The term "hardcoded" refers to configuration that's imbedded in a program's code. To a programmer, it may have a negative connotation (if it is a bad design decision) and to a non-technical user, the term is probably too jargony.

For example, suppose Microsoft Word came with some templates hardcoded into the application. Users can use the hardcoded templates, but they can't modify them. These templates are tied to the version of Word installed too.

In end-user documentation, is there a better way to describe these templates than using the term "hardcoded templates"?

  • "default"? .... Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 11:38
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    In the example, I would think "default" would refer to the template that would be used automatically when you create a new document. What I mean is if the user could chose between multiple "hardcoded templates", so it's not really a default (although the default template would be a "hardcoded template"). Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 11:55
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    A fixed value?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:01
  • Is the thing you're describing like a document template (which IMO is nothing like configuration), or like a scalar value, or like something else? It has a bearing on the answer, and I have no idea what type of thing you're discussing.
    – Useless
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:28
  • The issue that caused me to post this question was related to documentation for laboratory software. Users have to enter to samples under specific "projects". Some of these projects are part of the application and can be used but not modified. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:36

9 Answers 9


Since the main feature seems to be that a template can't be modified or changed, here are some synonyms for unchangeable


predetermined and not able to be changed

which suggested another one


established or decided in advance

speaking of which...

preset (or pre-set according to MS Word)

set or adjust (something) in advance of its use

and last but hopefully not the least


arranged beforehand, in advance

Note: I've adjusted dictionary definitions of preset and predetermined as verbs, because the dictionary stated that in participle form these can be used as adjectives

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    "preset" is the usual one in use, such as "preset styles/templates" in Word.
    – user21820
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:02
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    Preset is close but it doesn't convey the fact that in this case the user can't modify the object. Fixed is more accurate, but might not make immediate sense to some users (e.g. "fixed template? As opposed to a broken one?") Preset/fixed is what I want to convey, but using the slash feels sloppy. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:08
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    @user21820 Yes, and it's strange how it uses the word preset(s), and yet when you try to write it in a document it corrects it to pre-set with a hyphen :-). Maybe a BrE/AmE variation... Or the matter of type of word - verb/noun/adjective...
    – Lucky
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:13
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    In consultation with others writers in the office, we landed on "preset". This seemed to be the easiest to understand on its own. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 14:22
  • @Scribblemacher - I'm glad you have a solution :-) . Best of luck with the software!
    – Lucky
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 14:38

Given that the projects you're talking about don't sound significantly like either document templates or configuration to me, I'd probably use built-in:

A sample must be associated with a project. The built-in projects X, Y and Z cannot be altered, but you may also create other projects of your own.

In this context, I don't like preset, because that suggests a collection of settings grouped for convenience (equalizer presets, encoder presets, etc.). Settings are things that control or modify the operation of some process, and it isn't clear these projects have behaviour or internal state in this sense.


Consider static, which is often contrasted with dynamic.

From Webopedia's definition:

static (adj.) Generally refers to elements of the Internet or computer programming that are fixed and not capable of action or change. The opposite of static is dynamic.

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    Static seems less clear and more jargon-y than the original "hardcoded". Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 21:01

In end-user documentation, is there a better way to describe these templates than using the term "hardcoded templates"?

Two scenari :

  • You want to sell your product; Then you should call them presets as in @Lucky answer.

  • You want to explain problems/poor or special design; Then you can call them not configurable.

  • "not configurable" is a great solution for explaining poor design. When writing user documentation for software designed without UX in mind can be quite a challenge Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 15:19

If you want to emphasize the fact that they "users can't modify them", then you could say that those templates are unmodifiable.

On the other hand, if you want to emphasize the fact that they come pre-packaged with Microsoft Word, then call them built-in templates.


I've heard the term "baked-in" used in software development. It carries the same meaning as hard-coded but implies it was done with good reason and not due to some error or omission. Some examples here. Look under the heading 'Phrasal Verbs'.

  • 1
    Welcome to Stack Exchange! Can you provide an example or reference to support your answer, especially since this is industry-specific jargon?
    – miltonaut
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 20:17
  • I think "baked-in" might not translate or be too idiomatic for non-native speakers, since it's somewhat a cooking metaphor. Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 12:58

I would call those templates "read only", meaning that you cannot write/modify them. That is a phrase that non-technical people can understand.


I would express it with :" ...choose from default settings/values ...", but generally it depends on your sentence, because right know we are shooting in the dark.


[The designs of] these templates are set in (name of?) the program, and can't be modified.

This or similar seems to me clear and layperson-friendly.

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