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How to create my contract template
How to create my contract template

Learn how to create a contract template on Parallel from scratch

Derek avatar
Written by Derek
Updated over a week ago

With Parallel, you can manage contract workflows and automate the generation of either simple or complex contracts.

This tutorial will teach you how to set up your first document on Parallel.

For this tutorial, we will use the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) made available by the European IP Helpdesk and see how we can automate that document on Parallel.

1. Starting a new template from scratch

Create a new template and choose the Template from scratch option.

2. Copying your existing contract to Parallel

In the Compose tab, copy the content from your contract (the NDA in this tutorial) into the text blocks.

For that, we recommend breaking down the document into smaller parts. There is not a single way to do it, but here are some tips when breaking it down:

  1. Keep at least parties, recitals, and clauses as three independent parts.

  2. For each clause, create a different text block.

  3. If a clause changes based on parameters that a user chooses, separate the part that can change into a separate text block.

You can leave text block titles empty or use them if you want to render a title in the document.

You can navigate to the Preview tab or the more options button to see a preview and download a sample PDF.

After copying the agreement, the table of contents, the first part, and the last part should look similar to this:

3. Automating the document

With the document already copied in the parallel template, we next want to automate it to build new documents with data that we fill in.

In this section, you will learn how to use references to create automated documents step by step.

a) Automating the contract date

First, add a date field right below the first text block and uncheck the “Show in PDF“ option so that the field only appears in the form but not in the final document.

Next, write the value “contract_date“ in the References field in the same settings window. As its name indicates, it is a powerful feature that allows you to refer to the replies of the field or even to quickly find the value if you are using Parallel’s API. Let’s see how in the next step.

Now, go back to the first text block and change the text, and include the reference to the date where it should appear.

We added the “ | date” to format the reference as a date. You can learn more about references and their formulas here.

If you have followed all the steps above, go to the Preview tab, add a reply to the date field, and after the reply is saved, you should see this:

b) Automating the parties

Follow the same steps as before, and create this set of fields for each party:

  • Corporate name as a text field.

  • Registered office as a text field.

Remember to uncheck the “Show in PDF“ option in the field settings.

Your parallel should look like this:

Now, go to the table of contents on the right side of the window. If you put your mouse over the Corporate name field of the Disclosing Party, you will see that a button to add a reference will appear. Click on it and set a reference for the field.

Once created, go back to the table of contents. The button should have changed now, and you can copy the reference directly or choose to apply a formula.

Use the Uppercase formula for the corporate name and the standard reference for the registered office. Then paste it into the first text block.

Repeat the process with the other three fields and copy all the references in the first text block.

When you finish, your first text block should look like this:

You can now test it in the Review tab and see the results yourself.

c) Automating the rest of the document

Now you know the basics of how to automate the document. Go through the whole document, find all the brackets, and try to fill them yourself with references to new fields that you create for that specific purpose.

Here are a few tips:

  • References can be used as many times as you want in different fields.

  • References can only be included in the description of a field.

  • You can create references from every field type.

4. Adding conditional clauses

After creating your document template, you realize that the parties are not always companies. And it is essential to consider that scenario since you will need to include the information of the legal representatives when they are companies, but not when they are individuals.

In this section, you will learn how to use conditional logic to customize the text of every clause.

a) Setting up the conditions and the fields

First, add a Multiple choice field to ask whether the Disclosing Party is an individual or a legal entity. Also, ensure that you can only choose one reply and that it will not show in the PDF.

Add the following fields for the scenario where the party is a legal entity:

  • Legal representative’s full name

Then, add these fields for when the party is an individual:

  • Full name

  • Legal address

After adding all the fields above, go to the bottom right side of each field, click on the Add condition button and choose to show the fields based on the option selected in the “Disclosing Party is” field.

It should now look like this:

Do the same for the Receiving Party.

b) Automating texts based on the replies

With all the fields prepared, we can now automate the document's text that will appear based on the option we choose.

We will explain to you two different ways to do that. The first one with field conditionals is more visual, and the second one with text conditionals is based on the templating language Liquid, which is also implemented in tools such as Shopify or Github.

Each option has its pros and cons. However, we suggest you learn both. It gives you a potent tool you will not find in any other document automation solution. We have seen users mastering and combining both of them, allowing them to create and automate super-advanced documents.

Automating texts with field conditionals

Add two new text blocks, one after the "Disclosing Party is" question and another after the “Receiving Party is” question, and copy the parties' paragraphs into each one of the new blocks.

The paragraph you just pasted in these new fields only applies when the party is a legal entity. Let’s change this to also include the individual scenario following these steps:

  1. Clone the field.

  2. Change the texts to adjust them to both scenarios.

  3. Change the references to the appropriate fields.

  4. Add conditions to each text block to show them accordingly.

Your text blocks should look like this.

⚠ Note: Field conditionals can only look for the replies in previous fields. That’s why you need to add the text block after the “Disclosing Party” question.

Now, stop here before doing the same with the Receiving Party. In the next section, you will learn how to do it the other way with text conditionals.

Automating texts with conditional templating

Go to the table of contents and create a reference for the “Receiving Party is” field.

After creating the reference, go back to the same field in the table of contents, select the Other options button, and choose the Conditional text option. This action will copy a formula to your clipboard that will help you automate the texts.

Now, go to the F. text block and paste the content you just copied after the paragraph you already have there. This is what you should see:

⚠ Note: An important difference between field conditionals and text conditionals is that the latter allows you to look for replies from other fields, whether they are before or after the field you are working with.

Let’s break down the code above to understand better the conditional statement.

{% if receiver_type contains "an individual" %} 
This sentence will be displayed when "an individual" is selected.

This first part tells us that if the receiver_type field reply contains the text “an individual“, the text that will show is “This sentence will be displayed when "an individual" is selected.“

If the first condition is met, the code will stop evaluating the rest of the condition statement. But if the condition does not apply, the statement will continue evaluating, and it will look at the following statement:

{% elsif receiver_type contains "a legal entity" %}
This sentence will be displayed when "a legal entity" is selected.

The elsif statement equals “else if“, allowing you to evaluate another condition if the first one did not meet.

In case none of the above conditions are met, the code will evaluate the else statement:

{% else %}
This sentence will be displayed if none of the previous options is selected.

Last, every conditional statement needs to be closed with the endif tag. If you forget to include it, your code will not work.

{% endif %}

Now that you know what the code means, let’s trim it and put the proper contents that should be displayed in each scenario, based on whether the receiver_type is an individual or a legal entity.

You can keep it simple and leave it like this:

You can go to the Preview tab, test it, and see the result.

By now, you know how to automate texts and clauses in two different ways. This is probably the most challenging part of designing when automating a document, but once you master it, you can build any document you can imagine.

5. Choosing who has to fill the data

With the current setup, if you send the parallel to your customer with the agreement, you and your recipients will be able to see all the fields. However, sometimes you will not want your customers to know that you have discretion over the conditions of some clauses or that you can choose amongst different representatives in your company with powers to sign.

In our example, let’s imagine that you want to establish a four-year duration for the NDA, and you don’t want your customer to know that you can decide on that period.

Go to the L. text block (Miscellaneous clause) and add a Numbers field between the K. and L. fields:

In the Numbers field, activate the Internal field setting. With this option, only you and your team will see the field, but not your recipients.

Finish customizing the other options and the field title, set up a reference to the field reply, and add the reference in clause 4.1.1. When you finish, it should look like this:

Try to create a parallel from this template and send it to yourself. You will see that you won’t be seeing the duration question as a recipient.

Now that you have learned how to set up internal fields, you can use this feature to customize all the clauses and conditions that are decided internally before sending a contract to your counterparty.

6. Adding a signature process

For the automated contract you just created, you will need to sign it once it is completed.

You can easily add a signature process with our native signature providers integrations to do so. Just follow the steps below.

Go to the Settings tab that you can find next to the table of contents in the Compose tab and click on the add eSignature process button:

It will open a window where you can choose the signature provider, the document title, and when you want the signature process to start.

Here you can choose whether you want to initiate the process right after your recipient has completed replying to all the fields, or after you have reviewed the information that your recipient has submitted. Here are a couple of tips on the latter option:

  • You should choose the first option (After the petition is completed) if you are looking to close your workflows fast, no matter the accuracy of the information.

  • You should always choose the second option (After reviewing the information) if you need to confirm that all the information contained in the document is correct.

Complete all the necessary options and click on the Continue button. It will guide you through the second step, where you can predefine signers.

This is very useful if you want to predetermine the person in your company that will always sign the documents generated from that template, for example, the person with the powers to sign them.

Once you save the configuration, every new contract you start from this template will automatically inherit these signature settings.

7. Conclusions

This tutorial taught you everything you need to know to automate your contract workflows. After creating your first template, you will see that the following ones will be easy peasy.

Now it’s time for you to create your contracts and speed up your business processes. And if you have any questions when you create a contract template, feel free to contact our support team!

Lastly, we have included two bonus guides that can help you improve the experience with parallel for you and your recipients. Enjoy!

8. Bonus: Enriching the text formats

Other than setting the document format, you may want to emphasize some of the texts in your document with texts in italics or bold.

To do that, you can go to the article where we explain how to add formatting to the templates and learn more about our using markdown.

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