In Microsoft Word, you refer to other clauses by their numbering. In ClauseBase, how you refer to other clauses will depend on the location of the target — whether this target is located in the same clause file, or whether it is located in some other file.

Cross-references within the same clause file

In the discussions below, the following sample clause is used:

1. Alpha
2. Beta
2.1 Gamma
* Delta
* Epsilon
* Eta

because of preceding articles in a hypothetical document, that clause happens to render as follows:

X. Alpha
XI. Beta
A. Gamma
i) Delta
ii) Epsilon
iii) Eta

In the discussions below, we assume that the References Styling for English is set to use “article” for referring to clauses.

Other numbered sub-clause

To refer to some other numbered sub-clause, you use §number. For example, to refer to 2. Beta, you would use §2 . ClauseBase will then replace it by a proper cross-reference to that subclause (in the example case “article XI”).

If you want to start this reference with a capital (e.g., at the beginning of a sentence), then use special function @capitalize. In the example above, @capitalize(§2) will result in “Article XI”.

Cross-references between/across internal snippets

It is not possible to refer to numbered sub-clauses across internal snippets. For example, the following will not work:

The reason this does not work, is that each internal snippet can have its own internal numbers, which may perfectly overlap with the numbering of the top-level clause. For example, in the screenshot below, the reference to §1 would be ambiguous if it could also refer to the top-level paragraph.

Clause as a whole

In contracts, you frequently refer to the clause itself, e.g. when expressing “As set forth below in this clause XXX, the Buyer will …”.

To insert such a reference, you use §this to refer to the current numbered subclause, and §this-title to refer to the encompassing title of the entire clause file (assuming that title is currently visible).

For example, if you would insert §this within 2. Beta, the reference would become “this article XI”.

Notice the addition of the word this — in French this would for example, depending on the References Styling, become “cette clause XI” or “cet article XI”. Conversely, when you would insert §this within * Delta, the reference would become “this article 2.1”, because 2.1 is the nearest numbered subclause.

When you insert §this-title, ClauseBase will refer to the number of the title associated with the clause file.

If that title is not currently visible, an error will appear.

To capitalise these cross-references, use a capital T. In the example above, §This will for example result in “This article 2.1”.


Within a bullet (asterisks) list, you can refer to the current bullet using §*, the next bullet with §*+ and the previous bullet using §*-.

This will only be useful if bullets happen to be styled using iterative numbering such as 1, 2, 3 or a) b), c). If you use symbols that are the same in the entire list (such as a circle or square), ClauseBase will rever to literal “the current bullet” or “the next bullet”.

Cross-references to clauses outside the clause file

Read our introductory blog post on this topic.

Using concepts

Concepts are the most powerful method to refer to clauses outside the current clause file. When using §#concept, ClauseBase will replace that part of the text with a cross-reference to the first clause that implements that clause, i.e. that contains an implements link towards that Concept.

This is a very powerful mechanism, because it allows you to create cross-references on a subject-basis instead of on a numbering-basis (as is the case in Microsoft Word, which causes much more brittle cross-references). ClauseBase will even be as helpful to show a list of those clauses that are accessible to the user and implement the specified concept, when no such clause is yet available in the document.

It can also be helpful to check whether some clause is available in the current document that implements a certain clause: the @implemented special function and its siblings @implemented-any and @implemented-all.

Using cross-tags

Using concepts and §#concept cross-references is the recommended approach, because it allows you to create a central repository of clauses that implement certain legal subjects.

Sometimes, however, the concepts-approach is somewhat burdensome, because it does require you to create a concept for each and every cross-reference you want to establish towards other clause files.

If all you want is a simple, one-time cross-reference to some specific clause in your document, it is probably easier to use the so-called cross-tags:

  • Assign some cross-tag (e.g., “liability”) to the target clause, using the cross-tags section of the clause. Don’t use any spaces inside a cross-tag.
  • Insert a cross-reference to that cross-tag in some other clause using §tag (e.g. §liability).

Similar to @implemented for concept-based cross-references, there is also a @crosstag-implemented function that returns true when a currently visible clause implements the specified tag.

To capitalise these cross-references, start them with a capitalised letter. In the example above, §Liability will for example result in “Article 2.3” if that article happens to implement tag liability.

Cross-references to definitions

You can insert a cross-reference to the definition of a concept using §$#concept.

Cross-references to other subdocuments

Similar to cross-references to other clauses, you can refer to other subdocuments with a hashtag. For example, if some subdocument is specified to implement Concept #pricing, you can refer to this subdocument with §#pricing.

ClauseBase will insert the short document title (or the long document title if the short one is not available) after the article reference. The actual wording will be determined by the References styling.

Relevant styling settings

Note that several settings determine the way references are styled:

  • the word to use (e.g., in English, article vs. clause vs. section)
  • how you refer to clauses in other subdocuments (i.e., whether & how the title of that other subdocument should then be shown)
  • whether to use the title between parentheses after the target article’s number — e.g. “see article 5 (liability)“. Note that such part between parentheses will only be inserted if §#concept or §tag references are used, and if the target clause effectively contains a visible title.
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