The Lexicata Form Builder gives you the ability to create powerful, customizable intake forms which can be filled out online from any device.
Keep in mind that the Form Builder is only used to create form templates and manage existing templates. It is not used for filling out forms or sending them to clients.
To learn more about sending out forms, filling them out, and managing your pending and submitted forms, see our Intake Forms feature guide.
The process of creating forms is pretty straightforward. You can add as many questions as you want, choose from different question types depending how you want the information to be input, add tips, make questions required, connect them to custom fields, and of course, go back and edit questions later or change the question order.
To add a question to your form, simply click on any of the different question types from the left side panel. New questions will automatically be added to the very bottom of the form, so it’s best to try to add them in order when possible.
Once the question has been added, you will need to input the text for the question, and potentially the answer choices, depending what type of field you are using.
Most users reference a PDF or Word form they have already created and simply copy/paste the field labels into the Lexicata Form Builder to make this process easier. But you can always just type the question text manually instead.
You can only work on a single question at any given time, so when you have finished making your changes, click the “Save Question” button to proceed with creating your form. Keep in mind that this button only saves the current question to the working version of your template, but it does not save the overall form template.
You will want to click the “Save & Preview” button frequently in order to save your overall progress and avoid any accidental loss of data. If you are building a long form we recommend saving multiple the form multiple times throughout the building period to ensure that your work is not lost.
The question settings provide some additional functionality for any given question. The question settings only apply to each individual question and not to the form in general. There are up to three different options in the question settings menu, depending on the type of question:
- Make Questions Required: if a particular question is really important, you can prevent the person filling out the form from skipping it by making the question required.
- Add Tips: if you need to provide an example answer input, define a term, or otherwise explain your question in greater detail, you can add some tip text. These are also sometimes used for "call scripts" for your employees to follow if they are filling the form out with the client.
- Connect Custom Fields: if you would like to connect a question to a custom field in Lexicata or Clio, you can map the question to the appropriate field from the question settings menu. See more information below in our section about connecting forms to custom fields.
If you need to modify a question that was already added to a form, simply click the “Edit” link next to that question. This will re-open the question editor and allow you to change the question text, answer options, or question settings.
Changing Question Order
If you need to change the order of questions on your form, you can do so by dragging and dropping them into place.
Just click and hold on the question you need to move, and drag your mouse up or down to reposition the question on the form. Release the mouse whenever your question is in the proper position, and the new question order will be set. Be sure that no questions are currently open in edit mode or this function will not work.
Always remember to save your changes by clicking the “Save & Preview” button.
Depending on what type of information is expected for the answer, you can select from a variety of different question types. Some question types work better than others in certain circumstances, and it will make your forms easier to fill out when you use the right question type.
Below is a list of all the possible question types, and an explanation of how they work and when they should be used:
The contact information question is actually a block of all the primary data fields for a contact: first and last name, phone number(s), address(es), and email address(es).
All of these fields connect to the database automatically, so whenever a contact submits the form, Lexicata will automatically update their contact information with the answers in these fields.
This question type provides one of the easiest ways to eliminate data entry from your intake process, because clients can fill out their own contact information on the form, and it will automatically update their records in your Lexicata account.
Keep in mind that this type of question can only be added once per form, and it will always update the contact assigned to the form, regardless of who fills the form out. This section is also not customizable.
Single Line Text
Single line text questions are simple, yet versatile. They are best used for short, variable answers that are no longer than a few words or a sentence. Single line text questions are probably the most frequently used type of question on most intake forms.
There are no restrictions or requirements on the answers, meaning the person filling out the form can type any string of text, numbers, or characters into the box.
For example, if you were asking for the name of someone’s insurance company, this would be a perfect situation to use a single line text question, since the answer is only likely to be a couple of words.
Paragraph text questions are very similar to single line text questions. The only difference is that the text box is larger, meaning these fields are best used for longer answers or descriptions with multiple sentences or paragraphs.
There are no restrictions or validations on the answers, meaning the person filling out the form can type any string of text, characters or numbers into the input.
You should use a paragraph text question instead of single line text whenever you are asking for a more detailed answer, and the answer will likely be longer than a single sentence.
For example, a question like “Describe the events leading up to your arrest:” would be a good example of a paragraph text question.
Multiple choice questions provide the person filling out the form with a predefined list of answer options to choose from. They are helpful in situations where there are only a few potential options to select from, and you want to ensure that the person can only provide an answer choice that you provide.
The actual inputs on the form will be radio buttons, which means that only one answer choice can be selected from the list.
A good example of a multiple choice question would be something like “What is your preferred method of contact?” - since there are fairly limited options, you can provide a list to select from such as Phone, Email, and Text Message.
Rather than having to type their answer, they can select one option with a single click. This saves time filling out the form and ensures their response will be input accurately without any typos.
Multiple choice questions also allow for conditional logic and follow up questions, as explained below in the section on Conditional Logic.
Checkbox questions are similar to multiple choice, in that you can provide a list of answer options instead of a blank textbox. The key difference from multiple choice is that with a checkbox question, the person answers the question can select multiple answer options rather than just one.
Checkbox questions are best used in “select all that apply” type scenarios.
For example, if you were asking someone to select the types of assets they own. You can create a list of options such as Car, House, Art, Stocks, etc., and they can indicate which of the options are true for them by checking the boxes.
Dropdown questions are very similar to multiple choice questions in that you can provide a predefined list of answer choices, and the person filling out the form can only select a single answer choice.
The difference is that the list of options is contained in a dropdown menu and will not be revealed until the dropdown menu is clicked, rather than being listed out and always visible on the page. For this reason, the best time to use a dropdown menu instead of multiple choice is when there is a large number of possible options.
For example, if you need to ask which state in the U.S. issued someone’s driver’s license, there would be 50 options. Listing all 50 options on the page would take up a lot of space, so this would be a perfect instance to use a dropdown question.
Section breaks are not actually questions used to input information. They are merely used to divide up the form and make it easier to navigate.
Each section break gives you the ability to add a heading and optionally, some instructions for that section.
The headings can help with grouping the form into logical sections, and the instructions are useful to help users understand what each section is about and how they should answer the questions.
For example, on an estate planning form, you may want to have one section for Financial Information and another section for Family Information. You would use the section break option to divide up these sections and provide any relevant instructions for the person filling out the form.
File attachment questions are one of the most useful types of questions you can add to a form. Rather than inputting an answer, the person filling out the form will have the ability to upload a file and submit it into Lexicata along with the rest of their information.
For example, if you wanted to ask someone to provide photos of the damage to their car after an accident, you could use a file attachment field and ask the person to attach the photos directly to the form, using either their computer or their smart phone.
When the form is submitted, those files will automatically be added to the matter under the “Files” tab for safe storage. This provides a very streamlined process for gathering important documents, images, or other files that you need to collect during your intake process. Keep in mind, only one file can be uploaded for each file upload question.
A date question functions much like a single line text field, with one important difference, which is that the field will only accept a date in MM/DD/YYYY format.
The date fields also provide a calendar picker tool which pops up when you click in the field. This enables you to quickly select the correct date by clicking on the calendar as opposed to having to type it in manually.
Date fields, as you probably assumed, are best used when asking for a specific date such as date of birth, date of marriage, date of an incident, etc.
Yes or No
A yes or no question is exactly the same as a multiple choice question, but with one key limitation, which is that the only possible answer choices are “yes” and “no.”
The idea behind having a specific yes or no question type is just to help save time in building forms, since yes/no questions are quite common and useful.
Yes or no questions can be answered with just a single click, and they have the ability to add follow up questions or conditional logic as well.
A question such as “Have you ever been arrested before?” would be a perfect situation where a yes or no question should be used.
Conditional Logic & Follow Up Questions
One of the most useful and powerful features of Lexicata’s Form Builder is the ability to use conditional logic in order to ask precise follow up questions in response to a particular answer.
This will help make your forms appear shorter, more focused, and easier to fill out by eliminating questions which are not relevant in certain situations. You cannot add a follow up question to a follow up question (e.g. if you ask 'have you previously been arrested?' and your options are 'yes' or 'no' you cannot add a follow up questions if they click yes). However, you can have two follow up questions to the same answer choice.
When You Can Use Follow Up Questions
You can add conditional logic to ask follow up questions in response to any answer choice of a multiple choice or yes or no question. You can also add more than one follow up per answer choice if necessary.
This gives you a lot of flexibility and enables you to structure your forms in such a way that many irrelevant questions can potentially be eliminated for particular clients.
Types of Follow Up Questions
You can select from three different question types for the actual follow up questions:
- Single line text
- Paragraph text
- File attachment
Connecting Forms to Custom Fields
You can connect questions to custom fields in order to automate data entry of important information into Lexicata. This custom field data can also be used to automatically populate documents, which means custom fields act as the link between forms and documents in Lexicata.
Connecting a question on a form to a custom field is very easy and it can be done from the question settings area, which is covered in more detail above.
Simply check the box to indicate that a particular question should connect to a custom field, select from either your contact custom fields or matter custom fields, and then you will use the dropdown menu below to choose the proper field to complete the mapping process.
Limitations with Connecting Forms to Custom Fields
Keep in mind that there are some limitations with the way forms can connect to custom fields. Below is a summary of the types of questions that can be connected to custom fields, and which types of custom fields they can connect to:
- Single line text questions → Single line text custom fields
- Paragraph text questions → Paragraph text custom fields
- Multiple choice questions → Single line text custom fields
- Dropdown questions → Single line text custom fields
- Date questions → Date custom fields
- Yes or no questions → Checkbox custom fields
It is not currently possible to connect checkbox questions to any custom field types. It is also not possible to connect any question type to the following custom field types:
- Dropdown custom fields
- Contact select custom fields
- Email custom fields
- Integer custom fields
- Money custom fields
- Website custom fields
We do plan to add support for these other types of custom fields in the future.
Connecting Forms to Clio
One of the biggest benefits of using Lexicata and Clio together is the ability to automate date entry by connecting your intake forms to your Clio custom fields.
This process is really easy, and is no different from connecting a Lexicata custom field to an intake form, aside from the fact that you must first sync your Clio custom fields to Lexicata from your settings.
Once your Clio custom fields have been synced to Lexicata, you can connect questions on your forms to these custom fields, the same way as explained above.
When the intake form is submitted to Lexicata, you can then export the corresponding contact and/or matter from Lexicata to Clio, and it will automatically populate all your Clio custom fields with the data from the form.
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