Templates on a Network

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You can create HotDocs templates and share them with other users by placing them in a network folder.

Note: If you plan to make your templates accessible on a network, you should be familiar with network administration, the HotDocs application, and the files HotDocs uses.

To share HotDocs templates on a network, you must complete the following six parts:


Part 1: Install HotDocs

Install HotDocs on each user's local hard drive. (Sharing templates on a network does not affect how you install HotDocs.)

Part 2: Create the folder where you will store HotDocs templates

  1. Assign create and write access to the network folder to the people you want to create and modify templates.
  2. Assign read-only access to the other HotDocs users. One of the main issues in sharing templates on a network is access—who can create and modify templates, and who can only read them. Generally, the fewer people who can modify the templates, the easier it is to maintain control.

Part 3: Create the master library

  1. Create a library that will contain shortcuts to the templates. Caution: Do not create this library in the network folder that will contain the finished templates. This precaution will reduce the chance of unfinished templates being available to users.
  2. Create any subfolders you want to use to divide the templates into groups.

Part 4: Automate templates and add them to the library

  1. Automate your templates as you normally would. However, do not create them in the master library that will contain the finished templates. (There is always the chance that a template will be left partially automated and will be used to assemble a document for a client, which could cause liability problems.)
  2. When you finish automating each template, add it to the master library. Don't enter the path for the template's eventual location on the network—enter the path for its current location.

Part 5: Place the finished templates and library in the network folder

  1. At the HotDocs library window, select the templates you want to move.
  2. Select Move (Template menu).
  3. Select the folder to which you want to move the files and click OK. The template file and other related files (component files, default answer files, etc.) are moved to the network folder and the template library is updated with references to the new location.
  4. Using Windows Explorer or a file manager application, move the master library file to the network folder.

Note: If the network drive that contains the templates and library is not mapped to the same letter on each user's machine, you will need to modify the master library so that it uses reference paths to indicate the locations of the templates. (See the HotDocs Help for information on setting up reference paths.

Part 6: Import the master library into each user’s existing library

  1. Open the existing library you want to contain the imported library.
  2. Select the library title (at the top of the library list) or, if you want the imported library to be within another folder, select that folder.
  3. Click Import (File menu). The Open Library (or Import Library) dialog box appears, listing existing libraries.
  4. Browse to the network folder where you placed the library.
  5. Select the library and click OK. A dialog box appears where you can choose to import the library both for editing and assembly or for assembly only.
  6. Choose one of the following options, depending on whether the user will simply be using the templates or will be creating and editing templates that are shared on the network:
  • Click Assembly Only to allow only document assembly. If you choose this option, you can use the library to assemble documents and forms, but you can't change the library's structure or edit a template. This type of import is useful when you want to access company templates stored on the network but you don't have authorization to edit the templates. When you import for assembly only, the imported library contains references to the master library stored on the network, so any changes made to the master library will appear in the imported library the next time the user starts HotDocs.
  • Click Editing and Assembly to allow template and library editing, as well as document assembly. This option lets you use and edit the library and templates. HotDocs pastes a copy of the master library into the user's library. Because of this, any changes made to the master library will not appear in the imported library. HotDocs also asks if you want to import the associated template and component files. If you choose yes, HotDocs copies all the files to a location you specify. The imported library accesses the copies and any changes you make to the templates in the library will be made in these copies only. If you choose no, the library accesses the files stored on the network, and any changes you make will affect the network templates. The option you choose depends on how concerned you are about partially edited templates being used to produce documents and forms for clients. Only one user can edit a template at a time.

The selected library is copied into the current library as a folder, at the level you selected. (The folder has the same title as the imported library.)

Note: If the master library uses reference paths, each user will need to associate the reference path keyword with the network drive that contains the templates.