Basic Clause Author Tutorial

Part 3: Creating your first clause

Now that the basics are in place and you have a good idea about the structure of clauses, it is time to create your first clause.

Note that there are two menus on the top of your screen in which you can create clauses: the Browse files menu and the Assemble document menu. We will look at the Browse files menu first on this page and the Assemble document menu secondly on the next page.

Creating the clause file in Browse files

  • Navigate out of the concepts folder, back to the employment agreements folder in your library.
  • Create a new subfolder called clauses. 
  • Navigate into that new subfolder, by double-clicking on it.
  • Click on the  button, and choose Clause.
  • Use file name introduction to the parties (in French: introduction aux parties). For clauses, it is not a problem to have spaces in between the words.
  • Hit the  button (or use the Ctrl-S shortcut).
  • Navigate to the Content Body section at the right side of your browser.

Filling in the body

We would like the first clause of the contract to look as follows (including some sample data):

This Employment Agreement is entered into by:

  • Acme Inc, with registered office at Main Street 1, 1000 Brussels and company number BE0123.456.789, hereinafter referred to as “the Employer”
  • Mary Johnson, residing at Rue Neuve 3, 2000 Antwerp, hereinafter referred to as “the Employee”

To achieve this, paste the following content in the English body. For the sake of this tutorial, the necessary concepts and datafields have already been created:

1. #°Contract is entered into by:
* #employer^name, with registered office at #employer^address and company number #employer^company-nr, hereinafter referred to as "#employer"
* #employee^first-name #employee^last-name, residing at #employee^address, hereinafter referred to as "#employee"

and also paste the equivalent French body:

1. #°Contrat est conclu par:
* #employeur^nom, ayant son siège social à #employeur^adresse et portant le numéro d'entreprise #employeur^nr-société, ci-après <dénommé: employeur> "#employeur"
* #employé^prénom #employé^nom, <domicilié: employé> à #employé^adresse, ci-après <dénommé: employé> "#employé"

It may happen that other existing users have defined concepts with an identical name. If this is the case, ClauseBase will still automatically assign a specific concept, but this may not be the one you need. To navigate to the correct concept, click the   button to see all the different variants and their location within the library.

If the concept you have entered into the Content body is displayed in red, then it is not recognised by the software because it does not exist yet. You can click the concept in red and then click Create a new Concept to do just that. You then have to navigate to the folder you want to insert that concept in and click Select current folder.

When pasting the French version, you may notice that grammatical problems is highlighted in red. When you click on it, you will see the following warnings:

These warnings are caused by the fact that some words can have multiple functions in human languages.

  • In the present case for French, dénommé can be both a noun, an adjective and the passé composé of the verb dénommer.
  • For an English example, take the word “contract”, which can be a noun that is synonymous with “agreement” or it can be verb, meaning “to agree to something” or “to become tighter”.

Not even the most advanced artificial intelligence can reliably figure out the correct function in all cases. You should therefore give some assistance to ClauseBase, by clicking on the button verb in this case. The warning will then go away.

Make sure that there are no other warnings (in red or yellow) shown in the bottom panel of your browser. If there are any, then please check the spelling and the data fields you entered into the concepts.

Let’s go over this content step by step.

Referring to concepts

If you make a typo when referring to a concept, ClauseBase will immediately issue a warning, because it cannot find the concept you are referring to. You should then either correct the typo, or you can click on the  button and then manually select the concept file which you intended to navigate to.

Note that it is not mandatory to always refer to a concept using its file name. While you will usually want to do so, it can sometimes come in handy to refer to a concept with an abbreviation. For example, a highly specialized concept #signup-bonus-for-employee-migrated-from-the-UK can be very descriptive, but will take some time to type in. You could refer to such concept with an abbreviation such as #signup-bonus-uk (or even #sbu), and then manually establish the link with the relevant concept-file. The next time you use that same abbreviation, ClauseBase will automatically recognise it.

Structure of the clause

The clause you entered, contains three different paragraphs:

1. #Contract …
* #employer, with registered office …
* #employee, residing at …
  • The first paragraph is a heading, so that it will likely be formatted with an initial article number (perhaps nr. 1, but it could equally be I., or a), or 3.1, or no number at all). It may perhaps feel strange to turn this first paragraph into a heading, because you may be of the opinion — like many lawyers — that the introductory paragraph that describes the parties at the start of the contract, should not have any number at all. However, as a clause author, you should try to stay away from the question how a clause should ultimately be formatted. Whether or not that particular clause should receive numbering or not is a decision that will be made when the clause gets used in practice — by you, or by someone else using the clause you created.
  • The second and third paragraph start with an asterisk * and will therefore be formatted as a bullet (such as •) or as a single-letter number (such as a) or i)), depending on the styling chosen by the user.

    It would probably also have been alright in this case to turn the second and third paragraphs into sub-headings, by starting them with 1.1 and 1.2, respectively. What to choose here is ultimately a judgement call and a matter of personal preference, but as a rule of thumb you will typically use an asterisk for sub-paragraphs that are rather short or continue a sentence, while you would use sub-headings for longer paragraphs or paragraphs that start a new sentence.


In the English version, there was no need to use any angular brackets < … > to conjugate verbs. In French, however, some amendments do needed to be made between the verbs dénommé and domicilié and employeur / employé respectively. After all, if the employee would for example happen to be the female Jeanne Dubois, then the last paragraph would become Jeanne Dubois, domiciliée à …, ci-après dénommée “l’employée“. 

In ClauseBase, you fortunately only need to create these amendments once; in a traditional MS Word-based template workflow, you may need to perform this type of clean-up every single time.

Inserting a title

We currently entered text into the Content body. It is usually a good idea to also assign an optional title to a clause file, which will allow the user of your clause to easily show or hide a title above the body of the clause, simply by clicking on a dedicated button (more on this later).

To add a title, click on the Content title section at the right side of your browser. Then insert:

  • Parties to #contract (English version)
  • Parties à #contrat (French version)

and hit the  button.

A few things to note before we move on to the next clause:

  • Unlike the body of the clause, there is no need to start the paragraph of a title with a number or bullet. Titles are always headings, and should never be more than a single paragraph, so there is no need to use any structuring hints, such as numbering or bullets.
  • In the French version, we entered à #contrat instead of au #contrat, which may sound incorrect. However, this merely follows from the basic requirement that articles (le / la / les / un / une /des) should be dropped in ClauseBase, which causes au — a contraction of à and le — to be shortened to à. If your user would happen to use concept label le contrat, then ClauseBase will re-apply the contraction, to arrive at au contrat; if instead a concept-label such as la convention would be used, then ClauseBase would insert à la Convention.