HotDocs Templates

This page covers uploading a template and mapping the fields. See Hotdocs Site Setup for displaying and using templates. 

Setting up a New Template

  • Someone at the client agency must upload a template to the LawHelp Interactive (LHI) server.
  • The component file gets generated and the Lawhelp interactive URL Suffix. These are necessary for setting up the template in LegalServer.
  • Users setting up a new template need 2 permissions: View Template Links (Hotdocs) and Administer documents.

    Upload a template. Admin > Documents, then Actions menu > Create a new document. 

    • Set template type to Hotdocs template,
    • Set folder type to Hotdocs components
    • Enter Law help Interactive URL Suffix
    • Don’t set LPC, SLPC, Counties, languages , programs, and offices. These don’t export in the downloaded .XML file, each agency will set these when they upload the XML file into their version of LegalServer.

Mapping Fields

  • First choose which fields from the template you want to map (not all fields will be necessary). *See Caveats section below.

    Next you will set-up Actors.

    • Actors are the different labels for data buckets in LegalServer where you will pull data from, to map the fields selected in step one. Actors can be labeled as people (meaning you need to pull data which is stored on a person) or more general data tables such as case data or organizations. Some example of people actors are; petitioner, client, child, parents, Guardian ad litum.
    • There are currently only seven types of actor types in the database: Assignment, Case Data, Grant Applications, Grant Data, Organization, Document Info, and Person. Each new actor you create and any existing actor ties to one of these six tables in the database.
    • Actors are a lookup, so if you need to add a value it can be added in the admin section under lookups and then tied to an actor type.
    • List order controls the order in which the person will fill out the data when they launch the Hotdocs process.
    • Header relates to the Hotdocs process on the form display. Most of the time this will be blank.
    • If you want to provide additional information in the process on the form, you would enter that in the instruction field.
    • Default type & default index – This refers to the actors data that you want to default in the form. For example, if there are 3 children being adopted, you would create actors for child1, child2, child3, set the default type to child, then on each actor, default the index to 1, 2, or 3. This can also related to sub actors if you wanted to show each child’s 3 most recent addresses, you would add address, then do the same for their default type and default index.
    • Each actor can also have sub actors, like an address, employment, marital status, and organization affiliation.
  • Drag and drop LegalServer fields to map to Hotdocs field. Every field has a Transform field to change to all uppercase/lower case (click plus button on the field once it’s been dropped into the field it’s mapped to).
  • A single LegalServer field can map to multiple fields in a Hotdocs template.
  • There is also a field search box on LegalServer fields to assist the user in finding fields where you’re unsure of the category they would appear in.
  • Lasly, the summary page shows a summary of all fields that were mapped. If everything looks correct, you click to “download document and mapped fields”. This downloads the xml file which can be emailed to all IL administrators. Once they get the xml file, they would use the “upload documents and mapped fields” link to add the template to their system. Each agency then sets; LPC, SLPC, Counties, Languages, Programs, and offices. If ILAO created new actors for a template, those actors will be force created on the client site when they upload the document so the new fields which were mapped will work. Each agency will need the Hotdocs templates block set-up on their case profile.

Configuring it for Access

To access a HotDocs Template from the LegalServer interface, you'll need to add the HotDocs Templates block to a Case Profile or Auxiliary Form.

Monitoring Use

Under Admin -> HotDocs Sent and Received From and To LHI you can see a list of the templates sent over to LHI and the documents received from LHI.

User Side

  • On a case under the Hotdocs tab, you can either click to “Start Hotdocs process” or “Go directly to Hotdocs server”. If you start the process, the user gets to manually configure defaults for the Hotdocs process. If you just go directly to the Hotdocs server, the defaults set-up by the administrator in the template will appear in the process.
  • If you start a process, and don’t finish, LegalServer saves the answer file, (ANX file) to the generated documents folder and provides a "Resume Process" link to start where you left off.


  • Custom fields don’t export as part of “download document and mapped fields”. If an agency creates a custom field and maps to it when setting up a new template, this will not export for distribution to other LegalServer sites. Each site must create its own custom field and map to it.
  • You can’t map to computation fields. Those get generated in the Hotdocs process when you launch.
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