How to Use the Multiple Choice Database

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This video shows how to setup and use the Multiple Choice Database feature in the Proposal Pack Wizard software Expert Edition. This feature allows you to create pick lists of content that will be dropped into proposals as they are assembled. You can make lists of product or service information, resumes of staff, packages, specifications, etc. You can use Word documents, pictures, PDF files, spreadsheets and so on as your drop in content.

Proposal Pack HelpWatch this related video: How to Create Reusable Content - Making Copies of Stock Templates

Video Transcription
How to Use the Multiple Choice Database

In this video we're going to show you how the Proposal Pack Wizard's Multiple Choice Database feature works. This feature allows you to create pick lists of items that you can drop into your proposals at the document generation time. Those lists of items can be complete Word documents, pictures, PDF files, spreadsheets, any kind of document type that Word and insert into a Word document.

Some uses for this would be if you have a list of staff resumes you want to be able to show your client one or more people that they will be working with and you want to be able to dynamically create that in the document when you generate it because you might have different lists of people for giving to clients. This can be used for packages of information where you want to select a list of packages for the customer to choose from. Options lists, product information, specifications sheets, your services anything that you have multiple items that you want to drop into a page.

Now we have other features that will allow you to have multiple templates. Say if you want to have more than one products page or more than one services page and then select the entire page at assembly time. This is a different feature where the Multiple Choice Database is going to have a list of items you can pick one or more from and it will drop all that content one after the other into a single spot in a single page.

So there's a couple things we need to do. We need to identify the pages in the proposals that are going to be used to drop content into. This might be the products page or the services page or the staffing or a resume page and so on.

The products options page. It just identify the templates or the chapters where content can get dropped into. Then we have to create all that content and then link it up into the Wizard's Multiple Choice Database.

Once the data's been set up then we can generate documents using that data. To get more information look at the Proposal Pack Wizard manual. And you can just search, type CTRL-F, search for the word "multiple" and you'll find this chapter How do I Use Multiple Choice Fields.

So this will go into more depth how to use the Multiple Choice Database. Just find that chapter in the Wizard Manual. And you can get to the manual from your home screen View Manual and should also be linked on your desktop.

That'll be the Documentation. PDF file in your Wizard folder. We'll show one quick tip here on how to set up external files for use with the Multiple Choice Database.

Because if we're going to be creating a bunch of content to drop in. A lot of times that content can be held in Word documents. When you are combining multiple Word documents Word is going to have a set of rules that it follows to assemble documents together and how it's going to apply document formatting.

What formatting takes precedence over other formatting. So you have the possibility that formatting of your text can change when you drop in content so we want to prevent that from happening. We've created a little test file here.

It's just a plain Word document with no customizations to it other than we've typed in some text and it uses all the stock default Word Styles so this is all Normal text. So what we want to do is we want to add all the Proposal Kit custom Word Styles to our custom content to help ensure that we don't have formatting problems down the road. So what we're going to do is so you've been creating your content in documents that you're going to use to drop in later.

A quick and easy way to add Word Styles that will match the Proposal Kit Styles is to use the Wizard. Go into the Preferences, click this Tools tab and click this Batch Process Documents button. We'll browse to the folder that we keep our documents in.

This is going to be wherever you happen to be putting your custom content on your computer. Make sure you keep backup files of all your content before you start applying these things. So let's just select our Temp2 folder and all we're going to do is Add Proposal Kit Word Styles and start the batch.

And it's just going to go through every document we have in our custom folder and it's going to apply the same Word Styles that whatever Proposal Pack design theme you have it uses. Now we're going to open up this file again. You see the text is all still the same, nothing's been modified here.

The only thing that's happened is the Wizards batch process has added all of the Proposal Kits custom Word Styles. So what you should do now is apply our Proposal Kit Word Styles to the content that you're going to be creating for your multiple choice files. So, for example, header text we can use Proposal Kit Sub Header 1 or Sub Header for a smaller font size.

We're going to set anything that was Normal text to Proposal Kit Body Text and we're going to redo our bullet points. You can do any custom formatting so do Clear Formatting and start from scratch. I will just apply the Proposal Kit Bullet List.

So that all we've really done is we're just modifying our content to apply Proposal Kit Word Styles to the text. This will help ensure that when this content gets dropped into your proposal by this Multiple Choice Database feature that no formatting changes will occur. You'll be using the same exact Word Stylings as the Wizard is going to be using.

So that's just a quick tip to prevent future formatting issues using the Multiple Choice Database. Okay, now to set up the Multiple Choice Database. Click the Wizard's Preferences button.

Click the Data and Display tab and click the Configure Multiple Choice button. Now we've created some content already ahead of time and we're going to create three multiple choice lists. One is a list of just pictures so you can see how you can use pictures as your content.

And two lists of Word documents. One list is going to be a list of product information another will be a list of staff resumes. So in the end we're going to have three drop-down lists that users are going to select when they're creating projects with drop-in content.

So how do we set this all up in the Wizard's database? The Multiple Choice Database feature is based on selecting a template the content will get dropped into. Putting a tag into that template so the Wizard knows where to drop the content into. Then setting up a list of content, which we call paragraphs.

A paragraph can be any of these things, pictures, PDF files, documents, spreadsheets and so on. And attach a list of those to that tag. So our first list we use the People tag.

These are just titles that we've given it to help you organize it if you're going to have used different tags for different situations all in the same document. If you only have have one drop-down list you might only use one of these categories like the Services or Products or so on. So let's select the People category and each category has some tags predefined to go along with it.

So we'll just pick the first tag on the list Multiple Choice 21 and edit the tag. Now we want to force the user to always make a selection so we're going to check this box. And we want to allow the user to select more than one from the data entry screen when they're creating projects.

We'll just check this box and we're just going to leave these labels and tags alone. Now we have to assign the tag to an actual template. Since we're using the resumes of staff we're just going to find the Resume page.

Now there are other pages you could use the staff page or key personnel page, officers and board page. We're just going to pick the Resume page. Okay, now that we have the Resume page selected we need to edit it.

So we'll click the Edit Selected Template button. And we need to put this tag <> into the template. It's going to pop up messages reminding us what we need to type into this template <>.

We're going to delete all the stock text out of this template and we're just going to type with our keyboard <>. This is just text I'm typing in with the keyboard. So we have our tag in here and we save it.

Now the Wizard knows where to drop in the content when it assembles everything. Also since we're going to allow multiple choices we want to have a delimiter that goes between all of the drop-in content. So you can have no delimiter, lines, paragraphs, custom breaks.

We're going to do a custom delimiter and I'll show how this setup works. So if you're going to use a custom delimiter that's a delimiter you can define within a Word document that'll get dropped in in between all of the drop in content. That delimiter if you're going to use the custom delimiter you have to edit this file in your ProposalProjects_V## folder.

This version number will be the version of the Wizard you have. Right now it's version 14. So find your proposal projects folder and that's usually in your C:\\ProposalKit\ProposalPack folder.

Find the proposal projects folder, find the paragraph files folder. Once you find that folder you'll find a file called DefaultDelimiter. Open that and edit it.

So we've already edited this. By default it'll just be a black line. So I just made a thinner line and I've put some blank space before and after it and we've set the color to kind of match our Software #2 design theme.

And you can see what we did is we added a half inch top and bottom to give some white space between the selections. So you can define your own custom delimiter in a Word document. You can use anything, you can put pictures, shapes paragraphs, line breaks, anything you want here.

Okay, that's how you define a custom delimiter. Now that we have the tag set up and attached to a specific template we need to add all the data. These three resume files.

So we call them Paragraphs a Paragraph is just a block of content attached to a tag. That Paragraph can be a Word document, a picture, a PDF file, a spreadsheet and so on. Now that we have our tag selected we just click Add Paragraph to Tag.

You have two options here. We're doing this in the way that we've pre-created all the documents and content in our Temp folder here. If you want the Wizard to create a blank document for you to start editing from scratch to drop your content into you can use this Open and Edit button and the Wizard will create this file for you.

Or you can skip this and just browse straight to an existing file. So we're going to browse to our Resume1. You can see here we've put in a picture and we have text.

So I'm going to give it a title that matches what's in that actual document. So that's just my name. And that's all there is to it.

You just give it a title and link to a document. That's just a static dropped in document. We do support the linking of files.

OLE links are good if you want to have your external content be able to be edited and then have the Word document that's inserted into auto-update. So this is good for spreadsheets for example or PDF documents that might change where you don't want to have to reinsert that content later if it gets updated. We're just going to do static links now.

And you can see these options here they're grayed out. These are for pictures and we'll show that later because they're grayed out now because we're inserting a document. So we'll just add a few more paragraphs.

So Resume #1 - that's for Tom. Resume #3 that's for Jennifer. So we're just going to add these files.

Now these titles I'm giving these. This is just for our information these are going to be what shows up in the drop-down lists at document assembly time when you're picking your drop in content. So give these titles that you're going to recognize later.

Okay, so we've got the three resumes done. Now let's go to the Products category and we'll just select the first tag for that, edit that and again we'll check these boxes. We'll select our same custom delimiter and since this is a list of products pages we're going to go down and find the Products template.

Now we'll edit the Products template. We have to put in the <> tag this time. That's the tag we've selected.

And we're going to delete our stock content and we've added just using text with the keyboard <>. And I have the screen up here so I can double check. That's correct, now we can add these four product pages as the paragraphs.

So I'm just going to open these up as I go. So Proposal Kit Professional, that's our first title. If you've got your content created it's pretty quick to just add these paragraphs.

Okay, so I've got all the products added now our third list is going to be a list of pictures. And we'll show how the custom categories work. So we're just going to edit the categories and will just change Custom #1 to be Photos.

I'll just again pick the first tag on the list and we're going to use the Options chapter. So for example we might be showing a customer a list of possible graphic design theme options for a website or something. This could be anything else, options for insurance packages it could be options for heavy equipment it could be options for parts, anything you want.

Now edit this template. Now we have to put in this tag <> and so once again we will delete the boilerplate content and we're going to put <> as our tag. And we're going to drop in these five pictures as our paragraphs.

I'm just going to title these based on the names of the pictures. The design theme is in the pictures. You'll see the Wizard sees that we are importing a graphic so you have the option of changing the wrapping, scaling factor or horizontal or vertical position and so on.

Okay, so now we have three multiple choice drop-down lists created. We've edited these stock templates to put in tags so the Wizard knows where to drop in the content and we are ready to start generating documents. One last thing we can do is we can run a quick test by clicking this button here.

This will cause the Wizard to run through a quick test operation and that's going to just double check all of our settings and make sure there aren't missing files or anything was incorrectly set up. So you can kind of look through this report and everything's fine. It's just telling us what all has been created.

It actually does a little test dropping in the content with our custom delimiter so you can see what it will look like if all options were dropped in. So you can see how it just put in the delimiter in between everything. It's good so now we'll get out of the Preferences and now we're ready to start generating actual documents.

So we're going to create a project and you'll note that the wizard already pre-selected three templates because we set up the Multiple Choice Database with the options checked that tell the Wizard that the user must make a selection. The Wizard knows what templates we have setup for the Multiple Choice Database so it automatically selects those for us just to speed things up so we don't have to go and select the Options, Resume and Products pages. It's already been selected for us.

So we'll add a few more pages Cover Letter, Title Page, Back Page, an Executive Summary and a Cost Summary. And let's move the Products page up a little bit. Now we are ready to set up the rest of the data.

So our Company Data, that's just whatever you have filled in when you set up the Wizard and then Client Data. The Multiple Choice you see the gold arrows pointing to a multiple choice button because the Wizard knows we have to make selections. You'll see that the three multiple choice categories that we set up data for are all showing up.

Those tabs here and there's an X in front of each of these meaning we haven't made a selection and we have to make a selection. The Wizard actually won't let us generate the document until we make selections here as we set up the database to force it to make one or more selections. So we're going to select the Pro Kit, Estimate and Project Management.

For people I'll select Ian and Jennifer and for photos let's select Software #1, Software #2 and Tech #9. Now we have all the multiple choice drop-down data selected and now we can actually generate a document. I've generated our document and we'll take a look at this see how it looks.

You can see the client data and company data was merged in using our Software #2 design theme. More company and client data merged in, the stock Executive Summary and Cost Summary. Now just an FYI the Customer Summary this is just a static version in our example here but this can be linked into an Excel spreadsheet or you can use it along with third party quoting software to automate your line-item calculations.

We get to the Products page so you can see right here is where the original tag was in the original template. This is the starting point for where the drop in content gets put in. As you can see it dropped in the first piece of content, put in the custom delimiter, dropped in the second piece of content, custom delimiter and dropped in the third piece of content.

I will get to the Options page. Same thing that drops in the first piece of content, custom delimiter, second piece of content, custom delimiter, third piece of content. We get down to the Resume page again this is where the tag was.

So dropped in the first piece of content, custom delimiter, second piece of content, and it's finished off with a Back Cover page. Again this is data that's merged in from your company data so that is how you set up the Multiple Choice Database to create drop-down pick lists of content to drop into your documents at document assembly time.

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Create winning business proposals & contracts with minimal effort and cost. Proposal software, proposal templates, legal contracts and sample proposals.