Create a variable

Library configuration & administration

Users with Security Administrator-level access can create, modify, and delete variables in the library.

To create a new variable:

  1. Open Author-it Administrator.
  2. Go to Variables > Maintain Variables from the main menu to open the Manage Variables window.
  3. Click Add to open the Variable default settings window.
  4. Complete the settings for the variable:
    • Type a Name for the variable. Choose a name that is unique and will not be used to describe any other variables.

      Note: The variable name may only contain the characters 0-9, a-z, A-Z and _ (underscore).

    • Choose the Type of variable that you wish to use in your topic, such as Text, List of Values, File Object.
    • Leave the style as (don't inherit), or select a character style fom the list.

      The styles in the drop down are all the character styles in the library. This allows you to apply a character style to a variable. For example, you may have a variable called <

    • Use the default (Don't inherit) to apply whatever character style is applied to the variable in the topic.
    • Use (none) to ensure that any character style within the topic is removed from the variable text.
    • Type a Description to identify the intended use of the variable.
    • Type a Value for the variable. This is the default value that will be placed into the variable placeholder. For a List of Values variable, the value displayed in the variable window is used as the library's default value.

      Variable Default Settings Window

  5. Choose OK to save the new variable.
  6. Repeat these steps for each new variable.

Additional Options

There are several additional options that determine how the variable is used by the library.

Hidden variables

Selecting the Hidden check box allows you to "hide" a variable from various options in the Author and Contribute modules. These include the Manage Variables list, the Assign and Insert lists, and the Variable Assignments window. The variable remains visible in the Author-it Administrator Manage Variables window.

As an example, you can use this option with variables created for assigning metadata to objects for use with plugins or the SDK. The variables are not used in the topic text so do not need to be seen by authors. This option should not be applied to any system variables (which are identified with the prefix "SYS_").

Note, when the option for hiding the variable is selected, the Prompt Before Publish and Variant Criteria options are disabled.

Prompt before publish

Choose this option to assign a variable value at publishing rather than applying a value to the object (at topic, book, or library level). As an example, this option can be used with an employment contract where variable values are unique for each publishing.

Creating new variables to use as variant criteria

When you are creating variant criteria you should consider creating new variables rather than using your existing variables. Once variables have been converted into variant criteria they cannot be used as variables in topics, or used to assign variable metadata to topic or book objects. The check box for changing variables to variant criteria cannot be cleared when criteria are associated with variant objects.

The variant check box is only available when the List of Values is selected from the Type drop-down list.