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Every type of content (regardless of whether it is an image, a questionnaire page or a link etc.) is created as a document in openforms.

Documents can be viewed as containers. Depending on the document type they too can contain more documents, paragraphs or modules. The document type determines, which contents a document can include and if/which document types are allowed as subdocuments. 

Document Structure

Documents set the structure of contents. Similarly to folders in a data system, document organization follows a strict hierarchy. This hierarchy is also referred to as the tree structure of documents or document structure. As is common in content management systems, the tree structure can be extended at will. 

The tree structure allows contents like data lists, images or texts to be filed and referenced in forms at a later time. This way contents may be reused and updated if necessary. See  Cross links and References.

The tree structure clearly defines the path with which the document can be addressed.


Documents can be equipped with rights, i.e. not every user is authorized to read every document/ not every editor can make changes to all documents. See also Document Status and Publication and User Roles and Rights.

Document Contents

The contents of a document are filed as document versions. Each document has at least one version. For the majority of document types more than one version is possible.

The versions contain all contents (texts, images, form fields) that are displayed to the user. The content of a version can be further structured using paragraphs. 

Publication Statuses

Whether or not a document can be accessed by each user is dependent upon its publication status. The following statuses exist:

  1. In progress = the version is still in progress

  2. In preview = the version has been completed and can be viewed using the preview system.The release process can be set in motion. 

  3. In production = if the version is part of a form it can be retrieved externally, which means it is published.

  4. Archived = the version is still available; however it is no longer published and cannot be edited.

Furthermore the publication timeframe can be restricted, hence it is possible for different contents to be displayed on different occasions.

A document can be accessed by a user once it contains a minimum of one version in production. In case of several versions in production the most current version will be displayed.

See also Document Status and Publication

Empty Documents

A document is empty if the version in production has no content. Empty documents serve the structuring process of contents and play a relevant role in disbanding references.

The image shows a typical example of a document structure, though there are more document types than displayed in this image.

The lowest level of this schematic depiction consists of the pages (here: page1,page 2, pages n). The contents of said pages are paragraphs (input boxes, texts, images, links etc.) that essentially reflect the document’s structure. During more complex processes so-called transaction pages are created in addition to the visible pages (i.e. pages that can be viewed by the user). These transaction pages complete background tasks, such as calling the interface, mailing, generating PDFs etc.

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