Blanks (Pt. 2) AKA List Files

Following up on the previous post on blanks, I’m going to explain how to use list files with blanks. I’ll be using attorney contact info as an example.

Let’s start with what a list file is. It’s a separate .ecl file in Eclipse that is just simple text. You type out possibilities to fill in your blanks.  A basic form field with no list file will show up like this when you press Shift + E to fill it in:


You get a blank box to type in. That’s fine for things that change every job, like time/date, but if you do a lot of work with, say, a Polish attorney whose name has more consonants than you can possibly pronounce, let alone spell, you may find it helpful to fill in that information once and have Eclipse offer to fill in that name for you. Like this:


Oooh, now there’s a pop-up box with his name already prefilled, and all you have to do is highlight it and press OK! No more re-re-re-reading it to make sure you got all the Zs in the right place.

In order to get this pop-up box to show up, you have to select a file next to the “Use list file” option in the Add Blank menu. Like so:


You can name the file whatever you like, and you don’t have to make your file beforehand. In fact, you don’t even have to click on Browse. You can simply type in what you want to name the file and Eclipse will create the .ecl file for you in the appropriate folder. But if you do have a pre-made file, you can click on Browse and select that file.

You can see in that screenshot I’ve selected the Attorney blank and selected a list file named “ZATTYNME”. I like to name all my list files beginning with z, just to make the block files folder more manageable when looking through it. In the block files folder, you’ll have three types of files – files you read in (cover pages, cert page, exhibit/exam blurbs) and I name those normally; then there’s files that the index reads in, and I name those beginning with x; and finally you have list files, which we’ve been talking about. It’s a simple way for me quickly identify what kind of file I’m looking at.

So let’s go back to that prefilled pop-up box with the attorney name already listed.


Oh, now there’s actually a list! I’ve got three atty names prefilled, and there’s numbers to the left. The numbers let you quickly select the attorney you want by pressing the corresponding number when the menu pops up, instead of having to scroll through the list and manually select your attorney. You can even go above 9. For example, if you press 1, it will highlight attorney 1 on your list, but if you press 0 after that, it will skip down to attorney 10. Then you press OK, and the attorney name is filled in.

To get the numbers ability, you type in “1@[insert info here]” (minus the quotes!) Don’t forget to create a new line for every item in your list. Here’s what the list files looks like, to give you an example:


There are two ways to edit your list, the Add button and the Edit button. If you type in the blank space at the bottom of your list, then click Add, Eclipse will add it to your list file for you.


You can also click Edit to go straight to the list file itself and edit in there. This is good if you have longer or more complicated information to fill in (see firm info below) or if you want to delete a name or edit an existing name.

Now, let’s get to something a little more complicated, but which should make you ever SO happy once you get it down: Firm information. Firm information generally includes firm name, address, phone number, maybe fax as well. Using what we know so far, we can shorten the amount of time we fill things in by utilizing numbers, BUT what if you could tell Eclipse to fill in multiple lines with one selection? Now we’re talking.

Here’s an example of how to do that:


So we know what the “1@” is for. After that is the firm name, and then the + sign is there to tell Eclipse to skip to the next empty blank. If you remember, I have firm name then attorney name, and attorney name has its own list file, so Eclipse will skip that blank and go down to the next blank with no list file, which would be street address. Here I have another + sign, because I like having the suite number on a separate line. If you prefer to have it on the same line, leave the + out and simply space as normal. After that I have another +, which skips city and state because I have list files for those. (I think it saves more time being able to select cities for every attorney rather than having to manually type in cities for every attorney not in my list, but that’s up to you. I also like to select the state every time, simply because I’m forgetful enough to accidentally fill in Seattle, CA instead of WA. Like I said in the previous post, blanks are pretty handy as reminders.) After that comes zip code and then another + and [phone number]+[fax number]. (I should mention that the numbers don’t always fill in for me, and I haven’t figured out why yet.)

That was probably long and complicated, so feel free to ask if you have any questions!


About nerdformacros

Court reporter, Child of the Internet, Not Tech Support. Okay, maybe basic tech support, but that's it!
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