Copies and Links in the Navigation Tree



You want to make a copy of an existing node (including its inferior nodes). This copy then is a stand-alone object that you can edit independent of the original. For example, you want to write different versions of a dunning letter, depending on the time the payment is overdue. For the first letter a text node already exists, which you can now use as template for the other letters: First copy the node and then adapt the text.


You want to reuse existing windows and their contents in the same form. For example, if you created a window on your start page to print your company address on the first line in a small font, and you want to print this window on other pages as well, you can copy the window to the respective draft pages. If the company address changes, you must update only one window. The Form Builder automatically changes the address on all draft pages that use this window.


You create copies or links within a Smart Form in one of two ways:

  • Using the Copy function of the clipboard (via main or context menu)
  • Using Drag&Drop together with the CTRL key (Copy)

Regardless of whether the selected node or subtree is stored in the clipboard or in the intermediate storage of the Drag&Drop function, we will in this context always use the term clipboard for both cases. The procedure is the same for both. The node in the clipboard will be called clipboard node and its original version in the tree will be the original node.

How to Insert a Node

When inserting a clipboard node the Form Builder either creates a copy or a link:

  • When inserting a node as a copy, the system copies all attributes of the clipboard node as well as all inferior nodes and assigns new names to the inserted nodes. You can now edit the inserted node and the original node independent of one another.
  • When inserting a node as a link, all inserted nodes point to the same object as the original node and, therefore, receive the same names. Original nodes and links are of equal rank, which means that when you change a node of the link, the Form Builder automatically updates the original node (and vice versa). Exceptions to the rule are those node types that have their own output areas in the Form Painter (that is the window node and, if used, the graphic and address nodes). Links of these node types have their own output options and conditions. This allows the form developer to print windows with identical contents and flow logic on different pages, thereby modifying size and position and entering particular conditions for each window.

Whether you copy a node or link to the same object depends on the clipboard node and on the position at which you want to insert it. As an overview, note that nodes with their own output areas (windows, graphics, addresses) that are inserted directly inferior to a page node, point to the same objects as the original nodes. For details, refer to the table below:

Copying an existing node

Source node

Form Builder action


Inserts the clipboard node as copy, inserts all inferior nodes of the clipboard node as links (Because: inferior nodes of a page equal output areas in the Form Painter).


Distinguishes between two cases:

  • You want to insert the window on a page where it does not yet exist:
    Inserts the window and its inferior nodes as links.
  • You want to insert the window on a page where it already exists:
    Inserts the window and its inferior nodes as copies.

Graphic or address node with own output area

As long as you insert the clipboard node in a way that allows it to keep its own output area (that is as directly inferior node), the Form Builder inserts it as link; otherwise as copy.

All other nodes

Are inserted as copies.

If you need a copy of a window including all its inferior nodes, create a new window and copy all inferior nodes of the existing window into the new window.