Many of the posts on this blog assume you already have a basic understanding of the fundamental working parts of HotDocs. However, these “Back to the Basics” posts are specifically designed for those of you who are new to HotDocs, to discuss the basic features that you need to know about. Hope it helps!
In my rather biased opinion, HotDocs is one awesome piece of software. The time and money it saves and the quality it brings to an organization’s document production process is amazing. Of course, none of this would happen if it weren’t for one thing: variables. We talk about variables all the time, but what are they?
Basically, a variable in HotDocs is a part of a document that changes. The whole idea behind document automation and assembly software is that parts of documents need to change to conform to unique situations. Using HotDocs Developer, you can designate which areas of a document need to change, and HotDocs will be able to make any changes to this one variable throughout your entire document.
Let me give you an example: A music record label signs contracts with singers all the time. Each time the record company signs a new artist, it doesn’t draft an entirely new contract. Instead, it most likely has a template contract it uses and makes slight adjustments to reflect the terms of the deal. Probably 99% of the document doesn’t change. However, the parts that do change (like the name of the artist, the negotiated royalties, etc.) are the most important bits of information in the document! These are the variables.
The variables might be repeated multiple times throughout the lengthy contract, but HotDocs automatically changes all instances of a variable throughout the document. It could find every place the “artist’s name” variable appears throughout the document and change them all to the actual name of the artist.
The bottom line is that variables are the parts of a document that change. It might be a name, a punctuation mark, or an entire paragraph. The great thing about HotDocs is that you designate what needs to be a variable and what text always stays the same. With variables, you can create very powerful documents that are higher quality and produced much faster.