Document templates are created using standard Word documents populated with Merge Fields in positions where you require live data to be. These templates are used to generate documents not only within Matters but also for accounting (quotes, orders, invoices).
Different Types of Templates
- Document Templates
- Invoice Templates
- Email Templates
- Cheque Templates
- Withdrawl Templates
- Receipt Templates
- Matter Templates
- Disbursement Templates
- Trust Templates (Receipts, Payments, Deposit Slips, Statements) - found in Admin > Document Assembly > Trust Templates
All document templates will need to be created in Microsoft Word. You certainly have the ability to upload a static document (a document without merge fields, that therefore does not auto-populate with information), however, to get the greatest time savings from Actionstep, we recommend that you make use of the pre-populating merge fields.
NOTE: This will need to be a .DOCX file
Generated documents are output in the same format as the templates that were used (DOCX, RTF, etc) to create them. Within Actionstep you are able to convert the generated documents to PDF.
Creating Document Templates
Step 1. Open the existing document and highlight the fields that you want to replace. It will make it FAR easier if you start with the document that you are wanting to build, and then simply find the merge fields.
View the list of Merge Fields
In Actionstep, navigate to Admin > Document Assembly > Merge field list. This will allow you to see a list of all the merge fields available in your system.
To find the merge field you're after, use the Filter function in the top-left hand corner of the screen. Selecting 'show available filters' will bring up a popup that looks like this:
To find the merge field, search for merge field name or description. You can also search by data sources. Here are common data sources types:
- Action - details regarding your matters
- Custom Data
- Participant Data
Step 2. Once you have identified the merge field that you want to use, copy the field from the 'Merge Field Name' row and via your opened document in Word navigate:
- Highlight the field on your document you want to auto-populate. For this example, I will be selecting 'Matter ID'.
- Within the 'Insert' tab, select the 'Quick Parts' drop down and then select the 'Field' Option.
- In the 'Field Names' box, scroll down to and select 'MergeFields'.
- In the 'Field Name' box, enter the merge field that you have copied from within Actionstep and select 'Ok'
- This will populate your template with the Actionstep Merge Field.
Repeat the same process for each field that you want to auto-populate.
Uploading Document Templates
To upload your template to the Matter Type, navigate: Admin > Matter Types > Select Matter Type > Document Templates > Select the 'Add New Template Button
Specify the name of the template, as well as the folder it will sit within. If you have not set up any other folders, you will be able to add it to the root folder.
Linking a document template to one or more participant types (also known as Parties) allows the template to be generated directly from the Matter parties list. This is useful for generic documents like a cover letter where your participant related merge fields are using the pt=selected__participant option.
Select 'Save' to upload the new template. The template is now available for generation in any Matter of that Type.
Linking Templates to Steps and Tasks
You can choose to have documents that are created automatically as you move to steps. This is handy when there are certain documents that you would require at certain steps in the workflow. These documents can be set as a mandatory task, which saves your users from having to generate these themselves and ensures that compliance is enforced.
Generating a Document Template from Within a Matter
Document Templates can be generated via the Documents tab within a matter. The templates can be generated by:
- Hovering over the document icon and selecting 'Generate' from the dropdown.
- Selecting the documents icon and within the documents screen, click the 'Generate' button on the left.
Once you have opted to generate the template, you will need to select the template you want to be generated from the dropdown, the name, the date, and the destination folder. Within this screen, you also have the option to choose how you want the document generated.
When you have decided all options, you can now 'Generate' the populated Document Template.
Generating a Document Template from the Matter Parties List
Document Templates can be generated via linked participants within the Matter Parties tab of your matter.
To generate a template loaded against a Role, select the 'Parties' tab and go to the click the blue button so it either says 'View by Role' or 'View by Party'. Click on the menu icon beside the contacts Party or Role (depending on which screen you are on, see screenshot examples below) and choose the template you would like to run.
View by Role
View by Party
Tips and Tricks
Preventing long blocks of text from messing up check (cheque) templates
Check templates need to be accurately aligned to the pre-printed check stationery. Sometimes very long text strings, like memo fields, can wrap and push the following text down a few lines which will mess up the alignment. To prevent this use MS Word "text blocks" to contain the variable-length text fields. This will constrain the text to a defined area within the template and truncate it if necessary. Use MS Word Text Block to constrain variable text fields in check (cheque) templates.
Use MS Word 'Quick Parts' Merge Fields instead of square brackets
If you insert genuine MS Word merge fields instead of using the [[square bracket]] syntax then you can override the display name in the document to make for easier to read templates. Note that the Insert > Quick Parts function varies from place to place depending on your version of MS Word.
Use Safe Fonts
The availability of fonts varies with each machine, so if you create a document with a font that is not available on the end-user's computer then Word will substitute the font which may affect the layout. This is especially important for templates such as checks (or cheques) and tables in invoices.
Always use "safe" fonts from the list below. These fonts are available in most versions of Office and on Macs and PCs:
- Book Antiqua
- Bookman Old Style
- Calisto MT
- Century Gothic
- Courier New
- Footlight MT Light
- Goudy Old Style
- Lucida Bright
- Microsoft Sans Serif
- Monotype Corsiva
- Times New Roman
Testing Merge Fields
If you are an Admin user then you have access to the Merge Field Testing Tool.
If you want to test out merge fields without having to go through the trouble of creating and generating a template, you are able use the merge field test tool in Admin.