On Outlaw, contracts are not simply copies of templates; unlike in Microsoft Word, contracts and templates are accessed in different environment where you can take different types of actions and accomplish different tasks--which lets Outlaw combine the functions of Word, printer/scanner/fax, email, and DocuSign all into one platform. 

These different environments are:

  1. Template editor (accessed in Templates Tab)
  2. Contract viewer (accessed in Contracts Tab)

Here is a side-by-side comparison of what the same document looks like in these two environments (at left is the template and at right is the contract generated from it):

As seen above, the template (left side) has specially-formatted text objects that convert to dynamic, fill-able fields in the contract (right side). See the "Company" and "date" fields above as examples. And looking at the toolbar and icons surrounding the text, it is clear that a user can do very different things in each environment.

Template Editor

Similar to Word, the template editor is where source documents (master copies) for contracts are created. A difference is that on Outlaw, templates can include "dynamic" features so that contracts generated from a template pull in not just static text (as in Word), but also placeholders for fill-able special fields that update in real time, and even automated "behaviors."

For example, one of the most basic dynamic features you can add to a template is a signature block, where parties can legally e-sign the contract they've negotiated. A placeholder for a signature field looks like this:

The signature field is holding space for information (names and signatures of parties), but is also determining behavior, as one may choose here to enable date-stamping. If the box is checked, signatures on contracts generated from this template will be date-stamped; if the box is unchecked, they will not. 

Here is what the resulting signature field looks like in the contract:

This is just one example of many dynamic features it is possible to configure in the template editor. The important thing to understand is that creating templates involves making decisions about what dynamic features to include and how they should work, and these decisions are applied to each new contract generated from the template.

Contract Set Up & Review Environment

Once all static text and dynamic features have been added and automated behaviors have been configured in the template editor, you can begin generating contracts in the contract review environment.

This environment is tailored to the tasks of collaboratively drafting, reviewing, editing, negotiation, and executing contracts, and has many tools and features to support these tasks, from red-lining to version history, to one-click sharing and e-signature.

Which should I edit:  template or contract?

If you want to change something for a specific deal, edit in the contract review environment. If you want to change something for all future contracts, edit the template in the template editor.

Remember, it's not just text but also behavior that is configured at the template level; so if you want to enable features that automate things like date-stamping, filling in default values for dynamic variables, or automatic sharing of contracts with teammates, these are actions to take in the template editor.

Note that changes to templates are not retroactive. Changes made to templates impact future contracts, but are not applied to contracts created previously.

A Far More Powerful Tool!

Once your team is aware of the range of capabilities available in the template editor and contract review environments combined, there is so much you can do! Having distinct environments for template creation and contract review means users can create, send, negotiate, and sign deals all on Outlaw, making it a far more flexible and powerful tool for contract management.

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