HotDocs Field Editor

The HotDocs Field Editor is a pane the HotDocs Author plug-in adds to Microsoft Word to enable you to add HotDocs fields to a HotDocs template and then edit the properties within each field. When you edit the field properties using the HotDocs Field Editor, HotDocs saves your changes as you make them. There are two types of properties you can edit within a given field:

A blue bar appears to the left of properties you edit that affect the contents of a component file. Once you have entered a valid component name, you can edit any such properties by clicking the Edit icon to the right – as long as you didn't first open Component Studio from the Workspace Explorer. In that case, clicking the Edit button opens a read-only copy of that component editor where the values are grayed out and not editable. If this happens, close Component Studio and the component editor, then reopen the component editor by clicking the Edit icon.

The Field Editor is available when editing a DOCX template in Microsoft Word, a plain text template in Composer, or in Component Studio (when you want to add a placeholder field to a component).

Common Tasks

Among others, the Field Editor enables you to perform the following common tasks:

Microsoft Word does not scan HotDocs field names to check for spelling errors.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The Field Editor's interface includes keyboard shortcuts to enable you to work more rapidly than you can by clicking with a mouse.

Action and Field Type Interfaces

To enable you complete these tasks, the Field Editor presents one of two separate interfaces at the top of the field editor:

Interface Name Access Method
Action Appears when you select any part of the template text that is not already a HotDocs Field.
Field Type Appears when you select any part of an existing HotDocs field.

Action Boxes

To add a field or pair of fields into the template, select one of the following actions:

Subheaders and some actions are only visible when you click the More button at the bottom right of the Action menu.

Subheader Action What it Does
Content Placeholders   Displays the Placeholder Type pane so you can choose the kind of content you want to create a placeholder for.


Enables you to choose the variable placeholder field type, which determines the kind of answers you can gather from your template users in a HotDocs interview. You can edit the field properties when you select from the following variable types:

External Files

Enables you to browse to, and choose the templates or image files you want HotDocs to embed in your current template during assembly:

Computed Values

Enables you to choose the kind of calculation you want HotDocs to perform during assembly so it can make that calculation and place the resulting value into the space saved by the placeholder field when assembling the document:

Regions and Rules Create a Conditional Region Displays the Select a condition type pane so you can choose what type of condition you want to create that needs to be met in the interview before this region of the template is placed into the assembled document. Variables

Computed Values

  Modify a Conditional Region

Only appears when you place your cursor inside an existing conditional region.

Displays the editor for modifying the conditional region by adding ELSE or ELSE IF fields. During document assembly, an ELSE or ELSE IF field causes HotDocs to add alternative regions of text to the assembled document if the first condition isn't met.
  Create a Repeated Region Displays the editor for creating a repeated region; this enables your template users to repeat that region one or more times during the interview.
  Create a punctuated list Displays the editor for adding list marker fields.
  Add formatting markers Displays the editor for adding formatting marker fields.
Other Operations Place a Dialog in the Interview Displays the editor for adding a dialog to the interview during assembly.
  Assemble Another Template Displays the editor for assembling another template directly after this assembly.
  Add a punctuation marker Displays the editor for adding punctation marker fields.
  Change the Formatting Language Displays the editor for adding a LANGUAGE instruction to the template.

Field Type Interface

When you select any existing placeholder field in a HotDocs template, the Field Type interface appears to help you edit an existing placeholder or instruction field. The interface presents you with the field type and then displays the existing fields details for editing.

Elements What it Does
Field Type Displays the type of HotDocs field you added previously.

Except in the case of an IF instruction field, the Field Type pane is a static label.

  • Placeholder – Indicates that you previously added a placeholder field
    • Placeholder Type – Displays the type of component you point to with that field.
  • IF instruction – When you select between and the IF field and the END IF field, and then click Modify a Conditional Region, the Field Type pane becomes an option list that enables you to choose between:
    • ELSE IF instruction – The Field Type pane becomes an option list that enables you to change to an ELSE instruction
    • ELSE instruction – The Field Type pane becomes an option list that enables you to change to an ELSE IF instruction
  • END IF instruction – When you click Modify, you can choose to add an ELSE IF or ELSE instruction just before the END IF
  • REPEAT instruction
  • END Repeat instruction
  • Other Expression – Indicates an expression field not currently recognized by the Field Editor

Errors and Auxiliary Templates Interfaces

If your template contains an error, an Errors interface appears at the bottom of the HotDocs Field Editor, otherwise, the Errors interface remains hidden.

Elements What it Does
Inconsistent Field Appearance Notification (Only appears when applicable) Whenever HotDocs detects an invalid field modification, a red icon next to the text Inconsistent Field Appearance alerts you to the error. The Update button enables you to correct the error.
Errors list
(Only appears when applicable)
  • Displays a slowly flashing red icon on the far left that alerts you to the presence of errors in your template
  • Next to the title, displays the number of errors in the template, e.g., Errors (3)
  • Clicking the title bar displays or hides the list of all the errors found in the current template
  • Clicking an error moves focus to the element in your template that contains the error

If your template uses any auxiliary templates, an Auxiliary Template interface appears at the bottom of the HotDocs Field Editor, otherwise the interface remains hidden.

Elements What it Does
Auxiliary Templates
(Only appears when applicable.) Displays the number of auxiliary templates the currently selected template uses to assemble properly. Clicking Auxiliary Templates toggles the list of templates the current template references using either:

The list displays the current template's auxiliary templates and a list of any auxiliary templates these may use. Double-clicking an auxiliary template's name selects the template.

If any of the auxiliary templates contain an error, the title bar displays a red error icon overlaying the auxiliary template icon. In addition, individual auxiliary templates containing an error display a small red exclamation mark. Clicking an error icon opens the auxiliary template that contains the error and places focus on the element in the template that contains the error.