A format is a variable or field property you set 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 name, the 'nine' number format to spell out a numeral, or the pattern 'dd/mm/yyyy' to format a date answer as text.
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There are several types of formats: Text Formats, Number Formats, Date Formats, True/False Formats, and List Formats. With the exception of list formats, the type of format you can set applies to a corresponding type of variable (you can set a text format for a text variable, a number format for a number variable, etc.). When you set the format property for a placeholder field, the format's pattern controls how an interview's answer is displayed in the assembled document, regardless of how the template user originally typed the answer. Although you most frequently use formats to format answers from HotDocs interviews, you can also use formats for text that comes from answer sources, computations, and other expressions. You can set a format in one of two ways; for a specific instance of a placeholder field in a template or as a default format for a component (and therefore applied to every instance where placeholder field references that component throughout the template). To assist you in using them, HotDocs provides a set of commonly used formats when you install Author (which you can manage in Workspace Explorer > Options > My Formats). Should you need a format not included in the commonly used formats, you can also create your own custom format.
HotDocs stores formats on your computer in the Windows Registry, not your component file. If you create any custom formats, HotDocs does not transfer them if you move your template to another computer.
Among others, formats enable you to perform the following common tasks:
The first step in using formats is to create the variable you want to format (or locate the variable you want to format that you previously created). After creating the variable, the next step is to figure out if you want to format a single instance of the placeholder field that references the variable, or if you want to format every placeholder field that references that variable throughout the template. If you need to format a specific instance of a placeholder field, you can do so by selecting the placeholder field in the body of the template, and setting the format using the HotDocs Field Editor. If you need to format every instance of placeholder field throughout the template, you can do by setting a default format for the component in the Behavior tab of Component Studio.
Should you need to format an answer using a different pattern than those defined by the commonly used formats, you can create your own custom format. For example, you may need to do something irregular for a specific document such as capitalize every letter of just the last name. To achieve this you can type the pattern Like THIS into the Format Box in the Field Properties box of the HotDocs Field Editor. If you would like to add a custom format to your My Formats list (and be able to use it for other variables), you can right-click anywhere on the Format text box and select Add to My Formats.
You can preview a variable's formatting using the test functionality.
Default formats set for a variable will not format the variable's answer if the that variable is used in a computation or other expression. For example, if you create a computation where you want the result of two numbers added together (e.g. "purchase price" and "fees"), even though you set the default format to NINE for both variables, your computed value will not be formatted in all caps and spelled out in text. Instead, you need to format the placeholder field for the computation itself.
You can use text formats to format placeholder fields that reference text variables, placeholder fields that reference a multi select variable, and computations in which you are working with text. Specifically, you use text formats to define how text (such as names) should be formatted, regardless of how the template user typed the text in the interview. For example, you can use the text format Like This to enable a name typed using lower casing (such as marianne stevens) in an interview to display with the first letter of each word upper-cased in the assembled document (e.g. Marianne Stevens).
HotDocs Author includes the following commonly used text formats, to which you can add your own:
|Text Format||Template User's Answer||How Answer is Formatted in Document|
|LIKE THIS||Marianne Stevens||MARIANNE STEVENS|
|Like This||Marianne Stevens||Marianne Stevens|
|Like this||Marianne Stevens||Marianne stevens|
|like this||Marianne Stevens||marianne stevens|
|Like a This||our client, Marianne Stevens, is the Plaintiff in the case||Our client, Marianne Stevens, is the Plaintiff in the case|
You can use number formats to format placeholder fields that reference number variables and computations in which you are working with numbers. Specifically, you use number formats to define how numbers should be formatted, regardless of how the template user typed the number in the interview. For example, you can use the number format nine to enable a number typed as a numeral (such as 9) in an interview to display as text in the assembled document (e.g. nine).
HotDocs Author includes the following commonly used number formats, to which you can add your own:
|Number Format||How Answer is Recorded During Interview||How Answer is Formatted in Document|
1234.50 (requires decimal places property set to 2)
|9 1/8||2.3||2 1/4|
|one thousand two hundred seventy-eight
|ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY-EIGHT
|ninth||782||seven hundred eighty-second|
|Nine Dollars and Twelve Cents||5.36||Five Dollars and Thirty-Six Cents|
|one thousand two hundred seventy-eight
|one thousand two hundred seventy-eight
Many of these formats can change depending on whether you assign decimal places to the answer. How many decimal places you assign also affects the outcome.
Our current Spanish Language module uses long scale numbering. There is currently no way to change from long scale to short scale using a formatting property.
You can use date formats to format placeholder fields that reference date variables. Specifically, you use date formats to define how calendar dates should be formatted, regardless of how the template user typed or selected the date in the interview. For example, you can use the date format Mmmm d, yyyy to enable a date typed nov 6 2000 in an interview to display as November 6, 2000 in the assembled document.
HotDocs Author includes the following commonly used date formats, to which you can add your own:
|Date Format||Template User's Answer||How Answer is Formatted in Document|
|Mmmm d, yyyy||nov 6, 2000||November 6, 2000|
|d Mmmm yyyy||November 6, 2000||6 November 2000|
|DD MMM YYYY||November 6, 2000||6 NOV 2000|
|m/d/yyyy||November 6, 2000||11/6/2000|
|mm/dd/yyyy||November 6, 2000||11/06/2000|
|dth day of Mmmm, yyyy||November 6, 2000||6th day of November, 2000|
|Dy day of Mmmm, yyyy||November 6, 2000||Sixth day of November, 2000|
|Mmmm Dy, Yr||November 6, 2000||November Sixth, Two Thousand|
|Mmmm dth||November 6, 2000||November 6th|
|Dddd||November 6, 2000||Monday|
|Dddd, Mmmm d, yyyy||November 6, 2000||Monday, November 6, 2000|
If you need a date format other than the commonly used ones listed above, see Custom Date Formats.
You can use True/False formats to format placeholder fields that reference True/False variables. Specifically, you can use true/false formats to define how the answers to yes or no questions should be formatted, even though the template user can only choose from yes or no as their answer in the interview. For example, you can enable a selection of Yes in an interview to display as true and No to display as false (or any other word or phrase you specify in a custom true/false format) in the assembled document.
HotDocs Author includes the following commonly used true/false formats, to which you can add your own:
|True/False Format||Template User's Answer||How Answer is Formatted in Document|
You can use list formats to format placeholder fields that reference a Multi Select variable, a Table variable using an expression, or a list of answers a repeated dialog gathers in an interview. Specifically, you can use list formats to define how the answers to interview questions that enable you to provide a list of answers should be formatted, regardless of the formatting of the individual answers. For example, assume you have a question in an interview that presents a list of options your template user can choose from (for example, a list of fruits) and your template user chooses three of their favorites. You can use the list format a, b, and c to enable a template user's selection (or entry) of apples bananas cherries in an interview to display as apples, bananas, and cherries in the assembled document.
HotDocs Author includes the following commonly used list formats, to which you can add your own:
|List Format||How TWO Answers are formatted in Document||How THREE Answers are formatted in Document|
|a, b and c||apples and bananas||apples, bananas and cherries|
|a, b AND c||apples AND bananas||apples, bananas AND cherries|
|a, b, and c||apples and bananas||apples, bananas, and cherries|
|a, b or c||apples or bananas||apples, bananas or cherries|
|a, b, or c||apples or bananas||apples, bananas, or cherries|
|a; b; and c||apples and bananas||apples; bananas; and cherries|
|a, b||apples, bananas||apples, bananas, cherries|
If you need to change the capitalization of a template user's answer, you can use a field-specific format and/or marker field. Individual answers in the list are placed into the assembled document as the template user types them during an interview or as you have otherwise specified for each variable.
Among others, the following reference topic relates to this conceptual area: