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SpecLink Tutorial: How It Works

SpecLink is intuitive specification-writing software that helps you make more informed decisions, faster, through every phase of the design process.

Built on a sophisticated database, the software offers advanced capabilities you just won’t find in a word processing system.

SpecLink combines the industry’s best content with the most advanced software on the market. Our master guide specification writing, management, and production system with built-in intelligence is designed to help you dramatically speed up editing tasks and reduce specification production time while minimizing errors and omissions.

You can use SpecLink to produce documentation for all types of projects and for all phases of a project – from programming all the way through construction administration. Our database of over 820 sections can be expanded or collapsed to provide outline, short form, and full construction specs, without the need to start over at each phase of a project.

Editing in SpecLink

SpecLink allows you to:
  • Add, modify or delete text without affecting the master content
  • Quickly create new paragraphs and sections using built-in templates
  • Export your specs to word processing or PDF files

Edit by inclusion

Editing in SpecLink is fast and easy. Simply select (or turn on) content you want to include from a user-friendly checklist. The text you select will automatically include related text, exclude incompatible text and highlight other text for consideration.

Only text that you have selected—either manually or automatically via a link—is formatted and included in your printed documents. Unselected text is grayed out.

Content you choose to omit is never deleted; it remains visible and can be reinstated with a single click. Unlike word processing systems, you never have to start all over again, which can be tedious and often leads to oversights and mistakes.

Editing by selection reduces spec production time by up to 70%.


SpecLink allows you to customize your projects without affecting the master. Import text from word processing, edit master text, or add paragraphs, tables and images. To insert text, simply click anywhere within a paragraph and start typing, as in word processing.

All changes you make to the master text are stored in a project overlay file that’s completely unaffected by SpecLink’s automatic updates.


Save time and enhance collaboration by including notes within your document. A Master Notes Panel includes more than 40,000 context-sensitive notes to the specifier.

A Project Notes Panel serves as a “notepad” for recording corporate memory within your projects—including your office master. These notes exist in a window that’s separate from the project spec, and can be visible or hidden.

How intelligent links work

More than 300,000 links between related paragraphs and embedded choices within those paragraphs help you build comprehensive,
well-coordinated specs. Beyond speeding up your editing process, intelligent links ensure the choices you make aren’t contradicted elsewhere.

When you select text to include in your spec, color-coded links automatically include relevant provisions (green), exclude incompatible options (red), and highlight related options throughout your entire project for consideration (yellow).

You can also see the source and target for any link, and override any of the master links. To increase your efficiency even more, create custom intelligent links in your office master through a simple drag-and-drop process.

Outline, short-form and full-length modes for phasing specification development

Produce outline, short-form and full construction specifications from the same master data—without ever having to start over. Simply access different views of the common database, in increasing level of detail, to suit your needs.

You’ll no longer need separate files for specs related to schematic design, design development and construction document phases. Simply expand or collapse text to build upon the information you produced in the previous phase.


Outline spec mode

Master text available for brief outline specs consists primarily of descriptions of the major products in each section. Use outline specs in the early schematic design stage to establish basic identification and general product quality.

Outline specs are organized and printed by division, and paragraphs are not numbered.

As the focus is primarily on major products in each section, you can use outline specs to inform owners of the most important product selection decisions.


Short-form mode

Expands outline specs to reveal more text and produce compact, three-part specification sections that include more basic decisions. Use short-form specs as a design

Part one typically only includes items such as submittals and warranty, part two includes more detail on products (but no manufacturer names), and part three includes basic installation requirements.

Short-form specs are appropriate during design development—or as final construction specs for simple, uncomplicated projects. These specs are printed by section and include paragraph numbering.


Full construction specs

All master text is available in full spec mode, which consists of full length, three-part specs for final construction documents. Like short-form specs, full specs are organized and printed by section and use numbering.

Part one may include related requirements, referenced standards, quality assurance, field conditions, etc.

Part two includes all available detail on the products, including manufacturer and brand names (where applicable). Part three includes all available detail on execution, such as examination, preparation, tolerances, cleaning, startup, etc.

from an

Working from an office master in reverse

Rather than building specifications from the ground up with the master text collapsed, you may also begin with a fully developed office master project.

Collapse your master to produce pre-edited outline specifications, expand it partially to produce short-form specs and expand fully for construction documents.

Edit at any phase to adapt your master specifications to your specific project.

Automatic updates

SpecLink’s revolutionary automatic updates make it simple to keep your specs up-to-date. Never again will you have to manually replace hundreds of individual word processing files that are slowly updated over a six- or seven-year span.

RIB’s staff of in-house design professionals monitor reference standards, manufacturer info and all cross references every single day to keep you as current as possible. Updated information merges with your existing data seamlessly.

SpecLink’s comprehensive updates will save you significant time while preserving your edits. Customized text, changes and additions to the master text will never be overwritten or deleted.

Streaming updates won’t interrupt your workflow. Set up automatic downloads or schedule updates at the frequency of your choice.