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Table Variable Editor

You use the Table Variable Editor in Component Studio to designate column names and the type of data each column can contain in a Table variable. (It is during the interview that your template user adds the actual contents to each row in your Table variable.)

If you plan to use your Table variable as an Option Source for a Selection variable, you can also specify one column as a Key (or row identifier) to enable HotDocs to replace a placeholder field with the data from that column when assembling a document. (It is the value of that column in an individual row that ensures the data in each row is unique).

If you designate more than one column as a key, you must use a dot operator to specify the value you want HotDocs to replace the placeholder field with.

Common Tasks

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

Component Toolbar

Basic component actions appear in the component toolbar, above the component properties.

Button What it Does
Test Displays the selected component in the HotDocs Test Browser.
Rename Displays the Rename Component dialog box that enables you to rename your component and perform other rename-related options.

The Rename button is not available from the pop-up editor (the editor invoked from the Field Editor).

Duplicate Displays the Duplicate Components dialog box that enables you to create a copy of this component in the component file.
Tools Shows or hides the Tools pane on the right.
Delete Displays the Delete Component dialog box that enables you to delete the component. You can also view a list of templates or components that currently reference the selected component and you may have to fix after deletion.

Component Identity Property

Just below the component toolbar, or you can see and edit the Name property HotDocs uses to identify this variable.

Property Name What it Does
Name Enables you to view and (sometimes) edit the name of your component. You can only edit the Name property if no other component or template references this component; otherwise, you cannot directly edit the Name component. Instead, you need to click the Rename button in the component tool bar.

Columns Tab

The Columns tab enables you to create and manage the columns that determine the type of data you can add to the rows in your Table Variable:

Property Name What it Does
Key Enables you to select which column HotDocs draws upon when replacing a placeholder field with the value corresponding to option a user chooses from a Selection variable during the interview.
Type Enables you to declare the type of data each column can hold.
Name Enables you name the various columns you add to your Table variable.
Optional Enables you to select a column that is able to have empty rows of data.
Insert Row Above button Enables you to insert a new row just above your current selection.
Delete Row button Deletes the row containing your current selection.
Up Arrow button Moves the currently selected row up.
Down Arrow button Moves the currently selected row down.

Display Tab

The Display tab provides you with properties that enable you to change how a component's answer field appears during the interview:

Property Name What it Does
Prompt Enables you to provide more instructive text for helping a user answer a question during the interview. The text you add here appears in the interview in place of any text you add in the Title property. Prompts can also contain fields you edit from the Field Editor tab in the Selection Variable editor.

Provides you with options for setting the width of a Table variable's answer control:

  • Full – sets the width of the Table variable's answer control to the full space available in the interview
  • Exactly – sets the width of the Multi Select variable's answer control to the exact number of units you specify (each unit is about equal to the width of the character 5)
Title If a component appears in a default dialog, enables you to give your component a title that appears in the interview outline and in the dialog title bar. If the component appears in a , the title only appears when you don't provide text in the Prompt property.

Behavior Tab

The Behavior tab provides you with options that enable you to change how a component behaves during the interview and assembly:

Property Name How you accomplish it
Ask automatically Causes HotDocs to ask the variable in an interview as long as the following conditions are also true:
  • The answer for the variable is used within the template (for example, tested in an IF instruction or referenced in a field that places a user's answer into the text of the final document during assembly)
  • The variable has been asked before in the interview

If you previously linked the variable to a dialog, Ask automatically also causes HotDocs to ask that dialog within the interview.

When you clear this option, HotDocs prevents the variable question from appearing in an interview unless the variable is used in a dialog that is specifically asked.

Save answer Enables you to cause HotDocs to store the answer in the answer file. You can uncheck this box when you only need the answer to provide a value to a local variable and do not want HotDocs to store it for later reuse.
Default format Enables you to set the format for every placeholder field that references this component throughout the template. The column you select as your key determines the types formats allowed for a component. Setting a format enables you to define the pattern HotDocs uses to format answers or other values in assembled documents; for example, you can use the 'LIKE THIS' text format to capitalize all letters in a Text variable answer.

Setting a default format does not override any formats you have already (or will) set for an individual placeholder field using the HotDocs Field Editor.

Notes Tab

To provide you a quick way to know if this tab contains any content, you can see a + symbol on the tab if there is a note.

As you create components, you may want to include notes to remind yourself of decisions you made when creating the component. For example, maybe you need to remember information about restrictions you applied to a Number variable, or remind yourself of the purpose of the component in the template.

The notes tab enables you to type any notes you want about the component and its role in the template.

This information is not visible in the interview; it is for the author’s reference only.

Additional Information Expander

The Additional information expander, located at the bottom of the component editor, enables you to open the additional information pane so you can edit the additional information property:

Property Name Explanation
Additional information Enables you to provide supplemental help text (or an external URL) to help your template users better understand how to answer a question in an interview. Template users access this information by viewing the additional information pane in the interview interface.
  • Text – enables you to type helpful information in the text box which is displayed in the additional information pane in the interview

You can use HTML and CSS in the text box to format the text that displays in the additional information pane in the interview. As such, if you want to preserve angle brackets in your text (for example, <Your Name>) you must use the codes &lt; and &gt; to insert the brackets (for example, &lt;Your Name&gt;).

  • URL – enables you to type a URL for a website in the text box (be sure to include the http:// protocol in your link). This link is displayed in the additional information pane in the interview.

To provide you a quick way to know if this pane contains any content, the content (if any) is summarized to the right of the pane's label.

Tools Pane

On the right side of the component editor you can view a tools pane containing various the Used In and Field Editor (when appropriate) tabs for this component.

Use the Tools button on the Component toolbar to show or hide the tools pane.

Info Tab

When you select a component in the Components column of Component Studio, you can look at the Info tab on the far right of the component editor to see the type of the currently selected component, as well as a list of other components or templates (if there are any) that use the component you select.

Element What it Does
Type Displays the type of the component you selected in the Components column.
Used in Displays a list of other components or templates (if there are any) that use the component you select. Double-clicking an item in the Used In section opens that item for editing, and places focus on the first reference to the component you selected in the Components column.


Field Editor Tab

When you select a text-based component property that can contain fields, such as a prompt for a variable or a cell in a Fixed Table, the Field Editor tab appears in the Tools panel. Any HotDocs fields you add to the text that appear in an interview. When a template user provides an answer for that placeholder field in the interview, the answer appears in the component's interview display text.

The Field Editor works in this context just as it does in a DOCX template or in HotDocs Composer.

If you use a placeholder field in a component's interview display text, you must ensure the template user provides an answer for that placeholder before the interview displays the component containing the placeholder field.