Turn your frequently used contracts into automated templates
Creating automated templates
With Precisely, you can automate and streamline your contract creation process by using automated templates.
Step 1: Creating a template
Click Templates in the top menu and click the green New template button on the top left,
Select whether you'd like to
a) Start from scratch by clicking the Create blank button
b) Use one of your existing Precisely templates by clicking From template, or
b) Upload a document by clicking Import Word file.
Enter the title and description of the template, choose access policy and click the blue Create button.
Importing Word files?
⚠️ Warning: Please note that some formatting such as images and tables may be lost when importing template documents. You’re able to style and format your documents in the Precisely editor.
💡 Pro tip: Prepare your template in .docx by using [square_brackets] to mark variable parts of your contract. Once imported, everything will be automatically converted into Precisely smart templates. Keep reading to learn more about smart templates👇
Step 2: Creating questions and references in the documents
Questions and references are used for variable parts of the template that change from contract to contract. For instance, names, dates and contract values.
To create questions and choose what parts are variable, start by opening the document in the Precisely editor by clicking the Edit button in the template overview.
Create questions using the Add question section on the left-hand side of the editor. These questions are what the user running the template will be asked to populate the varying parts. Such as “What is the subject of disclosure?” or “What is the name of the company that serves as our counterparty?”.
Clicking "Show more options" will allow you to set up more details, such as helping text, example or pre-filled answers.
Each question will have a certain id – a reference. Wherever you want the response of a question to be inserted into the document, you insert the reference.
When drafting, the reference will be replaced with what the user running the template has answered. For instance, the reference name of the question “What is the subject of disclosure?” could be disclosure_subject. Wherever you want the subject of disclosure to appear in the contract, you insert the reference named disclosure_subject.
You can add references to a template document in two ways. Either
Click References in the editor’s top menu, or
Click the green Add reference button (the “+” symbol) in the editor’s left-hand menu.
Types of answers
There are a few types of answers to choose from for your questions:
Short text – the answer is a short, single row, free text answer.
Long text – the answer is a long, multiple row, free text answer.
Numeric – the answer is a number. A question using a numeric answer could be “What shall the penalty amount to in case of material breach?”
Date – the answer is a date. A question using a date answer could be “What is the start date of the employment?”.
Multiple choice – if the answers can be predefined, you can use multiple choice answers. The user running the template can then only choose from your predefined answers to the question. If you turn on the toggle "Allow multiple selection", users drafting from the template are able to select from several answers. Read more
Multiple clause – you can use the multiple clause option if the user running the template should choose between multiple clause alternatives. For instance, if there are different versions of non-compete clauses. This option is mostly helpful for advanced users, who can review the clause options and their meaning in a diligent way.
To set up a multiple clause reference, simply
Choose Multiple clause in the Type of answer drop down,
Fill out your question and set a reference name,
Click the Add clause button to add clauses as needed, click the Edit button (the pencil) next to the clause to create and edit the clause’s content. When you've finished editing the clause, click the blue Save button.
Screenshot of a multiple clause question from the end-user point of view when running the template.
Making questions conditional
Questions can be made conditional by ticking the Make this question conditional box in the question editing view. By making a question conditional, it could be shown, or not, depending on the answer to a previous question.
Example: A non-disclosure agreement might contain the question “Shall a penalty clause be included in the contract in case of a material breach?”. If the answer is “Yes”, a conditional question asking “What shall the penalty amount to in case of a material breach?” could be included.
Step 2.1: Creating formulas
If certain sums should be calculated in your template documents, such as quotations, PPUs or total salaries, you can create reference-based formulas for them.
To create a formula, simply
Open the template document that should include a formula in the editor,
Set a reference name for the formula and create the calculation by inserting references and operators. Allowed operators and their uses are:
“( )” - Parentheses
“+” - Addition
“-” - Subtraction
“*” - Multiplication
“/” - Division
Insert the formula by clicking References in the editor’s top menu, or by clicking the green Add formula button (the “+” symbol) next to the formula in the editor’s left-hand menu.
Step 2.2: Making clauses conditional
If certain clauses should be included or excluded depending on certain answers, you can make them conditional. The same logic applies to conditional clauses as it does to conditional questions as described above.
To make a clause conditional, simply
Highlight the clause that you want to make conditional,
Click the New conditional button (the branching icon) and choose what rules should apply. E.g. that the clause shall only appear if the answer to a question is Yes.
Click the blue Set button.
Making conditional table rows
Besides being able to set up a condition on an entire part of the text in the template document, you're also able to set up a conditional row in your table in the template. This means that a certain table row will only appear if certain conditions are met.
Using the same logic, simply:
- Click the gray bar above a selected column to reveal the in-context menu,
- Click the Conditional row button, select which reference the row should depend on, and set the criteria.
Step 3: Creating pages for themed questions
Pages are used to group themed questions and improve the experience of the user running the template. For instance, the questions of a non-disclosure agreement could be sorted by disclosure subject, parties and disputes & penalties. We recommend a maximum of 3-4 questions per page.
To create a page in the editor, simply
Click the New page button located under your questions in the left-hand menu,
Select the order of which you wish to insert the page, give the page a title (optional) and click the blue Create button.
Thereafter, you can sort questions and arrange pages by simply dragging and dropping them until you have your desired order.
Note: You can also create pages from your template’s overview by clicking the New page button located under your questions.
This is how pages look to users running the template. In the example above, questions about parties are grouped on a page.
Step 4: Adding rules for approvals
If you have internal rules and processes for approval, you can decide who is allowed to approve a contract drafted from a template before it’s sent for negotiation or signing.
Precisely offers two types of approvals. You can choose to use one or both for each of your templates:
Initial approval is made after a draft has been generated from an automated template but before it is sent for negotiation.
Final approval is made after the negotiations (and amendments), before the project is sent for e-signing.
To add approvers, simply
Click the New approver button in the Approvals section and select the appropriate approver,
Decide whether all approvers must approve the contracts generated from the template, or whether it's sufficient for any person on the list to approve them individually whenever they're added as an approver. The latter is the standard option.
To add rules for when the selected person approves of contracts generated from the template, click the Add rules switcher,
Set up the rules for approval. You have three options for rule-based approvals and can also create rule combinations by clicking the (+) button next to a rule:
Reference lets you create a rule based on responses to questions in the drafting questionnaire. This option is suitable e.g. when you only want the approver to be added for contracts exceeding a certain value.
Contract creator lets you create a rule based on who drafts the contract. This option is suitable e.g. if you have a manager that is responsible for approving drafts created by certain people.
Team lets you create a rule based on which team the person that drafts the contract belongs to. This option is suitable e.g. if you have different approvers for different departments.
When a contract needs approval, the approvers will automatically receive email notifications. All contracts that need approval also appear in their dashboard.
Pro tip: Approval orders let you decide in which order approvals should be made on drafts generated using automated templates. You are able to create truly powerful approval workflows by combining approval rules with approval orders.
Step 5: Adding preparations
You can add preparations that the user needs to check off before drafting a contract from the template. For instance, “I have assured that the counterparty is not insolvent”.
To add a preparation, simply
Click the New preparation button in the template’s overview,
Enter the preparation text and click the blue Save button.
An example of how a preparation list looks to a user drafting a contract.
Step 6: Adding default signees
If you have team members who are responsible for signing certain types of contracts, you can add them as default signees to your template. As default signees, they'll automatically be added as signees to contracts generated from that template.
To add default signees, simply
Click the Add default signees button in the template’s overview,
Fill out the signee information and click the blue Create button.
Step 7: Add more automated settings
Explore other smart template settings.
Step 7.1: Adding default folder
To add a default archiving folder
In the template’s overview, click Archiving and,
Select the default folder (which is mirrored from your archive), or set up advanced rules and click Save. Read more about automated archiving
Step 7.2: Adding automated metadata tags
In the template’s overview, click Metadata and Add
Add the metadata by filling out the metadata boxes.
Pro tip: You can connect the input from your references in a template to certain metadata tags. The input will be shown in the Archive as metadata for every document drafted from that template. For instance, the response to the question relating to the counterparty's name could populate the equivalent metadata tag. Simply switch on the Reference button and select the applicable reference.
Step 7.2: Adding appendices
You can also add appendices to a template document. Thosethen be included each time a draft is generated from that template.
Appendices can either be static PDF documents, or they can be editable - meaning, you can work with them in the Editor and apply all smart functionalities (references, formulas, conditional blocks, etc.) just like with the main document. Learn more
Step 7.3: Adding reminders
Set up reminders to automatically trigger notifications for all important deadlines, expirations, and to-dos. You'll never again miss a date!