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Creating customized templates

Creating customized templates

Note: While customizable intake forms are available on the Starter plan, notes and other document templates can only be customized on the Essential and Plus plans.

In SimplePractice, you can use our template editor to design and edit documentation for your practice. You’ll also have access to our collection of pre-built templates, which can be fully customized to fit your practice’s needs. 

In this guide, we'll cover:

Note: In a group practice, only Account Owners, Practice Managers, and Clinicians with Administrative Access are able to edit templates. To learn more about our team member roles, see Team member roles and access levels. Keep in mind that Clinicians and Schedulers are able to send intake forms and documents to clients.

Reviewing our template types

Note: Customers on the Starter plan can only access intake form templates from their Template library.

Your Template library page is divided into scored measures, intake forms, progress notes, other documents, and treatment plans. Templates within each section are organized alphabetically. New accounts created with the Psychiatry and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing specialties will have psychiatry-related templates added by default to Settings > Documentation > Template library.

Important: A custom template will only be available to use based on if it’s saved as for Intake forms, for Progress notes, for Other documents, or for Treatment plans. If you’re trying to use a particular template but it isn't appearing, it's likely saved as a different template type. To learn how to change the type of template it is, see Naming your custom note or form.

Scored measures

Scored measures are client-facing questionnaires that clients can complete through the Client Portal to self-report symptoms and progress. Scores are automatically calculated and graphed on the Measures tab in a client's profile, and scored measures can be scheduled to send to clients on a recurring basis.

Note: There's no way to edit scored measure templates. For more information, see Getting started with measurement-based care.

Intake forms

Intake forms are client-facing questionnaires that you can send to clients and contacts to complete through the Client Portal.

To share a template saved as an Intake form, navigate to a client's Overview page and select Share:


Note: After your clients submit an intake form, they won't be able to view it in the Client Portal. If a client would like a copy of a completed intake form, you can upload it to their profile and share it with the client. To learn more, see Sharing completed forms or documents with clients.

Progress notes

Progress notes are clinician-facing documents that can be used to record information related to an appointment. Completed progress notes can be shared via the Client Portal for client and contact e-signature.

From a client's Overview page, click + Progress Note beneath an appointment to choose a progress note template and save it to the client’s profile.


Note: To learn more, see Using progress and psychotherapy notes.

Other documents

Other documents are clinician-facing documents that aren’t related to a specific appointment. When completed, these documents can also be shared via the Client Portal for client and contact e-signature.

From a client's Overview page, click New > Other document to choose a template and save it to a client’s profile.


Note: Other documents are only available on the Essential and Plus plans. For more information on using these, see Other documents.

Treatment plans

Treatment plans are clinician-facing documents that can be used to outline a client's plan of care, with or without a diagnosis. Completed treatment plans can be shared via the Client Portal for client and contact e-signature.

From the client’s Overview page:

  • Click New > Diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Select a diagnosis or click Skip to treatment plan
  • Use the dropdown menu to select a treatment plan template


Note: For more information on using treatment plans, see Diagnoses and treatment plans.

Creating a custom form template

From your Template library, you can create a new custom template from scratch, or from a pre-built template.

To create a new template:


Important: Intake forms shouldn’t be used to collect client credit card information. Credit card information should only be stored within the designated online payments fields in your SimplePractice account. If your practice would like to collect client card information, see Credit Card Information form to learn more about securely collecting and storing client credit card information. By storing credit card information outside of these designated fields, or in any other manner, you acknowledge the risk associated with storing this data in your account.

To create a new form based on a pre-built template:


  • Locate the template you want to base your new form on
  • Click + Add to the right of the form


To learn how to customize your new form, continue to the Naming your custom note or form section below.

Note: For more information and a full list of the pre-built templates available in SimplePractice, see Using our pre-built templates.

Creating a new custom form based on an existing form

Instead of creating a template from scratch, you can create a copy of an existing form that you already use and make your desired changes. To do this:

  • Locate the form that you want to use as the basis for a new template
  • Select the duplicate icon


  • This will create a duplicate named [NAME OF ORIGINAL FORM] Copy


  • Select this copy to open it in the template builder
  • Update the Template name and template type (for Progress Notes, for Intake Forms, for Other documents, or for Treatment Plans) as needed
  • Make additional changes as needed
  • Click Save


Naming your custom note or form

Whether you're creating a new template or editing a copy of an existing template, it’s important to give it a descriptive name and save it to the correct section. Here’s how:

  • Enter a descriptive name in the Template name field


  • Select for Progress notes, for Intake forms, for Other documents, or for Treatment plans from the dropdown menu


  • For progress notes, other documents, and treatment plans, you can enter a Display name. This will appear on all printed notes that use this template. If you leave this field blank, the Template name will be used on printed notes instead
  • For intake forms, you can enter a Display name that will be shown to clients in the Client Portal. The Template name will display instead if no Display name is entered


Note: If you’re sending a note or form that has a Display name, it will appear by this name in the client’s Files page once sent.

Customizing your note or form

Note: The following information applies to creating custom intake forms, progress notes, other documents, and treatment plans. There's no way to include an eSignature on progress notes, other documents, or treatment plans.

In this section, we’ll cover how you can edit a note or form for your practice. This includes:

Understanding each question type

Before adding questions to your notes or forms, it’s important to understand how each question type can be used:

Question type Description
Long Answer (Multiple-line text) Use this question type for open-ended questions that may result in longer responses
Short Answer (Single-line text) Use this question type to give clients a single-line text input area for shorter responses
Single Choice (Radio Buttons) This question type lets clients select only one response
Multiple Choice (Checkboxes) This question type lets clients select more than one response
Short Answer (Question Groups) This question type lets you group multiple questions together, with the client selecting from a dropdown or entering a short text entry for each answer
Dropdown Similar to Single Choice (Radio Buttons), this question type lets clients select only one response
Date Field (Calendar) This question type lets clients select a date using a date picker
eSignature This question type lets you collect a client’s electronic signature, and is only available for intake forms

Adding a question

Adding a new question type or form element is the first step to customizing your form. To do this:

  • Click Add New at the bottom of the page
  • Use the dropdown menu to choose a question type or form element


  • Enter the Question text
  • Click + Answer to provide response options, if applicable


  • When adding answers, you can use the dropdown to select from the following options: 
    • No free text field
    • Allow one line of response
    • Allow multi-line response

Note: You won’t be able to add response options for Long Answer, Short Answer, Date Field, or eSignature question types.

  • Enter your first response in the Answer text field
  • Repeat the steps until you’ve added all responses for a given question
  • Select Allow one line of response or Allow multi-line response to Single Choice or Multiple Choice question types to allow yourself or a client to respond with additional information

Editing a question

Questions that are already added to a template can be edited at any time. To do this:

  • Select the question you’d like to edit
  • Adjust the question type and update the Question text as needed


  • Click Save

Moving a question

When creating a form, you may need to rearrange the order in which the questions or parts of the form appear. To do this:

  • Click and hold the order icon next to the question or form element you want to move
  • Drag the icon up or down to where you'd like to move it to


  • Click Save

Requiring a question

To indicate that a field is required to submit a form, check the Require answer box.


Click Save.

Note: If a question is optional, you or the client will be able to leave it blank. Any questions without an answer won't appear on a completed form or document.

Deleting a question

To delete a question, click the trash can icon to the right of the question you’d like to delete.


Click Save.

Note: Deleting questions action can't be undone. If a question was deleted, you can recreate it as needed. 

Using the Short Answer (Question Groups) option

This question type lets you group related questions on an intake form, progress note, or other document. You can select whether these questions have a short text entry field or an autocomplete dropdown for each answer.

If you select the Dropdown (autocomplete), only one response can be selected. However, you can customize this as needed when creating the template. You can use commas to create a Dropdown (autocomplete) option with different answers. To do this in the template builder:

  • From the dropdown, choose Short Answers (Question Groups)


  • Enter the Question text
  • Click + Answer
  • In the Answer text field, enter your question subheading


  • From the dropdown, choose Dropdown (autocomplete)
  • In the text field next to the dropdown, enter your response options separated by commas


  • Click Save
  • Continue customizing the template as needed
  • Choose Save to create the template

Once saved, here's how the dropdown will appear when completing the template for a client:


Using texts & dividers

When customizing a template, you have the option to add form elements. There are three form elements to choose from:

  • Paragraph Text (No Client Input)
  • Section Header
  • Section Break

The table below provides details about each form element:

Text & Dividers Description
Paragraph Text (No Client Input) This form element gives you the ability to add instructions for clients
Section Header This form element gives you the ability to create bolded section headers on your custom template
Section Break This form element lets you add a line to divide different sections of your custom template

Previewing a custom note or form

You can preview a note or form before you use it. You can preview your templates from Settings > Documentation > Template library, or from a specific template’s editing page.

To preview a template from the Template library page:

  • Navigate to Settings > Documentation > Template library
  • Click the eye icon next to the template


To preview a specific template while editing it:


  • Click Preview


Tip: If you’re creating a new template, you’ll have to click Save before the Preview button will appear.

Printing or saving a custom note or form

Deleted templates can’t be recovered. Before deleting a custom template, you can print or save a copy for your records.

To print or save a custom note or form:

  • Navigate to Settings > Documentation > Template library
  • Click the eye icon next to the template you'd like to print


  • From Preview mode, click Print in the top right corner


  • Print or save as a PDF

Below, you can see what each document type will look like when exported or printed:

  • Intake forms


  • Other documents


  • Progress Notes


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