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Cascading <<*Options*>> or {*Options*}

Cascading <<*Options*>> or {*Options*}

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Cascading <<*Options*>> or {*Options*}

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   A 'classic' *List* provides the end user with options from which to choose. The *List* can comprise single words, short phrases or even links to other documents. But you can also tell Pathagoras to display another *List*, this second list being sub-categories of the selected parent. With this technique, you can allow a user to select from progressively 'narrower' sub-topics nested beneath the main topic. This progression from a broad topic to a narrow result is referred to as 'cascading'.

   Let's say that you manage many real estate holdings of a variety of types. You want the selection of one 'property type' listing in a MultiChoice *List* to automatically present an appropriate sub-list from which additional (but more limited) choices can be made. Here is what you might try:

   First, create a MultiChoice *List* using the Cascading Options Chart. for the 'parent' choices. Continuing the above example, you might give the parent *List* a name like "Property Types" (typed in the left column of the MultiChoice *List* table), with the listing of the types of property in the right column.

Property Type

Residential

Office

Commercial, Service

Commercial, Heavy Industry

 

Single Family

Single tenant

Retail

Manufacturing

 

Duplex

Dual unit

Restaurant

Distribution

 

Condominium

Office Building

Furniture

Mining

 

Apartment

Office Park

 

 

 

Property Type

Residential/Office/Commercial, Service/Commercial, Heavy Industry

   Next, create a separate MultiChoice *List* for each 'Property Type'. This is how the rest of the MultiChoice *Lists* might appear:

Residential

Single Family/Duplex/Condominium/Apartment

Office

Single tenant/Dual unit/Office Building/Office Park

Commercial, Service

Retail/Restaurant/Furniture

Commercial, Heavy Industry

Manufacturing/Distribution/Mining

   So here is how the above *Lists* might appear in the MultiChoice *Lists* editor. (Keep in mind that everything is plain text in the MultiChoice *Lists* editor. The editor is a simple Word document with a table that contains the list name that you choose at the left and the assigned values that you create at the right.):

multichoice_cascade

   Note: when you are adding a 'child', you are actually creating another list within the MultiChoice *List* collection at the same level of the parent. You are not actually creating a sub-list. Pathagoras automatically  presumes nesting when it sees that each choice in a parent list exists as a separate *List* elsewhere in the table of terms. The benefit of this approach is that you can use any list at the parent level, even one originally conceived as a child.

   You can nest to an unlimited number of levels. Simply create a new MultiChoice *List* for each level. Keep the above 'Note' in mind.

   Now on to the actual document assembly steps:

1.At a strategic location in your source document, type the top most level of the cascade into an options block.
Note: You can use the  'standard' options block style: <<*Options**PropertyTypes*>>. (The double asterisks in the center are correct. The first asterisk closes the administrative section of the block. The second is the opening boundary for the *list* name.).
 
Alternatively, and probably easier, you can use the 'simplified options' block layout using {curly braces}. Example: {*PropertyTypes*}.
2.Assemble a document Call the clause from a Drop Down List, a 'book' using the Clause Selection Screen or by typing the clause name to the screen followed by <Alt-G>. which contains the *List*. When Pathagoras encounters the *List* reference, it will detect the existence of 'cascading'. Pathagoras redraws the options screen, presenting the next level of choices).

   Here is what the initial options screen would look like in the above example when {*PropertyTypes*} is processed. Make sure the Cascade button is checked. (It will be displayed and automatically checked when Pathagoras detects that a cascading possibility exists.)

multichoice_cascade1

When the Cascade button is checked, and if you click "Office",
Pathagoras will present the following choices:

multichoice_cascade2

Note that the Cascade button has 'disappeared.'
That is because Pathagoras has determined that none of the current choices are themselves *Lists*.
No further cascades, therefore, are possible.

informationIf, in the initial screen, you unchecked the Cascade button, the text of the selected choice would have been inserted in place of the MultiChoice *keyword*. This of course is the default action of a selection from an Options screen, and sometimes may be the result that you seek.

tipThere are no practical restrictions as to what the 'reference' contained in your choices can be (or point). The choices can be another level of choices which allow for further cascading, or they can be the 'final choices' or lowest level. The lowest level of nested choices can likewise be anything:

It can be just plain text. The examples provided above would insert the plain text 'answer' into the document in place of the original *List* term.
It can be a [Variable]. Just enclose the lowest level choices within "[" and "]" markers. After the document is assembled and when you call up the Instant Database via <Alt-D>, you will be presented the variable for completion with a personal value.
It can be a MultiChoice [*Variable*]. Just enclose the lowest level choices within "[*" and "*]" markers. After the document is assembled and after you call up the Instant Database via <Alt-D>, all choices within the *List* will be displayed in dropdown list fashion alongside of the variable name.
It can be a 'pointer' to a document. To reference a document, just surround the document name with"<<" and ">>" markers. The document reference can be 'complete' with drive and path designators (e.g., "C:\my documents\Letter to Clerk.doc"), or if you are using the prefix suffix designators for your document, or one of the SuperBooks that Pathagoras allows, you can just type the term's short name. Pathagoras will locate these latter documents using standard order of search rules. (We very much want you to click this link. Understanding the 'order of search' rules will allow you create some tremendous document assembly possibilities.) So, in the above example, instead of the list following Residential being this in the above example:

Residential

Single Family/Duplex/Condominium/Apartment

  you could provide this:

Residential

<<res100>>/<<res200>>/<<res300>>/<<res400>>

   The assumption made here is that res100, res200, etc. are documents. (The further assumption is that "res" is a prefix that has been registered to point to the folder that contains the desired clauses, or that the documents reside in a SuperBook.)

   One last point. In the last example above, the lowest level of the cascade are individual documents or clauses. But imagine that the lowest level pointed to clause-sets. A clause-set is a 'potential document' that can range from simple to one of extra-ordinary complexity. You could use the cascading tools described above to ask progressively more focused questions which, when answered, lead to the production of a highly specialized, perfectly tailored and complete document.