Why Save/Load? Why not Just Save a Table?

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    Service Desk

    That’s a good question. The basic idea is that saved Q&A tables are a time-saving feature for form creators, and saved answers are a time-saving feature for form users.

    First let me summarize the whole soup-to-nuts process without discussing saved Q&A tables or saved answers:

    1.  As a form creator, open an old document or form (let’s suppose it’s corporate Bylaws), add a Q&A table to the end of it, and fill the first two columns of the Q&A table with labels and questions.

    2.  Also as form creator, insert fields, lists, and/or conditions into the body of the form.

    3.  Still as form creator, save the completed Bylaws form in a location where you’ve decided to maintain your form bank.  You could save it as a .docx file (a document), but I recommend saving it as a .dotx file (a template).  Note that the Answer column of the Q&A table is empty – no client information has been saved with the form.

    4.  At some later date, client XYZ needs a set of bylaws.  As a form user, open the Bylaws form from your form bank.

    5.  Fill in the answer column in the Q&A table with information specific to client XYZ, then click the Fill button to create finished Bylaws for client XYZ.

    6.  Save the finished Bylaws for client XYZ wherever you store client documents – NOT in your form bank.

    So that’s the whole process from creating a generalized form to finishing a document for a specific client.  Now let’s talk about where saved Q&A tables and saved answers fit into that sequence:

    Saved Q&A tables for the form creator:  After creating the Bylaws form, you might decide to create a Shareholders Agreement form, a Notice of Shareholders Meeting form, a Minutes of Shareholders Meeting form, and lots of other forms that relate to corporate work.  As you create these forms, you notice that you’re re-using a lot of the same labels and questions in all these various Q&A tables that you’re creating.  Rather than create those Q&A tables from scratch each time, click the Table button to save one of them as your default Q&A table for corporate cases.  Then each time you want to create a corporate form, load in your default Q&A table as a starting point to save a lot of effort and time.  If you add more questions to the table as you create more forms, go ahead and re-save the expanded Q&A table as your new default table for corporate forms.  Over time, you’ll probably create other default Q&A tables for other types of forms – estate planning, real estate, personal injury, etc.  Note that none of these saved Q&A tables contain any client-specific information.  The Answer column in each of them is empty.

    Saved answers for the form user:  Suppose the first document you create for client XYZ is the Bylaws.  After filling in the answers (Step 5 above), click the Save/Load button to save those answers for client XYZ in an answer file named “XYZ Corporation” (or something similar).  The next day, maybe you need to create a Notice of Shareholders Meeting for client XYZ.  Open the appropriate form from the form bank, then click the Save/Load button to load the answers for client XYZ that you saved yesterday.  If the Q&A table in today’s form includes some additional questions that you didn’t answer yesterday, answer them now.  Then click the Fill button to create the finished Notice of Shareholders Meeting for client XYZ and save it among your client documents.  As a final step, since you answered a couple additional questions today, click the Save/Load button and save your answers for client XYZ again.  Today’s additional answers are appended to the answer file for client XYZ, so when you use another form tomorrow you’ll have to answer even fewer questions.  Over time, as you use multiple forms for a particular client, the answer file for that client grows.  Soon you will find that you can create entire finished documents for a client without having to answer any questions at all, because the questions have all been answered in previous forms that you used for that client.

    Finally, the answer to your million-dollar question (“Why is it wrong to do it as I did?”):  If you do it that way, answers don’t accumulate over time.  Each time you fill in a Q&A table for a particular client and save that Q&A table, it overwrites the previously saved table, wiping out any answers for that client that you saved yesterday.  There are some other reasons too, but that’s a great big one that probably persuades you all by itself.

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