoft Excel) and paste it into tables in Author
  • Using the Copy Table button, copy the entire fixed table to the clipboard so that you can paste the data into other columns on the same fixed table, other tables, or to other applications

For example, if you have an Excel spreadsheet that contains the columns and rows of data that you want to use in your Fixed table component, you can select as little or as much of that data as you need press CTRL+C to copy that data to the clipboard, click the location in the Fixed Table component where you'd like the data, and press the keyboard shortcut CTRL+V to paste it. Also, if you have data in a fixed table that you want to put into other tables (both inside and outside of Author) you can use the Copy Table button in the Fixed Table component editor.

When you copy and paste data, be aware of the following:

  • If the content you paste into a Fixed Table component has more columns of data than you have defined in your table, the "excess" content will be ignored
  • If the content you paste has more rows than you have defined in your Fixed Table component, Author will add new rows to accommodate the additional data
  • You can potentially overwrite data you already have content in your Fixed Table component
  • If you paste content using the right-click menu (as opposed to the CTRL+V keyboard shortcut) all of the content on the clipboard will be copied into the one cell you clicked to bring up the menu