Sections on the City Innovate platform are subunits of Documents, and are used to organize information in a logical, and easy-to-read way. They are used to help readers find specific information quickly and easily, to group related information together, and provide a cohesive understanding to the reader of what expectations and processes are required for for your Project. Let’s start with a foundational video tutorial on how to create and edit sections in Projects, followed by Administrator Guidance for Section Templates, and then proceed to further detail Sections in Projects.

Administrator Guide to Section Templates

Template creation is the first step for many administrators managing projects and teams. Template creation is what will allow your teams to create and take ownership of new projects in service of  your organization's procurement needs. This article will detail the process of template creation in hopes of equipping you with the necessary tools for success. Watch below for more!

Administrators: Adding Section & Subsection Templates

To add a section template to a SB template, do the following:

  1. Select a SB Document Template, then navigate to the Section Templates panel and click Add New Section Template.

  2. Enter a title for the section template.

  3. Add the following:

    • Body - The formatted content of the section. 

    • Help Text -  The text entered here will display above the editor when users edit this section in a document.  Include any instructions or clarification you might want to give to someone editing the section contents.  

    • Inclusion Criteria - The attributes selected here will determine whether or not the section template should be included in the document for different types of solicitations. See Setting Inclusion Criteria for Templates and Questions for details.

    • Project Settings - Can be set to lock a section template and/or to assign others responsibility for completing this section.

      • Does the section template require any additional work?

        • “Yes, create it unlocked” if users are expected to edit or perform some other action with the section, or

        • “No, it should be locked and marked complete by default” if the template should be included in solicitations exactly as-is, without the user needing to edit it.

    • Permissions - Determine which user(s) will be given access to the section template.

  4. Click "Create Section Template" button

  5. To create a Subsection for a Section, simply navigate to a Section and select the option highlighted in the screenshot below

    1. Once a section template has been created, you can edit it by opening the document template, navigating to the Section Templates panel and clicking “Edit” next to the section template you wish to edit.

Administrators: Variables in Section Templates

You can add placeholders for variables in section templates, which will be automatically populated with information when users generate a solicitation. For example, if you need to collect information such as the solicitation number, use the variable features just as you would in a document.

Sections and subsections templates can also include references to other documents and sections.

Even after you’ve built out multiple sections for a template, you can reorder them at any time by dragging and dropping.

Additionally, you can remove section/subsection templates from the document template. However, this cannot be undone. Document Builder will ask to confirm before removing entirely.

Set permissions for sections and subsection templates the same way you would for the document template itself.

For subsection templates, start by opening the specific section to which you want to add a subsection. Navigate to the Subsection Templates panel and click Add New Subsection Template. Then use the directions above to proceed.

Administrators: How to create section template variations

To begin creating a section template variation, go to the Document Templates panel via the Configuration page.  Open any document template  to view details, and scroll down to see the listed section templates for that document.

Within a section template, you will find the Section Template Variation panel. Any existing variations will be visible here. You can also add a new variation.

If adding a new variation, simply fill out the details in the New Variations Details panel.

Once a variation has been created, it will be visible in the Section Template Variation panel and can be edited or deleted as needed.

Note: To edit, create, and delete subsection template variations, use the directions above but start from the Section Template Variations panel within the selected subsection.

Sections in Projects

Section Settings

As an Owner/Editor, you can open document settings to change the name, permissions, and other settings. 
  1. Documents settings can be found on the solicitation details page and in document view.

  2. You can edit the permissions for individual sections within document view.

3. You can also see sections within the document view. 

Managing Section Permissions for Guests

Project Owners and Editors can update permissions to documents and sections.  When sections are "marked completed" they are effectively locked from further edits by Guest Contributors. On some occasions, Guest Contributors will seek assistance from Project Owner and Editor accessing locked sections that they feel still require updates. Guest Contributors are able to prompt access requests and supply a reason for their access, those requests will result in email and notifications to Project Owners and Editors. Please review the following video for a guided walkthrough of how this process works, and detailed UI examples thereafter.

Access Management

From the Document substage, you will find the Access Management tab as highlighted in the screenshot below. The tab depicts all of the Documents in your project, and their respective Sections and Subsections. From here, you can:
  1. See which sections have pending requests for access (and how many) from Guest Contributors
  2. Lock/Unlock sections individually from Guest Contributor access using the toggle on individual section rows
  3. Lock/Unlock an entire document (all contained sections) from Guest Contributor access using the Unlock All and Lock All buttons on the Document Title row

Approving or Rejecting Access Requests

In the Access Management tab, you can click on links in the Requests column to review which users are requesting access to a section and their reasoning. From the resulting modal you can approve or reject the request(s) and provide a reason, here's an example of the modal:

Whatever you elect will also be complemented with email notification and a Toast Message (to yourself and the Guest(s) who requested access)

Admin Approval Modal

Admin Approval Email:
Admin Approval Toast Notification

Admin Denial Modal

Admin Denial Email

Admin Denial Toast Notification

Please note: Whatever you elect for Guest Contributor section or document access will apply to ALL Guest Contributors. The access is not on a per-user basis, the access settings you elect will affect all Guest Contributor's access.

Adding Sections and Subsections

If you are given full access to a document, you can add new sections, subsections and sub-subsections to a document. If not, you will not be able to add new sections.

You can add new sections, subsections and sub-subsections to a document in document view. To add a section, navigate to where you would like to input the new section then hover your cursor over the top right side of the document. Begin by clicking the 3-dot menu and select the option 'Add Section' / 'Add Subsection'. Your changes will automatically save, but you also have the option of clicking 'save now' above the body text.

The section titles located in the Table of Contents when in document view will display a maximum of two levels. For example:

  • sections that are numbered as 1. & 1.1 or 2. & 2.2 will display on the left

  • sections numbered as 1.1.1 or will not display on the left without manually clicking the grey triangle to expand the collapsible list

After you are done inputting the appropriate information, select "Return to document". The same method above can be followed to create a subsection on the same level as a section.

Section Editing

From the Document Panel, open the document and navigate to the section or subsection you want to edit. Click on the ‘Pencil’ icon to access the text editor and format the body text.

You can rename the section, if needed.

To edit or format the body text, use the text editor. The editor behaves like most word processing software and features buttons for:

  • Text formatting (bold, italic, underline)
  • Insert hyperlink
  • List bulleting and numbering
  • Block quote formatting
  • Insert horizontal line
  • Text alignment (left/center/right/justified)
  • Remove formatting
  • Insert page break
  • Font size, color, and background color
  • Insert table
  • Insert image
  • Decrease/increase indent
  • Highlighting
  • Undo/redo

Section Comments

Comments can be placed on any portion of text within a section, start by selecting/highlighting a portion of text:

and then leveraging the comment bubble icon on the far left of the text editor toolbar.

Upon clicking the comment bubble, you will notice a field open on the right hand of the section. Within this field you can make general comments to be reviewed later by Procurement Staff or Admins during their review process.

Additionally however, you can leverage @ tagging of specific team members if you know who can best address your comment/question. When you are ready to submit the comment, click on the green checkbox in the comment field.

When you are done making edits, click on Save Now to ensure your changes have been captured. 

How to insert variables and references into section body text


Document Builder will auto populate certain information throughout your documents using “variables”.  Variables are placeholders in document templates that are automatically filled with details provided by collaborators. A variable placeholder is indicated in a section’s body text with a dollar sign.

To provide details to Document Builder for a variable, navigate to the Questions Panel for the solicitation. Locate the question that corresponds to the variable you want to populate. Provide a response to the question.

The placeholders for the variable will be automatically populated with your provided response.

To include a variable in section body text, place the cursor where the variable should appear in the text, then type "$". A picklist with all variable names will appear.

Select the desired variable. If a response has been provided for this variable, the information will be automatically populated in the document. Otherwise, navigate to the corresponding question and provide the needed details.


You can insert references to other documents as you edit the body text of a section. When the Solicitation Builder document is rendered to PDF, these references will become clickable hyperlinks that take the reader directly to the relevant section.

Navigate to the section you want to insert a reference in. Place the cursor where you want the reference to appear, then type “+”. A picklist of all the solicitation’s documents and their sections will appear.

Select a document / section to reference, and it will be inserted into the body text.

Document View:

If you don't see the document/section title you are looking for, after the "+" symbol type one word that is unique to the title of the document or section you want to reference. This will show documents and sections that contain that word.

Section Examples from previous solicitations

When in section view, you will have the option of pulling in previous language used in past projects. Users with permissions to edit a section can select 'See Examples from Previous Solicitations' to display a list of relevant examples.

These criteria determine if language from solicitations will or will not display:

Will display:

  • Project Status is: Published, Addendum, Contracting, Completed, or Archived

  • Section is part of the configured template 

  • The language is customized/changed from the configured template language

Will not display:

  • Project Status is: In Progress, Under Review, Addendum

  • Section is not part of the configured template (was custom added to a project)

  • The language is not customized/changed from the configured template language 

These criteria were defined to ensure that no language from pre-released solicitations is inappropriately shared and copied before solicitations are released; and to help ensure that all users are working with default templates that are stored and managed on the Configuration page.

Reordering Sections

If you have permissions to edit a document, you can reorder sections from inside documents.
  1. Open a document
  2. At the top of the document, click 'Reorder Sections'
  3. Click, drag and drop section to a new position
  4. Save Changes
  5. Return to view sections

Removing Sections

Sometimes you might want to remove a section / subsection from a document. Once you remove a section, it will be permanently removed and you will not be able to access it. Deleting a section will cause all subsections to be deleted as well.

To delete sections / subsections:

  1. Click 'Remove section'.
  2. Click 'Yes' to confirm.

If you delete any documents or sections, this will also break the +document links currently in your templates.

To keep the dynamic references already setup in your templates, try to keep existing documents and sections as-is rather than removing and recreating them.

Removing a subsection follows the same steps but starting from the subsection page rather than the section page.

Note for Guest Contributors: This option will only be available to you if the entire document is unlocked for GC's

Version History

You have the option of restoring different saved versions of that particular section. When a project is created, each section will have an 'Initial Snapshot' stored. Throughout the editing process, you can save different versions of a section in the event you need specific language restored.

Guest Contributors: Contributing to Sections

Prior to accessing a section and/or document, an Owner/Editor needs to unlock it for GC's. Your role will be indicated by a small circle with your initials under the role labeled 'Guest Contributors' on your solicitation details page. You can tell if a section is unlocked while on your solicitation details page or within document view.

Guest Contributors: Requesting Access to Sections

As a Guest Contributor on a Project, you are able to freely access sections that have been marked for Guest Contribution. In some cases however, even those sections are locked by Editors or Project Owners and in order to continue making changes to them you must request access. Please check out the following video review of the process and mechanisms in place for requesting and access (and insight into approvals and rejections), which is then followed by step-by-step instructions.

To request access to a locked section, click on the kebab (3-dot) menu shown below

Select "Request Access" from the resulting menu, which will prompt a pop-up modal as shown below

Provide a reason for your access request and click "Request to Unlock Section". Your request will be sent to Project Owners and Editors as a notification email for their attention and acceptance or rejection.

Whatever the outcome is of your request (acceptance v. rejection), you will receive an email notification and a "toast" notification when a Project Owner or Editor have taken action; as show here:

Email notification example

Toast Notification Example

If you need to review the sections that have been requested for access you can do so from the "Request Status" tab from the Documents substage

Guest Reviewers: Reviewing Sections

As a reviewer, you can review any document or section regardless of status. Your role will be indicated by a small circle with your initials under the role labeled 'Reviewers' on your solicitation details page.  As a reminder, you will have the permissions to:

  1. Review sections regardless of status
  2. Can add comments and track their edits
  3. Manage section tasks
  4. Edit and mark any task as complete
  5. Download a PDF draft of any document

Selecting ‘Review Section’ will bring you to the text editor for the selected section. You’ll notice that as you begin suggesting changes, those edits are tracked by the tool with a timestamp. 

To add any new texts, sentences, or characters, you can begin by typing directly into the text editor. As you begin typing, the tool will highlight those changes in green. If you want to make a deletion, simply select the delete button or highlight the text in question and select 'delete'. Those edits will be highlighted in red.

Guest Viewer Permissions

As a Guest Viewer, you can only view documents/ sections within a project you have been invited to. Your role will be indicated by a small circle with your initials under the role labeled 'Guest Viewer' on your solicitation details page.  As a reminder, you will have the permissions to:

  1. View sections and documents
  2. Create, edit, or mark any task complete
  3. Download a PDF draft of any document
If you attempt to edit a section, the following message will appear:

While viewing documents you also have the option of downloading a draft PDF of any document.

    • Related Articles

    • Documents

      Documents are essential to Projects, containing the detailed plans and guidelines for how your project will be administered to successful outcomes. In this article, we will explore the settings, features, and actions available for you to develop and ...
    • Reordering Documents and Sections

      Reordering Documents You can reorder documents from the Documents tab. Open your solicitation, and set the status to In Progress or Under Review Open the Documents tab Click a document's name, hold, drag to a new position, then release The numbers in ...
    • Importing and Exporting Documents and Projects

      Importing/Converting Word (DOCX) and other Files You can convert uploaded Word files (DOCX) to Document Builder templates or docs for your project(s), as well as import other files as attachments. There are 2 features available depending on the type ...
    • Administrator: How to edit your organization

      If it hasn’t already been set up, you can edit your organization’s name and profile image from the Organization drop-down menu.
    • Variables and References

      This article covers Variables and Dynamic References. Variables are tools to ensure consistency and accuracy of key information, such as dates and contacts, across project documents. Variables serve as placeholders in document sections, that ...