Reusing large amounts of values between datafields in different concepts

We recently received the following question from a user and wanted to share our answer with the rest of the ClauseBase Community:

If we create a datafield in the form concept^state, and then create predefines for all 50 US states, is there any way to reuse that list of 50 predefined when we use concept-2^state?

This can be done through the somewhat advanced topic of spreadbases. Spreadbases are intended to solve a practical problem facing many users of ClauseBase: some data sets are just a little too large to store as predefined values in a Concept or Q&A Question, while other data sets are just a little too small to be worth the hassle of setting up a full-fledged database outside of ClauseBase. For more information on how to set up a spreadbase, check out this article.

The spreadbased is great functionality, which I have now successfully used to populate a large number of choices for the user of a Q&A.

As a basic follow-up question, I wonder whether a spreadbase can be used in a similar fashion to populate choices (as predefines or otherwise) into a document in assembly mode.

A couple of use cases:

  • A list of the 50 US states (same as what I did in the Q&A). Could I use the same spreadbase in assembly?
  • Somewhat related to the above, list with pieces of related text. E.g., a 50-state list where each state is associated with other information in successive columns, such as the title of the corporate formation in that state (certificate of formation, articles of formation). I want to then code a datafield such that the user (1) sees a choice af the 50 states and (2) the datafield will automatically insert data from x columns over in the row of the selected state, like the formation document title.

Is this possible and easy enough to do?

Hi Kenneth,

It’s not currently possible, but this will become part of a new set of functions intended to make the Document Assembly mode more attractive to end-users (instead of mainly targeted at clause authors, as is currently the case). This new functionality should become available by the end of Q1.

Good to know.

So currently, if I needed to do the equivalent of “lookups” in Excel, I’d either just need to code several different conditions in document assembly or I’d handle it through the Q&A, right?

Correct. Assemble Document was not originally designed with this level of “polish” in mind (that’s what the Q&A was designed to do). But we see that legal experts — rightfully — consider Assemble Documents to be the more interesting mode, so they are asking for some more polish in Assemble Document. Accordingly, that’s what we will add in an upcoming release.

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