There are only a few limitations of what a variable cannot be or contain:


A 'simple' variable should not be more than 60 characters in length.

The individual choices of a multiple choice variable should no be more than 60 characters in length.

   The above are not steadfast rules, and exceptions are possible. See this page of the Manual for more information.


A variable cannot include an 'enter' (also called 'carriage return' and 'line feed'). This is a good rule because by definition, variables are intended to be short holding spots, and a variable spanning two lines automatically violates the definition. Nevertheless, this 'rule' can easily be overcome by using <P> in place of the Enter.

A variable name can contain any alpha-numeric and special characters you desire except:

o.'<<' and '>>' which are reserved for robust optional boundary markers

o'*' (asterisks) that you do not intend to denote 'aliases'.

Be aware that certain characters, most notably quotation marks and apostrophes, can be represented in Word in two distinct ways using different character sets.

oFor example, compare 'curly' quotation marks “  ” vs. straight quotation marks "  ".  

oLikewise, compare curly single quotes: ‘ ’ vs. ' and the curly apostrophe vs. the straight apostrophe '

oFor this and other reasons, we recommend that you not use quotes and apostrophes in your variable names. (As a practical matter, [Client Name] is just as meaningful to the end user as is [Client's Name] and it avoids the curly vs. straight issue.)

Within Tables:

 Variables within tables within the document body are fine, except the variable must be within a single cell. (I.e., a variable cannot span multiple cells). Pathagoras will advise if it finds a variable spanning more that one cell. Make the proposed correction and all will be well. Plus, see below regarding variables in header and footers.

Within Headers and Footers:

 Variables within headers and footers are fine so long as they are at the 'top' level. That means they cannot be nested within another element in the header such as a text box or table.