Usually, when you create a template you are not starting from scratch. You'll start with a sample, previous template or other exemplar.
First, you'll want to review your source document and clean up the formatting to avoid issues or additional work down the road. Here are some helpful tips to clean up (or convert) your Word document:
Next, you'll want to go through and identify all the fields in the document that would change from matter to matter. It helps to highlight the fields so you can easily find them.
Try to identify and highlight all the fields in the following Georgia Complaint for divorce.
GA Complaint without marked fields.docx
Take a look at the fields we highlighted and compare them with fields you found. The following fields have been highlighted: Court County, Plaintiff Full Name, Defendant Full Name, File Number, Date of Marriage, number of children, Child 1 Full Name, Child 1 gender, Child 1 date of birth, Child 2 full name, Child 2 gender, Child 2 date of birth, date of settlement agreement, Attorney name and Bar Number.
You may be wondering why the attorney address is not highlighted as a field. Usually when a law firm sets up templates their address will not change from document to document. But if you are working with an organization that has multiple offices, these certainly could be fields that change from matter to matter. This is why you always want to make sure you understand how the template is going to be used before setting it up.
GA Complaint with marked fields.docx
After we have identified all the fields, let's try to group the fields into cards...
Below, is how I would suggest grouping these fields. The card names are listed in Bold with the fields that would be included listed below each card.
Next, let's add the card and field names to the template.
GA Complaint with marked fields and cards.docx
Now you have gone through the process we refer to as "prepping" the template. Taking the time to go through these steps before you even open the template builder to organize your document, identify fields and organize those fields into cards will make it much easier to actually set up the template. Stated differently, these steps will help save you time.
Ask for Clarification
If you are setting up a template for someone else and you have questions about the document, whether it is about the roles or the language that changes, we recommend that you ask those questions while you're going the prepping process but before you start setting up the template. Jumping into the actual template set up without a clear plan is not a recipe for success.
With templates, it always helps to Measure Twice and Cut Once!