Help! I inadvertently clicked the lock symbol

As explained in another FAQ, clicking the lock symbol allows you to take certain actions (e.g., inserting or reordering clauses).

However, until you effectively save the Document/Binder, no changes will have been made to the Document/Binder. The actual un-linking and de-structuring of the individual clauses will only happen at the moment that you actually save the Document/Binder; as long as you have not done so, you can always try to undo your operations and go back before the moment you clicked the lock symbol (or you can close the Document/Binder and disregard any changes).

In fact, even at the moment you hit save, the link between the Binder and its Documents (or between a top-clause and its subclauses) will only be broken if you effectively made changes to the structure. At the moment you perform the save operation, the server will perform an exhaustive comparison between the old and the new version of the structure; if that structure is the same, then no “unlocking” will happen at the server level.

There are two ways to check whether the link still exists, or whether it is effectively broken at the level of the server:

  • you can re-open the Binder and check whether the lock is (still) there
  • you can inspect the inner contents of the file structure by hitting the icon at the right side within Browse Files

The inner contents of the Binder above will then be shown. In the screenshot below, you can see that file “new binder” has two “proxies”, i.e. pointers towards inner subdocuments saved elsewhere. If a proxy is shown in light green, then it concerns a “full proxy” that preserves the link between the Document and its clause structure (i.e., the link is not broken — if you would open the Binder, you will see that the lock icon will appear).

However, if you would unlock the first subdocument in the Binder, make certain destructive changes (such s reordering the individual clauses) and then hit save and re-inspect the contents of the Binder, you will see that the proxy towards subdocument “xx” has turned light blue. This means that the structure of that subdocument is effectively broken up.

What does the lock symbol mean?

The lock symbol can be seen in a document that is part of a binder.

As long as the document is locked, it means (among others) that:

  • certain actions cannot be taken, such as changing the order of clauses, inserting new ones or removing clauses from the document; and
  • any updates made to the ‘original’ document (i.e. the document outside of the binder) will also be automatically made to the document in the binder, making sure any updates to the template are reflected in the binder template as well.

Unlocking a document (by clicking the lock symbol) then has (among others) the following effects:

  • clauses can be (re)moved and inserted freely; and
  • importantly, the link between the original document and the document in the binder disappears, meaning that any changes made to the original document will not be reflected in the document in the binder.

In view of the fact that unlocking a document breaks this link between the document in the binder and the original document, careful consideration must be given prior to unlocking a document in a binder!

For more information, please consult the manual article on locked documents.

Clause hierarchies also have a lock symbol once they are inserted in a document. Check out this article on clause hierarchies for more information.

What is the difference between documents and binders?

Documents are, much as the name suggests, individual documents which contain a set of clauses. For example: a non-disclosure agreement. 

Binders on the other hand are collections of documents which have been grouped together. For example: an outsourcing agreement with a pricing annex, technical annex, etc. 

Every document in ClauseBase can be made part of a Binder. In fact, you are strongly advised to actively edit documents, and to only join them together into a Binder as the very last step.