Variables

Variables are a premium feature that allow you to display key info in the workspace header & automate your team's Google doc creation workflows within workspaces.


How variables work

Variable fields allow you to add additional custom data to your Workona workspaces, workspace templates, and doc templates. You can create a variable for Client, Customer Level, Project Start Date, or anything else that’s important to your workflow, team, and company.

If you've worked with custom fields in other applications like Asana, Airtable, Notion, or Salesforce, then Workona's variable fields should be quite familiar to you. Although Workona currently only supports Text type fields, support for additional field types (Picklists, Dates, People, etc.) is planned.

Within workspaces, variable fields let you display useful or important info about a project or client right in the workspace header. Rather than adding the same variable field (e.g. Client Name) to your workspaces over and over, we recommend setting up a workspace template that contains the variable fields.

Getting the most out of variables

The same variable can be used across multiple workspaces, workspace templates, and doc templates. In addition, the same variable can be autofilled in a workspace or doc based on context, saving you setup time for similar projects. For example, you can use the same variable in both a workspace template (for a repeating type of project, e.g. New Client Workspace, New Event Workspace, etc.) and a doc template (for a doc you regularly create for that type of project, e.g. New Client Kickoff Presentation, New Event Planning Doc, etc.).

If a doc template includes a variable in its default doc name (e.g. default doc name = Kickoff Presentation - {{Client}}), then the variable will be automatically set based on the workspace you're in. For example, let's imagine you're in a workspace for a client project you're working on, and that workspace has the Client variable set to Acme Inc. If you create a new doc from your Kickoff Presentation doc template, then the doc name will be autofilled as Kickoff Presentation - Acme Inc. We call this feature contextual autofill.

Variables can even be replaced within the content of the generated Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Set up a doc template for docs your team frequently duplicates to give them a simple form they can use to easily spin up new copies of the doc — properly filled out every time. Say goodbye to have to click around in the document and fill each spot in manually. And since you can mark variable fields as required, no team member will ever forget to fill something in again.


Variables vs. variable fields

Variables are their own top-level object in Workona, which means the same variable can be used across multiple workspaces, workspace templates, and doc templates. When a variable is used in a workspace, workspace template, or doc template, it's referred to as a variable field (i.e. an instance of the variable). Variables themselves are only a label (e.g. Client, Start Date), while variable fields also contain a value (e.g. Client: Acme Inc, Start Date: 01/25/2023).

You can create variables for personal use, or share them with your team so they can use the variables in their workspaces, workspace templates, and doc templates to help streamline their workflows. Your variables can be managed in the variable manager. Your team’s variables can be managed from team variable settings in the admin dashboard.


Use variable fields in a workspace

If you would like to keep key info about a project top of mind, adding a variable field to the workspace is the perfect solution.

Add a variable field to a workspace

  1. Open a workspace.
  2. Click the workspace's menu, then click Add variable field/Edit variable fields. Alternatively, click into the workspace title field, then click + Variable field.
  3. Either select an existing variable, or create a new one (e.g. Client Name). All variables you've created will appear in the variable manager, and can be reused across workspaces.
  4. Type in a field value (e.g. Acme Inc).
  5. The variable and its field will appear in the workspace header.

Edit a variable field's value within a workspace

  1. Open a workspace.
  2. Hover over the variable field in the workspace header, then click the Edit variable field button (pencil icon). Alternatively, open the workspace's menu, then click Edit variable fields.
  3. Type in a field value (e.g. Acme Inc).

Edit a variable field's label within a workspace

  1. Open a workspace.
  2. Hover over the variable field in the workspace header, then click the Edit variable field button (pencil icon). Alternatively, open the workspace's menu, then click Edit variable fields.
  3. Click the menu next to the field you want to relabel.
  4. Click Edit variable.
  5. Type in the new label in the Variable Label field.
  6. Click Save Changes to update the label in all other locations the variable has been used, or click Save as New to leave all other locations untouched.

Reorder variable fields within a workspace

  1. Open a workspace.
  2. Hover over the variable field in the workspace header, then click the Edit variable field button (pencil icon). Alternatively, open the workspace's menu, then click Edit variable fields.
  3. Click the menu next to the field you want to reorder.
  4. Click Move up or Move down.

Remove a variable field from a workspace

  1. Open a workspace.
  2. Hover over the variable field in the workspace header, then click the Edit variable field button (pencil icon). Alternatively, open the workspace's menu, then click Edit variable fields.
  3. Click the menu next to the field you want to remove.
  4. Click Remove from workspace.

Use variable fields in a workspace template

For repeating projects (e.g. Client workspaces, Event workspaces, etc.), instead of manually adding the same variable over and over, we recommend setting up a workspace template that contains the variable fields (e.g. Client, Venue).

Any variable fields that you add to the workspace template will appear within the workspace creation form when using the template.

Add or change variable fields within a workspace template

  1. Open a workspace template.
  2. The process of adding or changing variable fields in a workspace template is essentially the same as the process for workspaces described above.
  3. Unlike in workspaces, variable fields (e.g. Client Name) within workspace templates are often left blank, since the field's values (ClientA Inc., ClientB Co.) are usually filled in when creating the workspace. However, it is possible to set a default field value by simply filling out the field within the workspace template. This default can always be adjusted when creating the workspace.

Make a variable field required in the workspace creation form

All required fields must be filled out in order to create a workspace from the template. If you plan to create doc templates that use the same variable field in order to gain the benefits of contextual autofill, we recommend making those fields required in the workspace template.

  1. Open a workspace template.
  2. Hover over the variable field in the workspace header, then click the Edit variable field button (pencil icon). Alternatively, open the workspace template's menu, then click Edit variable fields.
  3. Click the menu next to the field you want to make required.
  4. Click Make field required.

Hide a variable in the header of the generated workspaces

All hidden fields will be hidden in the header of all workspaces generated from the template. If you're using a variable purely for contextual autofill purposes and you don't want to see it in the workspace header, we recommend hiding the field in the workspace template.

  1. Open a workspace template.
  2. Hover over the variable field in the workspace header, then click the Edit variable field button (pencil icon). Alternatively, open the workspace's menu, then click Edit variable fields.
  3. Click the menu next to the field you want to hide.
  4. Click Hide in workspace header.

Use variable fields in a doc template

Adding variables to doc templates helps to streamline your doc creation flows for the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides that make up your team's processes.

Create a doc template for each of the docs your team frequently duplicates as part of their role. Then, set up variables in the doc template so your team can fill out a simple form to ensure docs are always named properly.

Contextual autofill

If you insert a variable (e.g. Client) into the default doc name of a doc template (e.g. Meeting Notes - {{Client}}), then the variable field's value (e.g. the client's name) will be autofilled anytime the doc template is used within a workspace where that variable is set.

For example, if you create a new doc from your Meeting Notes doc template:

  • Within your Acme Inc workspace, the doc name will be autofilled as Meeting Notes - Acme Inc.
  • Within your Example Co workspace, the doc name will be autofilled as Meeting Notes - Example Co.

If you're a software engineer, then environmental variables are likely already a familiar concept — with the workspace serving the role of the "environment".

If you work in customer success or sales, you may be more familiar with CRM features that autofill the customer's email and name into email templates based on the contact you currently have pulled up. Workona's variables work in a very similar way, except the autofill is based on what workspace you have open.

Insert a variable field into a doc template's default doc name

  1. Create a new doc template or edit an existing doc template's settings.
  2. Click the Set Up Doc Template button.
  3. In the Default Google Doc Name field, click the Insert variable field.
  4. Select a variable to insert into the name (e.g. Meeting Agenda - {{Client}}). All inserted variables will be required in the doc creation form.
  5. If a variable field is set in the current workspace (e.g. Client: Acme Inc), it will be autofilled with the variable field's value that's set on the workspace (e.g. Meeting Agenda - Acme Inc). If the variable field isn't set in the current workspace, the field can always be manually filled out in the doc creation form.

Add variable fields to a doc template

  1. Create a new doc template or edit an existing doc template's settings.
  2. Click the Set Up Doc Template button.
  3. Click + Variable field.
  4. Either select an existing variable, or create a new one (e.g. Client Name). All variables you've created will appear in the variable manager, and can be reused across doc templates.
  5. Variable fields (e.g. Client Name) within doc templates are often left blank, since the field's values (ClientA Inc., ClientB Co.) are usually filled in when creating the doc. However, it is possible to set a default field value by simply filling out the field within the doc template settings. This default can always be adjusted when creating the workspace.
  6. The variable and its field will now appear in the doc creation form.

Make a variable field required in the doc creation form

All required fields must be filled out in order to create a doc from the template. If you plan to replace variables within the contents of the generated Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, we recommend making those fields required in the doc template.

  1. Create a new doc template or edit an existing doc template's settings.
  2. Click the Set Up Doc Template button.
  3. Click the menu next to the field you want to make required.
  4. Click Make field required.
Help your team name docs consistently
To build a doc creation form that will make it easy for your team to name docs consistently, simply insert multiple variables into the default doc name (e.g. Event Plan - {{Client}} - {{Venue}} - {{Event Date}}). That way, docs will always be easy to find and cleanly organized within Google Drive.

Replace variables within doc template content

You can use variables within doc templates to customize the content of the generated Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides so you don't need to fill it in manually after the doc is created.

For example, you could create a Sales Quotes doc template and add variables for each of the values you normally need to fill out in the document after you've made a copy of it. Or, you could create a Client Welcome Presentation with a {{Company Name}} variable that inserts the client’s company name on multiple slides.

Any variables that are included between double curly brackets {{ }} (handlebars) will be replaced. It's important to note that the exact variable name must be used (case insensitive). For example, the following would be replaced in the content of a generated Google Doc:

  • This:
    • Proposal prepared for {{Client Name}}
  • Will be replaced with this:
    • Proposal prepared for Acme

You can replace variables in most locations within Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (e.g. body, header, footer, cells, bulleted lists, tables, etc.). The formatting of the variable's text will be preserved when the variables are replaced:

  • This:
    • Agency Global + {{Client Name}}

    • Agency Global will elevate {{Client Name}}'s brand to new heights.
  • Will be replaced with this:
    • Agency Global + Acme

    • Agency Global will elevate Acme's brand to new heights.

Set up variables in a doc template

To set up variable content replacement for a doc template, you'll need to edit the content of the doc template's "source doc" (i.e. the document that's duplicated when the doc template is used). If you don’t want to edit the source doc, create a copy and set it as the new source doc. Follow the steps below to add variables to your doc templates:

  1. Create or edit the doc template:
  2. Click Set Up Doc Template to set the variable fields and other defaults.
  3. During the "Set up doc template defaults" step, click Add variable field and add a variable field for each element you want to be replaced within the content of the generated docs.
    • Note that you can optionally set a default value for each variable field, however you'll normally want to leave them empty so the fields can be filled out with different information each time when creating a doc from the template.
  4. In the blue bar at the bottom of the popup, click the Edit template content to open the "source doc" in a new tab.
  5. In the content of the "source doc", type in the exact names of the variables you added to the doc template in step 3 between double curly brackets {{ }} (handlebars) anywhere you want that variable to be inserted. The variable will be replaced with whatever you fill into the variable field in the doc creation form.
    • For example, if the variable name (variable label) is Client Name, then you would type {{Client Name}} in the source doc's content anywhere that you want the client name to be inserted.
Help your team fill out variable fields consistently
We recommend making variable fields required to ensure your docs are filled out properly every time. To do so, click the three-dot menu on a variable (during doc template setup) and select 'Make field required'.

Create a variable

Variable fields are only useful once they are added to a workspace, workspace template, or doc template, so we recommend creating new variables you need directly in the workspace/template by following the appropriate instructions:

However, it is possible to create variables that don't yet live in any workspaces, workspace templates, or doc templates:

  1. Open Workona.
  2. Click Templates at the top of the sidebar. Alternatively, click the + at the top of the sidebar, then click Manage templates.
  3. Click the Variables area within the template manager.
  4. Click the + in the top right of the template manager to create a new variable.
  5. Fill out the fields described below.
  6. Click the Create button.

However you decide to create the variable, you'll need to specify the fields below:

  • Variable Label: The label of the variable field (e.g. Client, Project Start Date, Point of Contact, etc.). This label will be the same across every location (workspace, workspace template, or doc template) where the variable is used. This label can be easily updated later across all locations.

  • Variable Type: The type of variable field.

    • Text field: A plain text field. Any text can be typed into the field.
    • Date field: This field type is planned, but not yet supported.
    • Picklist field: This field type is planned, but not yet supported.
    • Person field: This field type is planned, but not yet supported.
  • Shared With: The teams that the variable is shared with. Team members will be able to use the team variables in the team workspaces, team workspace templates, and team doc templates.


Edit a variable

  1. Open Workona.

  2. Click Templates at the top of the sidebar. Alternatively, click the + at the top of the sidebar, then click Manage templates.

  3. Click the Variables area within the template manager.

  4. Click the Edit variable button (pencil icon) that appears when hovering over a variable.

  5. Update the Variable Label field as desired. Note that Variable Type cannot currently be updated once a variable has been created.

  6. Save the changes using one of the following options:

    • If you click the Save Changes button, then the update — e.g. changing the name from Start Date to Project Start Date — will apply across all locations (workspaces, workspace templates, & doc templates) where the variable has been used. If the variable has been used in any locations, a list of locations will be displayed prior to confirming the update.
    • If you click the Save as New button, then the update will not apply across all locations (workspaces, workspace templates, & doc templates) where the variable has been used, and a brand new variable will be created instead.

Share a variable

Share variables with a team to allow team members to use the variables within the team workspaces, team workspace templates, and team doc templates.

  1. Open Workona.
  2. Click Templates at the top of the sidebar. Alternatively, click the + at the top of the sidebar, then click Manage templates.
  3. Click the Variables area within the template manager.
  4. Click the Share variable button (people icon) that appears when hovering over a variable.
  5. Select the team(s) you want to share the variable with. If you don't have a team yet, click New team.
Adding private variables to team workspaces & team templates
If you add a private variable to a team workspace/template, ownership of the variable will be transferred to the team, and the team's admins & content managers will be able to edit the variable.

Delete a variable

  1. Open Workona.

  2. Click Templates at the top of the sidebar. Alternatively, click the + at the top of the sidebar, then click Manage templates.

  3. Click the Variables area within the template manager.

  4. Click the Delete variable button (trash icon) that appears when hovering over a variable.

    • When you delete a variable, it will be permanently removed from all locations (workspaces, workspace templates, & doc templates) where the variable has been used.
  5. If the variable has been used in any locations, a list of locations will be displayed. Review the list, then click Delete Everywhere to confirm.


Manage variables

If you're trying to manage the variables of a specific workspace, workspace template, or doc template, then follow the instructions below:

If you want to update or manage a variable across all locations (workspaces, workspace templates, & doc templates) where it's been used, then follow the instructions below:

  1. Open Workona.

  2. Click Templates at the top of the sidebar. Alternatively, click the + at the top of the sidebar, then click Manage templates.

  3. Click the Variables area within the template manager.

  4. You will see a list of all of the variables that you have created, as well as the team variables for any teams you're a member of.

  5. To manage a variable, hover over it and click the buttons that appear:

    • Edit variable (pencil icon)
    • Share variable (team icon)
    • Delete variable (trash icon)
Why can't I manage some variables?
If a team variable appears disabled in the variable manager, you may not have permission to edit it. Only team admins and content managers can edit team variables. Ask a team admin to change your role within team settings if you'd like to make changes to the variable. Go to team settings →

Manage team variables

  1. Open Workona.

  2. Click the Teams button at the top of the sidebar, or navigate to workona.com/admin.

  3. Select the team you want to manage.

  4. Select Templates in the team settings sidebar.

  5. Select Variables in the sidebar, and the team’s variables will appear.

  6. To manage a variable, hover over it and click the buttons that appear:

    • Edit variable (pencil icon)
    • Share variable (team icon)
    • Delete variable (trash icon)