When you have a high level of common content across files with minor variations across usages, content placeholders are a way to reuse content while providing the flexibility to specify variations. With content placeholders, you can create source links that allow for planned variables, or use them without links to create document templates.
Here are some examples of how you can use content placeholders:
- Allow for variable content in a destination link
- Build templates for narratives and show where dynamic content needs to be updated each time the narrative is used
- Introduce variability to standard reporting language
You can connect placeholders to a spreadsheet and use the data to quickly enter and update the values for multiple placeholders at once.
- This feature is currently only available in Global Statutory Reporting, Annual and Interim Reporting, and select Investments solutions. Reach out to your CSM if you’d like to be added to the waitlist.
- Content placeholders are currently used only in Documents and Presentations.
Create a new placeholder
To create a placeholder in an individual file:
- Open the Content placeholders panel.
- Click the Add content placeholder icon.
- Add a label for your placeholder and an optional description.
When a placeholder is inserted into a document, the placeholder label displays until you give it a value.
- Click Add to save the placeholder, or click Add and insert to insert the placeholder where your cursor is in the file.
Your placeholder is added to the Placeholders panel and you can insert it anywhere in your document.
Insert a placeholder
To insert a placeholder in your document:
- Click in your document where you’d like to add the placeholder. If you’d like to replace existing text with your placeholder, highlight the text to replace.
- From the Content placeholders panel, click the drop-down arrow next to your placeholder and select Insert at selection.
You can highlight your new placeholder in the document and add text formatting, like emphasis or color, that you’ll want when values are added for the placeholder.
Once you’ve inserted all the necessary placeholders in your document, you might:
- Click Save As in the File toolbar and save the file as a template
- Highlight the content and right-click to Create Source Link and use it as a destination link in a different file
- Connect your placeholders to data in a spreadsheet to quickly populate dynamic values for sets of placeholders
Connect to a Workiva spreadsheet
When you connect your placeholders to data in a Workiva Spreadsheet, you can:
- Keep your data organized, up to date, and staged in one location
- Quickly populate placeholder values in the document by identifying a key
- Use a set of content placeholders across multiple files
In this process, you're using data from a spreadsheet to add values to placeholders, not creating links.
There are two parts to the process of connecting to a spreadsheet:
Configure the data in your spreadsheet
To set up a spreadsheet for multiple sets of placeholder values, create a new Workiva spreadsheet or use an existing one. Make sure you do the following:
- Set up your data range and use the first row or column for the placeholder labels you’d like to use—this can be things like Office Manager or Address if you’ve written a narrative to use across multiple office locations
Fill in the rows and columns with the unique sets of values for each narrative
Set up the connection
Once you’ve created a spreadsheet with the values to fill in for your placeholders, you can connect it to your document.
- From the Content placeholders panel, click the Add connection icon.
- Choose the spreadsheet with your placeholder data and click Select.
- Complete Step 1: Enter a data range for the connection.
- Choose which sheet you'd like to connect to.
- Enter the Data range to use from the spreadsheet, for example A1:C4. Make sure the range includes both the placeholder labels and values.
- If you need to view the connection spreadsheet to verify the cell range, click the hyperlinked name of the file.
- Indicate if the Data fields are in row 1 or column 1 of the data range.
- Complete Step 2: Review content placeholders and select key.
- The placeholder labels from your spreadsheet are listed in the Source column. In the Placeholders column, you can either select the existing placeholder in your document to map to, or create a new one by typing it into the box.
- Choose a Placeholder key to pin to the top of your list of placeholders. You’ll use the key to identify the set of data to use to populate your placeholders. Make sure you select a key that has distinct values that don’t repeat in any data set. You can also select multiple keys with a distinct combination of values.
- Click Save to finish.
Your connected placeholders now display in the Content placeholders panel.
If you didn’t map the placeholders to existing ones in the document, you can now add them to your document using Insert at selection in each placeholder’s drop-down.
The drop-down menu for the spreadsheet connection provides various ways to manage your connection.
- View source data: Go to the connected spreadsheet to review the data
- Edit connection: Return to the Set up connection modal to modify the data range, placeholder mapping, or key
- Disconnect from source: Remove the connection to the source spreadsheet but maintain placeholders and entered values
- Delete placeholders: Remove the connection to the source and delete placeholders, but any values entered for the placeholders will remain in the document
To refresh the connection, click the Refresh connection icon. Any values updated in the spreadsheet will now be updated in your document.
Add placeholder values
Use the Content placeholders panel to add values to your placeholders. The value you enter in the panel replaces the label in the text but maintains the formatting. The way you add values depends on whether or not your placeholders are connected to data in a spreadsheet.
- In the Content placeholders panel, enter a value for an individual placeholder.
- Press Enter on your keyboard.
The value replaces the placeholder label in your document but maintains the formatting.
Clear placeholder values
To clear all placeholder values in the document, click the clear icon in the panel. All placeholder values are cleared and replaced with their corresponding placeholder label.
You can delete placeholders individually or by group. If you delete a placeholder that already had a value, the value remains in the document.
- In the Content placeholders panel, expand the drop-down menu for the placeholder.
- Select Delete.
The placeholder is removed from the panel and the document. If you already entered a value for the placeholder, the value remains in the document.
- In the Content placeholders panel, expand the drop-down menu for the connection.
- Select Delete connection.
The placeholders are removed from the panel and the document. If you already entered values for any of the placeholders, the values remain in the document.
Hide and unhide placeholders
If you don’t need to add a value for a placeholder, you can hide it from the document so the label doesn’t display. You can only hide placeholders that don’t have values. For example, you might have placeholders in the document for "Address Line 1" and "Address Line 2". If you don’t want anything to show for "Address Line 2", you can hide it from the document.
There are two ways to hide a placeholder from your document:
- Hover over the placeholder in the panel and click the Hide from document icon
- Select Hide from document in the placeholder’s drop-down menu
The placeholder label no longer displays in the document.
There are two ways to unhide a placeholder in your document:
- Hover over the placeholder in the panel and click the Unhide from document icon
- Select Unhide from document in the placeholder’s drop-down menu
The placeholder label is now visible in the document.
Automatically hide a placeholder without a value
You can also choose to automatically hide a content placeholder label when no value is entered.
- In the Content placeholders panel, expand the drop-down menu for the placeholder and select Properties.
- Select Hide from document.
- Click Save.
The placeholder will be hidden from the document whenever it doesn't have an assigned value.