Focus Mode

ClauseBase offers a special mode — called “Focus Mode” — that optimizes your workflow for dealing with a complex clause in Assemble Document.

Activating Focus Mode

Focus Mode can be activated by selecting a single clause and clicking on the button in the main toolbar. Alternatively, you can select a clause and hit the Ctrl-Shift-O shortcut.

Tip: when you hold down Shift when clicking the button, you will immediately go to the Raw Submode instead of the Preview Submode (see below for an explanation).

You will notice that the the focus-button will get highlighted, and that several other tools will become unavailable on the screen.


Focus Mode offers two different sub-modes, that have different purposes: Preview Submode and Raw Submode. You can switch between both modes by clicking on the button in the Focus Mode toolbar. Both modes are discussed in great detail below:

  • Preview Submode shows you a preview of your clause, similar to what you normally see at the left side in Assemble Document.
  • Raw Submode shows an alternative version of the “raw” content of your clause, roughly similar to what you normally see in the editor at the right side, but with a few changes optimized to deal with complex clauses.


In both Preview Submode and Raw Submode, the bottom left side will show an overview of all the datafields that are somehow used in the current clause — no need to go to the Data Dashboard. You can toggle the visibility of these datafields by clicking on the button in the Focus Mode toolbar.

All datafields will be shown here, whether or not actively used in the current preview (i.e., also when a datafield happens to only be used in a part of the clause that is currently not shown because some condition is not met).

This is similar to what would be shown in the Data Dashboard when you select a clause and click on the “show unused” checkbox.

Even better is that you can play what-if scenarios by temporarily changing the datafields. Any change you make here, will be lost when you exit focus mode. This means that you assign new values, remove values, etc. to see the impact on your clause, without “really” changing the datafields.


Similar to simulating the impact of datafields, Focus Mode also allows you to simulate the impact of different concept labels, through the small pane at the right side. You can toggle the visibility of this pane by clicking on the button int he Focus Mode toolbar.

You can click on a concept-label to change its contents (using the familiar concept-label editor). If you want to experiment with the single and plural version of an existing concept-label, you can even avoid the concept-label editor by clicking on any of the buttons at the left side of a concept-label.

As is the case with the datafields, any changes you make are merely temporarily. Once you leave Focus Mode, your concept-labels will return to their previous state.

Preview Submode

Preview Submode displays how your clause will look like, similar to how it is typically displayed at the left side when using Assemble Document in Normal (non-focus) Mode.

Compared to Normal Mode, however, the Preview Submode will display changes to your clause a few milliseconds after you made them at the right side — no need to save your clause! This level of interactivity allows you to really “play” with complex clauses without any delays at all.

Raw Submode

In Raw Submode, the “raw” contents of your clause will be shown at the left side.

At first sight, this Submode may seem to offer almost no advantages over what you see on the right side. However, read on to see why the first impression is wrong.

Tracing your clause

Raw Submode offers you the ability to “trace” parts of your raw clause, so you quickly know which parts are disabled.

In the screenshot above, you will note that some parts are displayed much lighter than others — those parts are currently disabled due to certain conditions not being met.

For example, in the screenshot above, you can immediately see in the first and second line that the words “an exclusive” are disabled. When you then click on any of these words, you get the following explanation:

In this case, it is obvious that the reason why this part of the clause got disabled. In other situations, however, this is much less clear. In such cases, it can help to click on the button to get a detailed explanation in a popup balloon.

Integrated view

Another reason to use the Raw Submode, is that it offers an “integrated” view of your raw clause.

For example, have a look at the sample clause below:

  • the left side shows the “final” version, with all snippets being integrated into a coherent text
  • the right side shows the editor, in which the external snippet #object-of-the-license and internal snippet ALPHA are visible, but not “integrated”.

The Raw Submode offers you an integrated view of the raw text, that allows you to understand how ClauseBase “sees” your text when combining everything:

You can see that both snippets (surrounded by a subtle grey border) are fully expanded, so you can check whether this was indeed the integration result you were looking for. This will be particularly interesting when dealing with placeholders, where things can quickly get so complex that you lose track of the clause:

Isolating snippets

When creating complex clauses that contain internal or external snippets, it can often help to isolate a particular snippet. You can do so by clicking on the isolation buttons that will appear automatically when you are using the preview mode, and a clause contains at least one internal or external snippet:

Full (normal) view
Isolating snippet ALPHA

When you isolate a particular snippet, only that snippet will be shown in the preview at the left side, removing any distractions from the other parts of the clause. You can leave the isolation mode by either clicking again on the currently active (i.e., blue-colored) isolation button, or by clicking on the button at the right of the isolation bar.

Besides merely removing distractions, the snippet isolation mode also allows you to understand how the software interprets a particular snippet. Have a look at the following examples, and notice how the software shows you at the left side that the result of a certain snippet is a number, date, condition, text snippet, etc.

This information can be particularly useful when you do not understand why a certain snippet does not “behave” correctly. For example, the software interprets the following snippet ALPHA as an “expression” of 5 augmented by 4, i.e. the number 9. Accordingly, you could use this result for further calculations, as shown in the second screenshot:

When isolating ALPHA, it becomes clear that the software treats this snippet as an expression.
The result of ALPHA is a number, that can be used in another calculation (9 x 2 = 18).

Assigning placeholders

When placeholders are used in isolation mode, you can temporarily assign a value to those placeholders by clicking the green button:

As no value of X is known, the placeholder itself is visible.
An arbitrary value (in casu a currency) is assigned to X.


When you have saved your clause or made significant changes, it may sometimes be necessary to “refresh” your Focus Mode environment. You can do achieve this either by closing Focus Mode and re-opening it, or by clicking on the refresh button in the toolbar .

You will lose all the changes you made to the concept-labels and datafields. But that is, of course, exactly the purpose of this refresh.

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