Introduction: Use Clauses and Clause Libraries

A clause is a HotDocs component that contains text. When you create clauses, you are, in essence, creating smaller templates that can be added to one main document. Clauses can contain text as well as HotDocs components (such as variables, instructions, and so forth).

You can insert a clause component directly into a template using an INSERT or an INSERT IF instruction, or you can add clauses to a clause library so a user can select them for insertion into an assembled document.


When you insert a clause into a template, you are actually working with three different parts of the clause—the clause field, the clause component, and the clause text:

  • Clause field: This is the merge field that inserts the clause text into the assembled document. You can control whether the clause is inserted automatically, or whether the clause is inserted based on certain conditions being met. When you create a clause at the clause library, there is no clause field associated with the clause.
  • Clause component: This is the clause itself. It includes component properties, such as a prompt and resource information.
  • Clause text: This is the text you want inserted into the assembled document. The clause text can also contain HotDocs components, such as variables, dialogs, and instructions, which are all be processed during assembly.

Clause Libraries

Like a template library, a clause library is a collection of clauses. Grouping clauses in a library allows users to select, organize, and insert any number of clauses into the document. HotDocs then proceeds to prompt users for any variables contained in the clauses.

You can create clauses and clause libraries at two places: a HotDocs library and a template. Each location causes the clause library to function a little differently:

  • A clause library assembled from a HotDocs library allows users to select clauses to insert into any text document. They can select the clause library first at the template library and assemble a document using clauses from it, or they can assemble a document and then add clauses from the library to the document after assembly.
  • A clause library assembled in a template allows users to select which clauses they want to insert at that specific point in the assembled document.

For additional information on the underlying functionality of clauses, see Understand How Clauses Work.