Document template overview and setup

Estimated reading: 25 minutes

Medical notes and correspondence document templates are used for exam notes, consent forms, client handouts, kennel cards, etc. and are managed from the document template list. A variety of templates are provided for you in document categories of Samples and Starter. In this article:

  • Types of documents
  • Editor tools and properties
  • Defaults Template
  • Planning your template
  • Setup and/or edit your template

Before you start




  • Copy/pasting a bookmark breaks its function and can create protected text errors. If a bookmark is not working within a document, delete the bookmark and re-insert.
  • Template descriptions must be unique. Duplicate descriptions, including those with different use of upper and lower case, are not permitted.

Types of templates

Document template types are required when creating a new document template. The template and save type determine how the document will appear in the patient record and on the Daily Planner.

Three types of templates examples:

  • Medical Note: Exams, progress notes, surgery, and anesthesia records.
  • Correspondence: Consent forms, take home instructions, heath condition handouts.
  • Print Only: Cage cards, patient identification label/collar, general information handouts.

Each type of document can be distinguished by its icon that appears next to it in history on the Patient Clipboard.

Template details

Document TypeRecorded in historyDisplay in history and Daily PlannerSource icon in history
Medical note
Includes text only and classic
YesThe document title displays on the Summary, Text, and Medical Notes tab of Patient Clipboard.

Text only and classic notes display inline on Text and Medical Notes tabs. The full document can be viewed from the preview pane.

Documents with the status of draft and tentative display on the Medical Notes tab of Daily Planner.
Correspondence Document
Includes text only
YesThe document title displays on the Summary and Text tabs of Patient Clipboard.
Text only displays inline on Text tab. The full document can be viewed from the preview pane. 

Documents with the status of draft and tentative display on Correspondence tab of Daily Planner.
Correspondence Title Only
Includes text only
YesThe title displays on Summary and Text tabs of Patient Clipboard. Only the title can be viewed.

It does not display in the Daily Planner, as the only status is final
Print onlyNo

Document editor menu

FilePage setup and margins, access to document properties, print
EditCommon word processing functions like cut, copy, paste, undo, redo, etc.
Modify text input fields and pictures
ViewShow/hide rulers and toolbars
InsertAdd bookmarks, text input fields, checkboxes, information prompt links, etc.
FontCommon word processing font functions like bold, underline, italic, etc.
ParagraphCommon word processing paragraph functions like right justify, indent left, indent right, etc.
TableInsert and format table options
Othersearch, replace, spell check

Template elements

A list of elements commonly used in templates with their function, use cases, and instructions on how to setup.

Note: Most images are displaying the element once the document is in use. See the Setup a new document section for an example of a full template once it is setup with the elements.



Text input fields

Check boxes

Information prompt links (Diagnosis, Problem, and Vital Signs)

Picture/picture and description


Invoice items pane

Tab stops


Update any of the properties, as needed, by selecting Edit Properties on the document template.

  1. Title: Enter a brief document name to identify the template.
    • Up to 50 alphanumeric characters will display in the list without truncation
    • Descriptions longer than 50 characters will display in patient history without truncation.
  2. Type:
    • Medical Note: Will display in the medical note tab on the Patient Clipboard.
    • Correspondence: Will display in the summary tab on the Patient Clipboard
    • Print Only: Does not display in history
  3. Save: This option applies to the correspondence type only.
    • Document: The entire document is stored in the patient history and can be previewed/opened.
    • Title Only: Only the title displays in the patient history, document cannot be opened/viewed
  4. Show past and future uses of this template on…: Select if you want past and future correspondence documents created from this template to be shown in history on the Medical Notes tab, Daily Planner, Check-in Report and Patient History Report.
  5. Category options:
    • Category: select a document template category to expedite searching and organizing documents.
    • Inactive: select when document template is no longer to be used.
    • Show in Practice Favorites: select to add to favorite document list for the practice.
  6. Description: Enter a default history (Hx) description that will be included with the template description when the document is used for a patient.
    • The history description can be up to 40 alphanumeric characters.
    • A history description can also be entered or edited at the time of use and be up to 65 characters.
  7. Alert Display
    • Hx alert: Select to have this document title highlighted.
      • The history line displays with white text on a bright red background by default.
      • The alert option can be changed or chosen at the time of use.
    • Color: Select a highlight color when using the Hx alert. Note: This will be against a white background.
    • Text: Select white or black text when using Hx alert and a designated alert color.
    • Autofinalize in _ days: Enter the number of days in which this document becomes finalized. The default can be set in Controls > Defaults > Practice and Workstation > Documents.
  8. Printer: Select a default printer when printing a document created from this template.
  9. Click OK to save your changes and return to the Document Template list or click Save to keep changes and continue working on the template.

Default template setup

A default setup document template can be used as a starting point for new document templates and for converting classic notes to an enhanced template. The Header and Footer (w/ fonts) template is provided and is automatically set in Practice and Workstation defaults as the default template for documents for new Cornerstone systems.

  • This template includes a header and footer containing bookmarks for clinic, client, and patient information, date, etc.
  • This information displays on all pages of the document when filled out for a patient and can be further customized as needed.
  • Update the default template or create a new one to include information relevant to your practice, such as a logo and any other in formation that should be included.
  • Change the default template in Controls > Defaults > Practice and Workstation > Documents.

The steps for creating a new Header/footer template, or updating the existing one are the same as they are for other document templates. See the sections below for details on creating a new template or updating a template.

Options for setting up a new document

Start from default template

Copy existing template

Save as

Outside source


Planning your document

Before starting to create a document, use these questions and considerations as a guide to help determine what options are best for the situation.

  • What kind of document do you need?
    • Medical note
    • Correspondence
    • Print Only
  • Where do you want it to display in history?
    • Should it display on the summary and medical notes?
    • Should it only display in summary?
  • Do you only need to see that the document was created or do you need to be able to open and view the document?
  • Would it be more efficient to start from a blank document or use copy or save as?
  • Who will use the document?
  • What data entry methods will be used?
    • Bookmarks, question bookmarks
    • Text input
    • Check boxes
  • The template should follow practice workflow, such as exam. This will also help to determine use of bookmarks, text input, etc.
  • Text input only style documents can be used for a simpler template type without formatting, tables, graphics, and other elements.

Navigating the document list

  1. Lists > Documents > Templates
  2. All documents display alphabetically by title. Search and select an existing template by doing any of the following:
    • Check the search for word checkbox and enter a key word.
    • Enter a document ID.
    • Narrow results by selecting a Category or Favorites.
    • Uncheck or check the template type checkboxes.
    • Select Include inactives.
    • Sort list by any of the columns by clicking the applicable column header.
  3. A preview of the template will display in the pane at bottom of window.

Setup a new document template

  1. Do one of the following from the Document Template List:
    • Click New and then select Document template or Text only template.
    • Search and select an existing template from the list and click Update and then click Save As.
    • Search and select an existing template and click Copy.
  2. In the Cornerstone document editor:
    • Modify the template by adding content and using the Cornerstone Editor tools available based on document or text only selection from previous step.
    • The Cornerstone Editor is similar to a word processing program with typical formatting options for font, text, bulleted and numbered lists, etc. Hovering your mouse over the editor toolbar icons will display their function.
  3. Edit properties, as needed.
  4. Click Ok.

Update a document template

Modify templates, inactivate, and change template properties as needed.

  1. Lists > Documents > Templates
  2. Search and select an existing template from the list and click Update.
  3. In the Cornerstone editor:
  4. Click Edit Properties, if needed to change document category, alert or printer settings, or template status.

Convert a classic medical note template

Classic medical notes are the previous style of medical notes used in Cornerstone 7.6 and earlier versions. If
desired, you can convert a Classic medical note template to one of the two main types of medical notes now used
in Cornerstone: an enhanced medical note or a text-only medical note.

Note: You cannot convert the Cornerstone Radiology (Imaging) Template or the Cornerstone Surgery Template, as they are used with reports.

Conversion of existing fields

When you convert a Classic medical note template, any standard data field prompts in the Classic template will automatically be changed to the matching bookmark type in the converted medical note. Example: A [PATIENT ID] data field in the Classic template will be changed to a {PATIENTID} bookmark in the converted template.

For any custom data fields in the Classic template that do not have a matching bookmark in the enhanced template,
Cornerstone will convert them as shown in the following table.

Classic Template – Custom Data FieldConverts To
[CHAR]Text Input field, if it contains any default data
Question bookmark, if it does not contain any default data
[CONSULT ITEM]Item will be added to the Invoice Items tab with
Accepted status.
[DIAGNOSIS]“Add_Diagnosis_Description” link
[IMAGE#]Text Input field, if it contains any default data
Question bookmark, if it does not contain any
default data
[INVOICE ITEM]Item will be added to the Invoice Items tab with
Accepted status
[NUMERIC]Text Input field, if it contains any default data
Question bookmark, if it does not contain any
default data
[PROBLEMS]“Add_Problems_Description” link
[REMARKS]Text Input field, if it contains any default data
Question bookmark, if it does not contain any
default data
All other custom pre-defined fieldsText Input, if it contains any default data
Question bookmark, if it does not contain any default data
Note: If you end up with Question bookmarks for data that is not known, you cannot easily determine where the bookmarks are located within a document. To avoid this, redo these Question bookmarks as Text Input fields. Text Input fields are easily visible and can be filled in at any time when creating a document.

Convert a classic medical note

When a Classic template is converted, the old Classic template is inactivated automatically. Even if you cancel before saving the converted template, the conversion will still occur.

Navigate to Lists > Documents > Templates.

  1. Search for and select the Classic medical note template you want to convert.
  2. Click Convert.
  3. Select Enhanced Medical Note or Text Only Medical Note. A Convert Classic Medical Note confirmation message displays.
  4. Click OK. The template opens in the Cornerstone Editor’s Template Update window.
    Note: For enhanced templates, depending on the default template, header and footer information may display automatically in your converted template. In addition, temporary “IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ” instruction text may display. This information can be deleted, if needed.
  5. Click Edit Properties, set as needed, and click OK when finished.
    Note: The name must be different from the name of the Classic medical note you are converting and the type is automatically set to Medical Notes.
  6. Edit the converted template, as needed, using the Cornerstone Editor tools.
  7. When you are finished setting up the template, do one of the following:
    • OK: Save the template and close the editor.
    • Save: Save the template and remain in the Cornerstone Editor to continue working.
    • Save As: To save the template with a new title.
    • Cancel: Close the Cornerstone Editor without saving the template.

Import a document template

Many sample document templates for medical notes and correspondence are available in the “Samples” category in Cornerstone. Other templates can be easily imported into Cornerstone.

Navigate to Tools > Import Document.

  1. If you have not already done so, download the template file you want to import, to the location of your choice on your computer or your network.
  2. On the Import Document Template dialog box, click Browse and select the desired document template to import.
    • File must be .csz format.
    • If a template with the same name already exists, a message asks if you want to continue the import.
      • If you click Yes, a number is appended to the new template name. Example: “Eye Exam” becomes “Eye Exam (1).
      • If you click No, the selected template will not be imported. Click Browse to select a different template
        or click Cancel to close the window.
  3. Click Import Template. A message displays to inform you that the import was successful.The next time you access the Document Template List window, the imported template will be available for selection in the Samples category.
    Note: If the Document Template List window is open while you import the template, you will need to close
    the Document Template List window and reopen it in order to see the new template in the list.

Additional information



Cornerstone editor window

Document titles

Document types

Invoice items



Template properties

Text input fields

Text-only template documents

Converting classic medical notes

Editor tools document compatibility

Use the chart below to determine which document elements/tools can be used with which document types.

Data entry tools


Check out our Professional Services Catalog for courses on electronic medical notes, going chartless and other course offerings!

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