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:
If the Step that will be made optional is a Request Step, we recommend first reading:
For more information about suggested learning paths, see Introduction to Submission Portals: START HERE.
- The Purpose of Making a Step Optional
- Where to Find the Setting
- Making a Step Optional
- Making a Listing Step Optional
- Making a Request Step Optional
When an applicant or portal user enters information into a submission portal, they do so by completing one or more Steps associated with a Stage. This article will show how to make a Step optional.
Note that the process is the same regardless of whether the Step is a Single Form or a Listing type, but a Primary Step type (which is the Step that contains the primary form of the submission portal) cannot be set to optional.
The Purpose of Making a Step Optional
In the example below showing the Submissions Page in a submission portal, the Application Stage has three Steps that must be completed: an Application form, an Organization Information form, and a Letter of Recommendation request.
The status of each step can be seen to the right of the Step Name, as either Complete or Action Required.
By default, each Step must be completed before the Stage can be submitted. However, some programs may consider certain steps to be optional, supplementary, or not applicable to all portal users. In these cases and others like them, program administrators can make a Step optional rather than required. This means that an applicant or portal user can complete a Step before submitting, but is not required to.
Please note that other configuration options on the screen may vary by step type, so the images shown in this article are for example purposes and may not reflect all users.
Where to Find the Setting
In the Submission Portal Settings, the option to make a Step optional can be found on the Step Description tab of the Step Settings page for the specific Step to be edited.
To find the setting to make a Step optional:
- 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.
- In the Portal Sections pane on the left side of the screen, select the link for the desired Step that will be optional to portal users. (Steps are associated with a Stage, and are shown on the Portal Sections pane as indented further to the right.) Multiple Steps are highlighted in the screenshot below to show there may be more than one to choose from.
- Selecting a Step in the Portal Sections panel will change the contents of the right panel and display the Step Settings.
- Select the Step Description tab to access the setting.
- The configuration setting to make a Step optional is at the bottom of the Step Description tab.
Making a Step Optional
After locating the configuration setting to make a Step optional:
- Check the box next to Make Optional?
- Select the blue Save all settings button in the lower right corner of the screen.
In the submission portal, a portal user will see that a Step has been made optional:
The status of Steps that have been made optional will say Optional rather than Complete or Action Required.
Making a Listing Step Optional
The process for making a Listing Step optional is the same as it is for a Single Form Step, by selecting the checkbox next to Make Optional? However, please note that additional options may be present on the Step Description page.
For more information about Listing Steps, see Submission Portal Key Concepts: Intermediate → Step Types & Form Relationships (section).
For more information about the configuration options for Listing Steps, see Configure Listing Steps.
Making a Request Step Optional
Request Steps work a little differently than Single Form or Listing Steps and are configured in different ways. To make a Request Step optional, instead of selecting a checkbox, the minimum number of requests that a portal user must create must be set to 0 (zero).
The remainder of this section will walk through that process. (For more information about Requests, please see the article Requests).
To make a Request Step optional:
- In the Portal Sections pane on the left side of the screen, below the Stages and Steps of the program workflow, there are separate sections for Requests and Reports; under the Requests section, select the link for the desired Request Step that will be optional to portal users. (If there are no Request Steps set up yet, they will need to be set up first.)
- Selecting a Request Step in the Portal Sections panel will change the contents of the right panel and display the Requests Settings.
- The options to change the minimum and maximum number of requests that must be submitted are located at the bottom of this page. Select the box containing the number for Minimum Requests and change it to 0 (zero).
- After all changes are made to the Request Step, select the blue Save all settings button in the lower right corner of the screen.
In the submission portal, the status on the Request Step (in this example, the Letter of Recommendation step) will change to Optional.