Rich Text Letter Word Processor


Oscar provides a simple letter writer to provide neat and professional communications that can be populated automatically and get saved in a reusable format to the patients chart.  A tutorial on the original rich text letter writer has been compiled by Dr Klein.  While these instructions apply in part to any of the Rich Text Letter that have come in OSCAR since OSCAR V10.6, the instructions have been brought up to date to reflect all the features in version 20 of the Rich Text Letter (RTL)

The Rich Text Letter writer is copyright by Peter Hutten-Czapski 2007-2020 © under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1

This document is copyright by Peter Hutten-Czapski 2010-2020 © under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License


Most versions of OSCAR and its variants have a version of the Rich Text Letter installed since OSCAR v 10.6.  In some installations the RTL may be incorporated as an archived eForm (aka deleted) from where they can be activated by un-archiving  (admin > eforms > List of deleted eforms > restore)

If you want the latest version of the Rich Text Letter (version 20 at this writing) you can install it in in any OSCAR 12.1 and newer.  See the instructions for this elsewhere on this website.

Launching Rich Text Letter

You can launch the RTL any way that you launch eForms

  1. By typing “Rich” in the encounter’s everything box and selecting “Rich Text Letter”
  2. Click on the ‘+’ on the eForm Encounter interface
  3. Click on the ‘eForm’ link on the Master Demographic
  4. From the schedule screen if you have the RTL configured to have a link in your preferences

The Text Area

You can start using the RTL editor that you opened up above directly by typing into the (usually blank) text area.  On a basic level that is all you need to do.


The toolbar also has many of the typical word processing functions.  The following buttons are available

  • bold toggle of the selected text (strong)
  • italic text toggle (emphasis)
  • underlined text toggle
  • strike through text toggle
  • subscript text toggle
  • superscript text toggle
  • left justify text toggle
  • center justify text
  • fully justify text
  • right justify text
  • bulleted list
  • ordered list
  • horizontal rule
  • a button that undoes the last action(s)
  • redo the last action(s)
  • undo the last action(s)
  • indent the text
  • outdent the text
  • selects all text
  • remove font formatting from all selected text
  • insert a table
  • apply text colour
  • highlight selection
  • a selector for paragraph and header styles
  • a selector for font face
  • a selector for font size
  • a template selector
  • insert an image (TIP use ${oscar_image_path} for local images)
  • insert a link
  • add the current time
  • add the current date
  • help button

Quick Text


Default blocks of text taken from the patients chart can be inserted with the Quick Text buttons.  Clicking a button will insert that particular block of text at the point selected in the writing pane.

Letterhead by example will insert a formatted letterhead, similar to that of McMaster Hospital in the sample.  The information for the text is drawn from the database for that patient, physician and clinic.
The select box allows you to type a consultants name from your consultant database.  Select a consultant and Paste Selected will insert their demographics into the RTL (requires OSCAR 19)
The Referring Block pulls from the referring physician for that patient as entered in the master demographics.
Stamp pulls the stamp.png file (if any) in your eform images.  In multi user clinics a stamps.js file will specify which stamps to use for which corresponding user.
Vitals provides a grid of common vital signs and their dates
Lab Grid does the same for common lab tests.  OSCAR must be configured to match incoming labs to specific measurements to show.
Attach File allows you to attach documents, labs, HRM documents and eforms to your RTL (requires OSCAR 19)


Templates allow form letters to be quickly loaded with the patient’s data for easy customization in conjunction with quick text and the toolbar functions.  The consult template is demonstrated in the writing pane of the above Quick Text illustration.  The back to work template is demonstrated below.

  1. First select the template
  2. The template with its placeholders gets loaded
  3. The letter writer prompts you for user defined placeholders

Not shown is that when you supply the information requested all the exhibited placeholders get converted into their respective values.

Predefined templates include

  • consult
  • off work note
  • narcotic contract
  • missed appointment
  • custom template

All templates are accessible in Admin > Upload an Image >

New templates are written in HTML with Notepad+ Bluefish or similar and saved with the .rtf extension.  You then upload to your Oscar server to the images folder.

The custom template is located in Admin > Upload an Image > custom.rtl and gives you examples.

Using Measurements in Placeholders

The normal placeholders are delimited by ##’s (eg. ##current_user_cpsid##). The list of standard placeholder names can be found on the eForm Magic page.

What about Measurements? Unfortunately, you can’t just use the standard oscarDB measurement tag (oscarDB=m$HT#value ) as a placeholder name.

In order to bring a measurement into the Rich Text Letter eform, you have to load them into temporary variables BEFORE your template is loaded.

You do this by adding a hidden field for each measurement in the RTL eForm code. This line:

<input type=”hidden” name=”EPW”   id=”EPW”  oscarDB=m$EPW#value>

is added to the ‘DoNotPrint’ section in the top of the <body> section. It creates a hidden field called EPW with the latest Epworth score.  You need to define all the measurements this way.

Once that is done, your RTL template placeholder name would be ##EPW##.

 Finishing it off


HTML view

Finishing off the letter is the bottom bar that provides some additional controls.

  • The HTML view allows you to view (and edit GULP!) the raw output of Letter
  • If you can’t get your output to look perfect this is where you can tweak

Letter HTML

  • the Use CSS check box alters how the program encodes the page.
  • The Subject is what the tool tip comment shows when the mouse is hovered over it a list of saved eForms
  • Submit saves the letter
  • Reset clears the contents of the letter
  • Print invokes the print dialog
  • Print & Save is a one button way to do both printing and saving


The signing box below the form will allow for you to sign by mouse or trackpad or other device and that will be transferred when saved into the insertion point in the Rich Text letter.  If you are not seeing the signing box, then you need to have your OSP adjust your file to turn that feature on (OSCAR 12.1 and newer)


Faxing is done from a picklist of providers.  Select the provider and click add provider and that provider will be added to the fax distribution list.  Alternately manually insert a fax number into the list.  If you do not see Faxing then you need to have your OSP adjust your file to turn that feature on (OSCAR 12.1 and newer)

When finished click “submit and fax” and the signed letter will be delivered to your addressee’s