Moving from basic to advanced

   Pathagoras allows you to approach document assembly with a methodical, measured pace. It allows you to implement as much or as little of the program as you wish, as fast or as slowly as you wish. You can use the simplest of setups to get you started and then take advantage of the automation provided by Pathagoras to elevate the sophistication of your source text to any level you desire.

   Unlike so many other programs out there, Pathagoras is not an 'all or nothing' type program. Start as simply as you like (or -- and we are not dissing anyone here -- as your skill level allows). Build on your successes on your own or using automation tools provided by Pathagoras.

   Not a single step is wasted by starting 'simple.' You will not have to 'start over' if you decide to take a different approach. Pathagoras is replete with conversion tools so that you can experiment with different document assembly techniques. If you decide to try a different approach, use Pathagoras conversion tools to make the conversions for you.

    As you begin creating your source text, don't try to 'eat the whole elephant' at the beginning. It can lead to frustration. Our suggestion is that you start 'Pathagorizing' your first form by creating 'simple' variables and 'simple' optional text blocks in a single relatively simple document. Play with that document to see and understand the action of Pathagoras. A 'simple' variable is a word surrounded by square brackets: [Client Name] is a simple variable. A simple optional text block is just a word, sentence, paragraph or group of paragraphs surrounded by curly braces. {This is optional text.}

   Once you appreciate the easy stuff, then move on to augment and advance the document to incorporate some of the more advanced features of Pathagoras.

   Pathagoras conversion tools allow you to move from 'basic' to 'advanced' in an automated fashion. These tools include:

Convert variable to simple options. Most of the time, a variable should remain a variable. But sometimes the variables are more in the nature of the document's structure. Examples, the sex of the client; the number of children. These items can be handled as variables (and for the beginner, they should), but the gender of the client and (perhaps more obviously) the presence or absence of children are more 'structural' in nature. Huge chunks of the document's rough draft would be eliminated if there are no children.

Convert simple options to robust Options/Optional blocks. With these more robust blocks in place, you can present to the user more meaningful prompts that lead the user to the right choice. So instead of just showing the first 100 characters of the text of each of the options in the 'select' screen, you can present meaningful questions for the user to answer. Plus, with these robust blocks in place, you are just one step away from 'AskOptions.' Read more below.

Convert 'robust blocks' to an <<AskTable>>. When Options/Optional and Repeats blocks are in place, with each augmented with a !groupname!, Pathagoras' wizard can collect all such blocks and place them at the 'top' of the document. When the document is processed, all questions are asked at the start and at one time. This avoids the repetitive ask one question/give one answer that the other processes use. This becomes the 'ultimate' in document assembly ease and speed.

Conversion tools can be found under the Wizards and Assistants section of the Pathagoras Features list. When clicked you will be taken to this screen:


   Note the various tabs under the title line. You can convert from Folder to Glossary, from Glossary to folder; if you have HotDocs® documents, you can convert the variables contained therein to simple variables recognized by Pathagoras. And more germane to the topic of this page, you can convert simple variables to simple options and simple options to robust options, all with just the click of a mouse.

   Click on the appropriate button and follow the prompts that Pathagoras will provide.