PLEASE READ THE TECHNICAL NOTE BELOW IF YOU INTEND TO USE THE 'EMBED VARIABLES' FUNCTION.
Pathagoras typically shuns fields as a mandatory element of its document assembly process. But Pathagoras actually works very well with fields, as those who have date fields, page numbers and automatic paragraph numbering can attest. Other users have source documents that originate from other programs with fields within them (links to spreadsheets and other data sources). Pathagoras also plays nicely with these.
Word is actually optimized for 'fields'. The replacement of variables represented by fields is significantly faster than replacement of 'plain text' variables (although the speed difference is only noticeable in large documents with many variables). Pathagoras' competitors always use fields, regardless of whether the end user understands what they are or how to create them. The problem that Pathagoras sought to cure was the confusion that results from use of fields. We developed a way to allow users to create variables with plain text characters with the need to inject fields into the mix. It would be Pathagoras, not the user, that would handle the heavy lifting involved with creating, formatting and tying them to a data source.
But there are situations where fields are very appropriate, especially if you have a 'mature' document that is part of your collection. A 'mature' document is one where the variables are set and not likely to change. In such a case, you might consider 'embedding' the variables into the document. Once embedded, it is more difficult to change them. Everything else about the document assembly process, however, remains the same.
Advantages of embedded variables: Improved speed. Ability to correct misspellings or make other changes to an assembled and personalized document without having to recreate the document.
Disadvantages: Extra steps in embedding fields (minor). Extra steps in finalizing the document (removing the fields table; minor). Modifying field names and multiple choice values (major).
For each of the below steps, you must first have turned on the 'Embed variable names' function. To access this function, activate the Instant Database screen and click the red Power Tools button (lower right corner of screen). Then click the blue More Tools button in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Click on the “Custom Settings” tab in the lower half of that screen. In the “Additional ‘Display’ Items” section on the lower left corner of the screen, activate the “Display ‘Allow Embed’ switch” checkbox. Activate the Instant Database screen again and click the red Power Tools button. When the new section appears, check the 'Embed variables as fields w/in document' box
The Instant Database 'Power Tools' section. "Embed Variable Names" checked.
Embedding variables into a master document:
1. Prepare your documents as before (i.e., with plain text bracketed variables).
2. Display the document (the original, not a copy) and scan the document for variables.
3. Do not add values at the right.
4. Press 'Next'. Pathagoras will confirm that you want to embed variables and create a variables table. (If this confirmation does not appear, the 'Embed variable names' box has not been checked.)
5. Once the variables are embedded, save this document. We recommend that you save it with a new name so it can be distinguished from your original document. (We recommend either calling the unaltered document with a name including '(base)' or '(no fields)' and keep it in a folder just for administrators or calling the new document with a name including '(fields)'or ''(final)' or the like. (The actual name is not important. The fact that you are keeping your source document for later editing and 're-fielding' is.)
Completing variables in document with embedded variables:
First time preparing this document for client:
1. The steps are not different to complete a document with embedded variables compared to one without. Recall a document via the Document Assembly | Clause Selection screen or via a DropDown List. (Remember, you want to be working on a copy of the master.
2. a. Scan the document for its variables and provide replacement values for each. (If you don't know a value for a specific variable, it's okay to leave it blank and to complete it later.)
b. Recall an existing record for a client if one exists.
Editing existing document:
1. Recall the document earlier prepared for the client.
2. Press Alt-D to display the IDB mask. Recall the client's record. (We are not suggesting this a 'best practice,' but if the underlying document happens to be one that you want to use for another client/customer, you can recall a different record and apply it against the form. So long as the document has not be 'de-fielded,' you can use and reuse the document. Caveat: If you set the Instant Database to Remove Blank Fields, Pathagoras will do just that. You cannot restore those fields once removed. That's why its a good idea not to recycle a form created for one customer to use for another customer. Just recall your base document.
THE 'TRADE OFF'
What you lose in flexibility, you gain in speed. Pathagoras has long prided itself on flexibility, and while this feature does away with a few tools (e.g, Pathagoras will no longer automatically rescan your documents for variables, acting under the assumption that there are no new ones; and you cannot instantly create new variables in the document -- although doing so is a fairly simple process), the speed improvements in replacing variables in 'mature' documents may be well worth it to you. You still have all of Pathagoras' many other editing and document management tools. You now have a 'speed demon' in your toolbox.
You should understand what is happening in order to get the most out of this feature.
When you ask Pathagoras to 'Embed Variables,' you are directing the program to create fields that reference values stored in a database somewhere. In Pathagoras, that database is a simple table that is placed at the top of your screen.
The table that Pathagoras creates is a bookmarked version of your variables. They are set out 5 across and as many rows deep to accommodate the number of variables. Then fields are created in the body of the document that reference the individual bookmarks. (You can see this 'reference' by pressing Alt-F9 to show the 'field codes'. The initial characters are "REF", which means 'reference' followed by the name of the bookmark in the table. Change the value in the table and the value in the field will be changed, but only when you update the document. To update the references, press Ctrl-A (that selects the entire document) and then F9 (which is the update command).
Just like with other replacement techniques with Pathagoras, the various iterations (case, styles, emphasis, etc.) of the variables in the document are replaced in the exact style as the variable.
After the document is assembled, you need to either hide it (for printing) or delete it (for distributing the document to others).
To reiterate, you should you this feature only when you have a 'mature' document. You should understand that once you embed variables, you cannot easily add more to this document. You can, however, recall the original, 'unfielded' document (if you saved one), add new variables (and other text) and the embed the variables. Or you can follow the steps below.
Embedding new variables (automatic):
As your documents develop, you may wish to add a new variable or two (or 12) to your document. Our best advice is that you make your markups on the original and simply rerun the 'Embed Variables routine from the source document. But if the source document is otherwise out of date, you can manually add variables to the variables table in a process similar to the way you originally created the table. With the revised source document on screen, and with the new variables in place (here, we mean plain text, bracketed variables strategically placed in the locations where they will be used. Press Alt-D and 'Scan' the document. Only new variables will appear on the screen. Press Next and those new variables will be added to the table at the top and reference fields will be created in each location in the document body where plain variables previously existed. Save the document. Your new 'source' document is now fully updated.
Adding new variables manually?
First, type a variable name into a blank cell the table at the top of the document. Highlight the name and make this text a bookmark: From the Word ribbon: Insert | Bookmark | (type name) | Add. The bookmark is created.
Next, move your cursor into the document body at the location where you want the value to be inserted. Insert a cross reference. (Insert | CrossReference | Bookmark; select the appropriate name -- the one you added to the table.) Repeat step in this paragraph for each location the value should go.
Repeat all steps for each new variable you want to add.