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How building once leads to endless possibilities.

Remixing your Coda docs to create new solutions.
Here at Coda, I’m the Customer Educator, but I fondly refer to myself as the Chief Cheerleading Officer (CCO) because I see education as an opportunity to celebrate and empower people. Whenever I’m teaching folks how to use Coda, they ask me tons of questions. I commonly hear:
What formulas do I need to know to be a great Coda maker?
What’s the best feature to use?
What are the tricks I need to know to be an expert?
My answer usually surprises people. The most important Coda skill doesn’t actually rely on Coda—it’s the ability to notice and reuse patterns for repeatable success (and time saving!). Once you build a doc, you unlock the ability to build efficiently the next time, so you never need to start from scratch. It also means you can save TONS of time. Using this pattern approach, I was able to build 3 new docs in 20 minutes.
Here’s the pattern repurposing process:
Look at the tables first. What is it tracking? This is the noun.
Then, look at the columns in that table. Each column is an adjective that describe that noun.
What other nouns and adjectives could be combined like this?
Copy, paste, and rename.
Let me show you how I did this...

The original doc.

Before we look at the changes I made, let’s take a look at the original doc. I’ve been using Coda to , and created a template to help track . During the doc building process, I realized I could solve different problems using the exact same structure simply by repeating the pattern I had already made. I was able to quickly turn this doc into a solution for students, nonprofits, and apartment hunters by simply changing labels.
The original doc has three parts:
A dashboard page that summarizes trends
A submission page with all the data of what was submitted and when
A data page with a list of the publications
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Now, let’s revisit the steps.
Identify the nouns. I have pieces and publications.
Identify the connections in your nouns. In my case, multiple pieces could be submitted to publications, and each piece needed a few descriptors so I could track their progress.
Brainstorm other problems with similar connections.
I was able to make these three new docs only by changing the labels and displays (step 4 of copy, paste, and rename).

Update the data that powers the doc.

Now, that I had my patterns and problems identified, all I needed to do what rename each piece. I started with adjusting my data, because after all, that’s what will power everything else in the doc. This was a really simple step. I did the following:
Change the subtitle.
Change the label on the button.
And, for the apartment hunting doc, I added a few new columns for some ratings on various attributes.
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Notice that none of these made any major changes to how the data worked together. I simply changed the names and colors. Voila! New data!

Update the nouns.

I did something very similar with the tracker table. All I did was change the labels and colors of the buttons. Now, the cool thing that happened here is that because the tracker table is populated by lookups, all the changes I made in the data table automatically pulled through.
Now, just with a few name changes, I have the same table structure performing a completely new job!

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Tweak the dashboard.

Now that I had my data in place, I could make my final touches to the dashboard page. Like the tables that preceded it, the major changes I made here were changing the labels and colors of my buttons and the charts. I made two other smaller changes:
I removed the submission tracker table since it wasn’t as relevant for the grad school and apartment hunting use cases.
I changed the chart to be a single pie chart of statuses for the apartment hunting use case.
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I could then decide to add new charts if I wanted to answer questions about the data in the tables. This is the beautiful thing about relational data. If you set up the relationships, they support you no matter where you use them in the doc.

How to work with a pattern.

I made all of these changes, and built three totally new docs in about 20 minutes because all of those changes happened at the surface level. Give it a try yourself! Take a look at a doc you’ve made (or one on the gallery), and then:
What is the noun in the tables?
What are the adjectives?
What other nouns and adjectives could be combined like this?
Copy, paste, and rename!

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