This article is considered appropriate for administrators or workspace users with an intermediate level of knowledge about submission portals. If you are a beginner, we recommend reading the following article first:
- Submission Portal Key Concepts: Beginner
- Submission Portal Key Concepts: Intermediate
- Form Builder Overview
For more information about suggested learning paths, see Introduction to Submission Portals: START HERE.
- The Purpose of Adding a Step to a Submission Portal Stage
- Requirements for Adding a Step
- Where to Find the Setting
- Adding a New Step
The Stage Settings page in the Submission Portal Settings allows an administrator to customize the way a Stage looks and functions. This includes adding and managing Steps within a Required Stage. This article will walk through the process of creating a new Step in a Stage, as well as the requirements needed to do so.
The Purpose of Adding a Step to a Submission Portal Stage
Steps are the actions that need to be completed within a Stage, and are tied to forms set up in a Zengine workspace. Steps are added to a Stage to provide portal users the means to carry out the actions (such as submitting information) required by the program.
Adding a new Step to a Stage in a submission portal is simple, but requires a bit of planning. When a portal user completes a Step, it usually involves filling out and submitting information that is stored as a record on a specific form in the workspace. The fields, or questions, that a portal user will answer while completing a Step are those that are present on a corresponding form. Thus, a Step cannot exist without an associated form to store the submitted information. As a result, before adding a Step, the associated form and its fields must be created.
Requirements for Adding a Step
Before a new Step can be added in the Submission Portal, there must be a form in the workspace available to serve as the repository for data submitted in the submission portal. This form:
- Must have a Linked field to the Primary form of the submission portal; and
- Cannot be already associated with any other Step.
There are two caveats to the second requirement. First, a form can be associated with a Step in a different submission portal. Second, forms can be selected that are already associated with the Progress Reporting feature, Request Steps, or Review Portals. However, unless a program has very specific needs that mandate this kind of setup, it is not recommended, as it can cause problems with data integrity if not managed properly.
NOTE: Steps cannot be added to External Stages, unless it is a Request or a Progress Reporting Cycle. These features are set up differently than normal Steps, however, and require additional fields to function properly. For more information, see the following articles:
- Submission Portal Key Concepts: Intermediate→ Step Types & Form Relationships (section)
- Progress Reporting
Up to 20 Steps can be added across all Stages in a submission portal, and up to 7 Steps can be added per Stage.
Where to Find the Setting
In the Submission Portal Settings, the option to add a Step to a Required Stage is located within the Stage Settings for the Stage to configure.
To access the option to add a Step to a Required Stage:
- Logged into a program as an administrator, navigate to the Settings & Tools section by selecting the cog wheel icon in the top navigation bar.
- Select the Submission Portal tile from the Plugin Settings section.
- Select the Edit button to the appropriate submission portal.
- Navigate to the desired Stage in the Portal Sections pane on the left side of the screen. Multiple stages are highlighted in the screenshot below to show there may be more than one.
- Selecting a Stage in the Portal Sections panel will change the contents of the right panel and display the Stage Settings.
- Select the Steps tab.
Adding a New Step
After navigating to the Steps tab:
- A list of existing Steps already associated with this Stage will show on the screen; the screenshot below is an example
- Select + ADD STEP at the bottom of the list of existing steps.
- A new screen opens to configure the new Step:
A. Select the Back button to return to the previous screen without adding the new Step.
B. Enter what the Step is to be called. This can be changed later if needed.
- To change the Step Name later, seee the article Changing the Name of the Homepage, Profile, Stages, or Steps.
C. Select the checkbox labeled Is this Step a Request?, if the Step being created is a Request to involve an outside collaborator (for example, requesting a letter of recommendation from an external recommender). Otherwise, this should be left unchecked.
- See the article Requests for more information on Request Steps.
D. Designate which form in the workspace will be associated with this Step by selecting it from the dropdown menu.
- See Requirements for Adding a Step section above for more information.
NOTE: there are two different Step Types (Single Form and Listing) that could be created based on the relationship of this Step to the Primary form, which is beyond the scope of this article. (For more information about Step Types, see the article Submission Portal Key Concepts: Intermediate → Step Types & Form Relationships (section).)
- After the Step is set up as needed, select the blue Save all settings button in the lower right corner of the screen.
The screen will return to the Steps tab of the Stage Settings page, and the new Step will be added to the list of Steps associated with this Stage. The Step can now be configured, if necessary. For more information on configuring Steps, see the article Submission Portal Settings → Stage and Step Settings (section).
- Submission Portal Key Concepts: Intermediate: Describes Stage Types, Step Types, and how form relationships determine Step Types.
- Requests: Configure and use the Request feature in a submission portal, allowing portal users to invite contributions from third parties (such as recommendation letter writers).
- Progress Reporting: Configure and use the Progress Reporting feature in a submission portal, allowing administrators to more easily manage progress reports submitted by portal users.
- Form Builder Overview: Build and edit forms in the workspace.
- Changing the Name of the Homepage, Profile, Stages, or Steps: Change the name of various milestones or key points in a submission portal workflow.
- Submission Portal Settings: Introduction to navigating around the Submission Portal Settings, with a list of configuration articles by Settings screen.