HotDocs Developer Help File
ascend: The process of sorting answers in alphanumeric order, from 1 to 9, and from A to
Z. (See also descend.) You can also sort items in a template library, clause library,
and answer library.
ASK instruction: An instruction that forces a dialog to be asked at a specific location in
the script or template. Frequently, ASK instructions are used when creating an
interview component. They allow developers to control the order in which dialogs
are asked during the interview.
assemble, assembly: See document assembly.
Assembly Queue: A dialog box that shows a list of assemblies—pending, current, and
completed. Users can open the Assembly Queue by clicking its button in the
assembly window toolbar. It is most useful when users have selected multiple
templates for assembly.
assembly window: The window that appears when a user selects a template to
assemble. By default, it includes the Interview tab, the Document tab, the Question
Summary tab, and Answer Summary tab. Each of these tabs displays something
unique about the document being assembled, such as the questions that are
required to customize the document or the assembled document itself.
auto-assemble file: A self-executable file that contains one or more templates and their
related files. When packaged in an auto-assemble file (or HDA), the files are
temporarily extracted and used to assemble the document. Once assembly is
complete, the extracted files are deleted. Auto-assemble files are useful if template
developers don't want users to have editing access to the template files
auto-install file: A self-executable file that contains one or more templates and their
related files. When extracted, the files are saved to disk and references to them
are added to a library. Auto-install files provide a useful way to distribute templates
or updates to template sets.
automate, automation: The process of converting any document (text or form) into an
interactive template. At its very core, automation is replacing changeable text in
the document with variables. Additional automation steps include making text in
the template conditional, repeating sections of the template so multiple answers
can be entered, and inserting other boilerplate text into the template.
Automator: See HotDocs Automator.
bar code: A format for an answer or a group of answers so that data can be quickly
scanned using an optical scanner. Bar codes are supported in both form templates
and text templates. (In form templates, developers assign the PDF417 property to
the field. In text templates, developers assign the preferred bar code font at the
Advanced group of the Variable Field dialog box.)
binary files: In versions of HotDocs prior to HotDocs 2009, represents the format
HotDocs-specific files—such as library files, component files, and so forth—were
saved in. Binary file formats are common in most software applications. They allow
information about the files to be encoded for storage and processing purposes.
However, one limitation of storing information in HotDocs in binary format is that
third-party application developers aren't able to inspect, edit, or otherwise make
use of information contained in the files. Another limitation is that the binary
formats used in HotDocs do not support the use of foreign characters (for
example, international characters that are not represented in your computer
system's default language).
browser: A window that allows users to view HTML documents. When working with
HotDocs Server, interviews are displayed in a browser window rather than the
regular HotDocs assembly window.
built-in variable: A predefined variable that performs a special function in a template,
such as inserting either today's date or the name of the current answer file. Built-in
variables include TODAY, PN#, ANSWER FILE NAME, and COUNTER.
century rollover: A HotDocs setting that controls whether years entered as two digits
appear as 1900-century years or 2000-century years.
check-box field: A type of form template field that represents some sort of pre-existing
option a user must select, such as a true/false value or a multiple-choice value.
chevrons: The double-angle brackets (« ») that surround a variable in a text template.
Together, the chevrons and variable name make up the variable field, for example,
child dialog: A dialog that is inserted within another dialog. When it's inserted, it becomes
linked to that dialog—users can't answer questions in it without first viewing the
parent dialog. Usually the two dialogs are related in content or purpose.
clause: Predefined sections of text that can be selected and added to an assembled
document. Usually clauses are grouped together in a clause library so users can
choose which ones they want to insert, although some clauses are merged in the
clause archive: A compressed file that contains all of the clauses for a given template or
clause library. During assembly, clauses in the archive are extracted so they can
be selected and added to an assembled document.
clause library: A file that contains a listing of available clauses. Users can select the
clauses they want to use from the library, designate the order they should be
merged in the document, and then answer any questions contained in the clauses.
The clauses are then merged in the document.
CMP: File name extension that designates that the file is a component file.
command-line option: An instruction used to control the operation of HotDocs. These
instructions, or commands, are added to any command line that causes HotDocs
to run. They can alter the operation of specific templates, or they can affect the
overall operation of HotDocs.
comments: Notes or thoughts entered by the template developer either in a script or in a
template. Comments are one way to document processes within the template. If
entered correctly, they will not be visible to users in the assembled document.
component: An element in a HotDocs template that displays or stores information about
the answers that are merged. Examples of components include variables, dialogs,
dialog elements, merge text groups, and formats.
component file: The file that stores all of the components used in a template. The
component file and template file are both necessary for template development and
document assembly to work correctly. Developers use Component Manager to
work with components.
HotDocs Developer Help File
Component Manager: The tool used to coordinate component usage in a template.
Component Manager shows all of the components used in the template and
provides options for working with those components.
Computation variable: A type of component that performs calculations or executes other
instructions within the template. Computation variable scripts are created using the
HotDocs scripting language.
conditional text: Text in the template that should be included in the assembled document
only under certain circumstances. Conditions are controlled using IF instructions
control field: A type of form template field that is used for behind-the-scenes tasks,
including inserting related templates and assigning values to variables, just to
name a few.
COUNTER: An expression that keeps track of the current number of repetitions in a
repeated dialog. Each time a new repetition is added, the COUNTER is increased.
custom interview: A script that controls how and the order in which variables and dialogs
are asked during an interview. The template developer creates this script.
database: A file that contains a collection of data. Template developers can map
variables in templates to fields in a database table so that answers can be
retrieved from it and merged in the assembled document.
Database Connection: See HotDocs Database Connection.
date detection: The HotDocs setting that controls how HotDocs interprets and merges
dates entered during the interview—for example, whether the date appears as
DAY MONTH YEAR (British), or MONTH DAY YEAR (United States).
Date variable: A type of component that merges a date in the document.
DEBUG: An instruction developers can insert in a template or script that lets them
troubleshoot problems they are experiencing with their automation. While testing
the script or template in debugging mode, HotDocs walks the developer through it,
step by step, so he or she can see exactly how the script or template is producing
the unexpected result.
default interview: The interview HotDocs automatically generates based on the order
variables are asked in the template.
default word processor: When multiple word processors (for example, Word and
WordPerfect) or when multiple versions of a single word processor (for example,
Word 2000 and Word XP) are installed, the word processor HotDocs uses by
default for automation and document assembly.
delimiter: A character, such as a tilde (~) or vertical bar (|), that delineates answers or
values in a script or instruction.
descend: The process of sorting answers in reverse alphanumeric order, from 9 to 1, and
from Z to A. (See also ascend.)
detect: In a form template, the process of aligning a variable field with its surrounding field
developer: See template developer.
dialog: In template development, represents the component in which the developer
groups variables and other components. In document assembly, represents the
group of questions in the Interview tab of the assembly window where users enter
dialog element: A component that lets developers more easily add additional text,
hyperlinks, buttons, graphics, lines, and spacing to dialogs. These can help make
the dialog more visually pleasing and informative.
dialog script: A set of instructions that dynamically change how variables are used in a
dialog. For example, questions about a client's children can be scripted so they
become available only if the client indicates that he or she has children. If the client
does not, the questions will not be available.
direct-fill assembly: The process of entering answers directly at the Form Document tab
of the assembly window rather than answering questions at the Interview tab.
DOC: File name extension that designates that the file is a Microsoft Word document.
(See text document.)
document: The file that is created after a template has been assembled.
document assembly: The process HotDocs goes through as it processes scripts in the
template and merges answers into the document. At the end of the assembly
process, the user has a document tailored to his or her needs.
document manager: A third-party application that stores various data files, including
documents and answer files. Using a document manager, users can track versions
and show histories of the document as well as enter other physical data about the
files being stored, such as the date they were created, who created them, and so
Document Preview tab: A tab of the assembly window that shows how the text
document has been assembled using the answers entered in the interview. (See
also Form Document tab and Interview tab.)
DOT: File name extension that designates that the file is a Microsoft Word DOT template.
(See text document.)
dot code: A property that can be assigned to text in a prompt, dialog element, resource,
or computation script that either formats the text or inserts characters not
commonly supported in plain text. For example, dot codes can be used to apply a
bold format to a word in a prompt, or they can be used to insert the subsection (§)
double-angle bracket: See chevrons.
driver: See printer driver.
duplicate: The process of copying a variable to create a new one.
Edit field: A type of form template field that is used for entering text, dates, and numbers.
It is the most commonly used type of field on a form.
ELSE IF / ELSE: See IF instruction.
End of Interview dialog: The last dialog displayed in an interview, which contains a
report of the number of questions that are still unanswered. It also provides options
for working with the assembled document.
Envoy: A third-party product used for creating HotDocs form templates (or HFTs).
Support for the Envoy printer driver ended with the release of HotDocs 2006
(Envoy required 16-bit compatibility, which was only supported on Windows 98
HotDocs Developer Help File
and earlier). HotDocs still supports automation of HFT files —just not creation of
these files. All new form templates must now be created in PDF format.
example format: A predefined format for how an answer should look when it is merged in
the assembled document. This allows the user to enter the answer however they
want in the interview, but forces it to appear a specific way in the finished
explicit index: A reference to a specific answer in a list of answers. For example, to
merge the third answer from a list, a template developer would assign the index
number of  to the variable that is being merged, like this: «Service Date». The
third date in the list would then be merged.
expression: A command in a script that retrieves a special value. Expressions help
calculate dates, sums, and so forth.
field: A place in the template that denotes where users' answers should be merged, or
where a specific instruction should be executed. In a text template, a field is
denoted by chevrons. In a form template, a field is denoted by a colored box that is
overlaid on the form's static text.
file name extension: Three characters appended to a file name that identify the type of
file so Windows knows what program to use to work with the file.
fill: The process of assembling a form document.
fill character: Character that is used to pad an answer that doesn't meet the required
width of the field. For example, perhaps an answer needs to be 15 characters
long. If the answer is only 10 characters, a fill character can be used to bring the
answer to 15 characters.
fillable field: In Adobe Acrobat or Reader, represents a dynamic field in which a user can
enter data while viewing the document. Using HotDocs, users can create fillable
PDF templates from these PDF documents that contain fillable fields.
Filler: See HotDocs Filler.
filter: A script that removes unrelated or unwanted answers from a list of answers. For
example, perhaps there is a list of a client's children but only the names of minor
children should be merged. A filter can extract just this data from the list.
fixed value: A predefined answer, such as a date, number, or string of text. When
working with instructions and expressions, placeholders are replaced either with
fixed values or with variables.
foreign language DLL: A file that allows template developers and users to access Date
variable and Number variable formats in languages other than English. This allows
these dates and numbers to be formatted correctly in the assembled document.
Supported languages include French, Spanish, German, Swiss German, Austrian
German, Dutch, and Italian. From HotDocs 10 onwards, the functionality provided
by the Foreign Language DLL's is integrated with HotDocs.
form document: The file that is created from an assembled form template. Form
documents are distinguished from text documents by the design of the
document—forms are static in nature, meaning the underlying text of the
document cannot be changed or modified. (See also text document.)
Form Document tab: A tab of the assembly window that shows how the form document
has been assembled using the answers entered in the interview. When viewing the
Form Document tab, users can enter or change their answers by clicking on the
form fields and changing the answer.
form template: A template that is created and automated in HotDocs Automator. It is
distinguished from a text template by the fact that the underlying text cannot be
modified because it is static. (See also form document.)
form wizard: See custom interview.
format example: See example format.
function: In programming, a function is a piece of code that operates on one or more
inputs, and produces an output.
GRAY: An instruction used in a dialog script to disable a variable unless the user answers
another variable a specific way. For example, questions asking for children's name
can be grayed until the user answers a question indicating he or she has children.
(See also UNGRAY.)
group: The process of designating that two or more fields in a form template be linked
together so that an answer can flow from one field to the next. For example, if a
text answer needs to span two or more lines in a form, the fields can be created on
each line and then grouped. When the answer extends beyond the first line, it will
flow to the second line. (See also run-on group.)
HDA: File name extension that designates that the file is a HotDocs auto-assemble file.
HDI: File name extension that designates that the file is HotDocs auto-install file.
HFD, HPD: File name extension that designates that the file is a HotDocs form document.
HFT, HPT: File name extension that designates that the file is a HotDocs form template.
HIDE: An instruction used in a dialog script to hide variables in the dialog. (See also
SHOW.) Usually this instruction is conditioned so that questions in the dialog hide
and show dynamically, based on answers the user enters.
HotDocs Automator: The tool used to automate form templates, or those templates
whose underlying static text cannot be changed. Examples of form templates
include tax preparation forms, applications, and so forth.
HotDocs Compare: Starting with the release of HotDocs 2009, HotDocs Compare is no
longer available. A HotDocs add-in tool that is used to compare different versions
of an assembled document. Using HotDocs Compare, users can take a "snapshot"
of an assembled document, change some answers in the interview, and then
compare the two versions.
HotDocs Database Connection: A tool that provides the mapping needed to connect
templates to a database. Answers can be retrieved from the database during the
interview, which keeps users from manually having to enter their answers.
(Starting with the release of HotDocs 2008, HotDocs Database Connection (the
separate product) was fully integrated into all editions of HotDocs.)
HotDocs Debugger: A tool used to systematically step through a script or template in
order to examine how the script or template produced the result it did. The
Debugger is typically used when the result is unexpected—it helps a template
HotDocs Developer Help File
developer pin-point exactly what is happening so he or she can correct the
problem creating the error.
HotDocs Developer: A version of HotDocs that contains the tools necessary to automate
a simple to highly complicated set of both text and form templates. It is also used
to assemble both text and form templates. (See also HotDocs Developer LE.) Prior
to the release of HotDocs 10, Developer was named Professional Edition.
HotDocs Developer LE: A version of HotDocs that contains the tools necessary to
automate a simple to moderately complicated set of text templates. HotDocs
Developer LE can also be used to assemble text and form documents. (See
HotDocs Developer.) Prior to the release of HotDocs 10, Developer LE was named
HotDocs Filler: The application used to view assembled form documents.
HotDocs Options: A section of the software where template developers and end users
can set their preferences for working with HotDocs.
HotDocs Outliner: A tool that generates an outline of scripting in a Word template. This
outline can include just a list of instructions used in the template, or it can include
variables as well. Items in the outline appear in the same order as they are used in
the template. Viewing this outline may help developers better understand the logic
used in the template.
HotDocs PDF Advantage: A HotDocs add-in that allowed the creation and automation of
PDF-based form templates, as well as the ability to save most types of documents
as PDF (assembled or otherwise). From HotDocs 10 onwards, this is no longer a
separate add-in, but is instead fully integrated into HotDocs.
HotDocs Player: A version of HotDocs that is used for assembling published (and
registered) templates. HotDocs Player functions differently to HotDocs User, which
can assemble any template created by HotDocs Developer. For more information,
see HotDocs User.
HotDocs Player Edition: A version of HotDocs that is used for assembling published
(and registered) templates.
HotDocs Professional Edition: Please see HotDocs Developer.
HotDocs Server: The Web-based version of HotDocs. When using HotDocs Server,
interviews are presented in a user's Web browser. Answers are then sent back to
a server where the document can be assembled. HotDocs Server allows users to
create documents and answer files without requiring them to have HotDocs
installed on their desktop.
HotDocs Standard Edition: Please see HotDocs Developer LE.
HotDocs User: A version of HotDocs that is used for assembling any templates created
using HotDocs Developer. HotDocs User functions differently to HotDocs Player,
which can only assemble registered templates. For more information, see HotDocs
IF instruction (also ELSE IF, ELSE, END IF: A set of instructions and expressions that
control the inclusion and exclusion of optional text in a document. IF instructions
are based on either True/False variables or true/false expressions. IF instructions
can also be used to control whether certain instructions or expressions are
processed in computation or dialog scripts.
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