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Robust Text, General Comments
Creating an<<*Options*>> or <<*Optional*>> text block really is no more difficult than what is described above. It is all plain text construction. No fields, no codes. Just remember that the 'administrative' section of an Options or Optional text block must end with an asterisk.
We encourage you to liberally use <<*Options*>> and <<*Optional*>> text blocks. But it is possible to 'over-populate' a document with Optional text. By creating such a document, you will end up with a long, complex looking document that may actually 'scare' the end-user and impede the document assembly process.
If you have inserted dozens of <<*Optional*>> text blocks inside your document, we would suggest that you consider creating individual 'selectable' clauses from the same text. Then, assemble the document from those separate clauses via the Clause Selection Screen (or insert them via a DropDown List). You will likely find this process more efficient and significantly faster. See this discussion: BoilerPlate Clauses
You can have only nine *Options* in an <<*Options*>> block. There are practical reasons for this, not the least of which is the amount of screen 'real estate' that is needed to display the various options in the Dialog (Figure 2). There are two 'work arounds' to this limit.
The first is to break the options into two or sets of (up to) nine choices, and create a 'super' options block encompassing the (nested) others. The 'super' level <<*Options*>> will be presented first. Selecting a choice from that level brings up the (smaller) sub-group.
If each of the options is relatively short (a few hundred characters or so), create a MultiChoice *List* of the various options. This routine is easy to implement and will solve most of the 'problems' caused by the limit of 'nine.' The options (and there could be dozens of them in the MultiChoice *List*) are referenced in the source text in this remarkably compact fashion: <<*Options**mylist*>>
Administrative Text: The text to the left of the last asterisk in an <<*Options*>> or <<*Optional*>> text block is referred to as the 'administrative text', as distinguished from the actual choices found to the right of that last asterisk.) We talk about 'administrative text' in other sections of this Manual.
Substantive Text: The text to the right of the 'administrative text' in an <<*Options*>> block is the text that will remain (if chosen) in the final document. This text can be 'real' text (such as was shown in the above examples) or the text can be references to other documents that you want Pathagoras to find and insert. So, an <<*Options*>> block can read like this:
<<*Options*As per your request, the widgets will be shipped by Federal Express. We will bill you for the extra cost of shipping./As per your request, we will send the widgets by standard ground transport. This may take 3 to 5 additional days./As per your request, we will hold the widgets for pickup by your courier./The widgets you have ordered are not currently in stock. We will ship them as soon as possible. If we have not shipped within 5 days of this date, you will have the option to cancel the order.>>
or the same block can read like this:
which shp101,102 and 103 point to text stored as a document in a folder or glossary. The 'double angle brackets' signal Pathagoras to make the call to the appropriate document. See 'BoilerPlate Text' for more information and more examples.
Tables and <<*Options/Optional*>> blocks: <<*Options/Optional*>> text blocks work well within and without tables. The only restriction is that the block cannot span more than a single cell of a table. This includes starting outside of a table and ending within a table or starting within a table and ending outside a table.
An <<*Options/Optional*>> text block can encompass an entire table. The opening "<<" marker must simply be somewhere above the table and the closing ">>" marker must be below it.
Where to place the slash? Typically, the placement of the slash between choices is easy. When words or sentences are being separated, the slash goes after the last character of the preceding choice. But when the choices are 'paragraphs long', a little experimentation and trial and error might be needed. The logic built into Pathagoras as to how to process the keeping/elimination of selected/discarded text is complex. Factors such as paragraph indentions, centering, automatic paragraph numbering, and other style considerations makes it impossible to articulate a hard and fast rule regarding where to place the slash. Just perform a couple of test runs using the Process button to see if the result is what you expect. Be sure to test all options.