Variables are key terms that are custom to your school/office and are utilized in questions where the information needs to be repeated. Many variables are collected through the initial set-up form. The benefit of utilizing variables in responses is that it makes it much more efficient for the school to update that information when needed. 

Once in the admin system at, navigate to the Variables area:

  • Navigate to the Chatbot tab to access the Variables area

Under the existing General, Financial Aid, and Student Services (if applicable) tabs, first, ensure that all standard existing variables are as complete as possible. This will ensure you are not creating unnecessary new variables. Assuming the variable you need does not yet exist, click on the plus icon in the bottom right corner to create a new variable.

  • A "New Variable" window will pop up. This is where you will create the new variable. 

  • Name the variable: The name serves only as an identifier to describe what value the variable will hold. Use something simple that will help you remember the purpose of the variable when you reference it again in the future (i.e. “Graduation Homepage”)
  • Identify the variable’s category: This will most likely be the same as the office or department that is creating the variable (i.e. Registrar). Multiple custom variables can hold the same category. Custom variables with the same category will all be grouped together in that same area under a new “Custom” tab.
  • Create a placeholder label for the variable: This can be the same as the name that describes the variable. The placeholder label must be unique from every other existing variable.
  • Identify the type of variable: There are 7 options:
    1. Number: A simple digit will be displayed
    2. Text: A term, name, label, or sentence that the chatbot user will simply need to read. Cannot be formatted. 
    3. Rich Text: Formattable text (bold, italics, linkable text, and emojis)
    4. Link: Linked text, where the text is displayed to the user and can be clicked to go to the URL's webpage
    5. Dropdown: Pre-chosen values that will give limited options to choose from when completing the variable's value. 
    6. Email address: Must be entered in full email format
    7. URL: A clickable link (that will be presented to the user as the actual URL, as opposed to linked text) that will take the user to a web page.

As an example, let’s say the Registrar’s office is creating a new variable for their graduation website homepage because they intend to reference that homepage often in their custom knowledge base responses. If that URL ever changes then they only want to have to update the variable (instead of updating every individual response that contains the content). 

  • Name = Graduation Homepage
  • Category = Registrar
  • Placeholder = !custom-graduationhomepage
  • Type = Link

Once a Type is chosen, a new field will appear. Enter the value of the variable in that last field (the text, URL, etc. that you want to be actually displayed in the response to the user. 

For URLs, be sure to add the “https://” in order to make the URL valid.

Once saved, the new variable will be placed in the Custom tab.  If the new custom variable is not available in the list immediately, you can use the new custom variable within a response and it will be activated.  Otherwise, you can wait for the new custom variable to become available within approximately one hour. 

You can then edit the variable’s value by clicking on the pencil icon and adjusting the value that you want to display to the user in the response.

Every time you create a custom question that needs to include a link to the graduation homepage, you can enter “!custom-graduationhomepage” into your response instead of the actual URL. That way, if and when the URL ever changes, you can update the variable instead of every custom question that contains this information.

If you’d prefer to use this link variable to hyperlink a text variable, those variables can be combined. 

  • Since you already have the link variable created, you can now create a text variable and then combine the text and link variables together within your custom response. 
  • Create a new variable with a text type:

You now have a link variable (in the example below: Graduation Homepage) and a text variable (in the example below: Graduation Homepage Name):

Now, when you create a new custom question, use the text variable (in this case, “!custom-graduationhomepagename” and then use the hyperlink tool to link the text variable to the link variable:

Once the goes live, test it out.

If the term “Graduation Homepage” ever changes, all you need to update is the !custom-graduationhomepagename variable, and the term will be updated automatically in every response in which it appears.

If the graduation homepage URL ever changes, all you need to update is the !custom-graduationhomepage variable, and the URL will be updated automatically in every response in which it appears.