A template based approach is an approach which rely on a template or a fixed structure to do something.

Template based information could be information derived from a template.

What could be the opposite of template-based?

  • Non template based
  • Template-independent
  • Template free
  • ...

Update: Some asked me about the context, it's in the field of computer science and web data extraction tools (web scraping , web wrappers).

A web data extractor can rely on the template of a website in a template-based approach. The opposite could be non-template based approach.

But for the second sentence above (template based information), I doubt the opposite to be "non-template based information"! maybe template independent or template free information?! or maybe just a description is required. Or maybe such combination is odd!

  • 4
    free form, ad hoc...
    – mkennedy
    Jun 18, 2015 at 19:55
  • 1
    If the approach is not based on any template, it is template independent.
    – felipe.zkn
    Jun 18, 2015 at 20:27
  • 2
    Can you give a little more background on the use of Template here? A Computer Science answer will differ from other fields. Jun 18, 2015 at 20:50
  • 3
    Free form is likely the best response. Less relevant choices would be unstructured, custom, tailored, or bespoke depending on your context. Jun 18, 2015 at 20:50
  • @MichaelDorgan I believe that it's about computer science, but I'm not sure what area it is. For the OP, this depends on your context as Flimzy writes in his answer. For example, if this is about pattern recognition, you could write template-based vs. feature-based (approaches), but if this is about web development, it could be about template-based web development vs. custom-made. Having said that, I think non-template-based is a good option if you want to take in and to make a contrast with everything that's not template-based in your context. Jun 19, 2015 at 6:46

3 Answers 3


The "opposite" of anything depends on context.

Therefore, the opposite of "template based" depends on context.

In the context of a particular content management system, the opposite of a template-based page might be a free-form page.

In the context of some particular web site, the opposite of a template-based page might be a static page.

In the context of bread baking, the opposite of template-based might be a bagel, or a round loaf.

"Opposite" generally means that which is "least like" something else. But since this is a comparative term, a context is necessary to form the comparison.

Another example:

Q. What is the opposite of black?

A. Red. Ask any accountant.

  • Thanks, I gave some information about the context in the question.
    – Ahmad
    Jun 19, 2015 at 12:27

I'd say in this question, the two sentences have different meanings of 'template-based'.

In the first sentence, the meaning is 'using a fixed method or thing(a template) of action', here we just say 'non-template-based', as you say.

However, in the second sentence, the meaning is 'using a fixed template to extract specific data'. Opposite would be 'template-independent', as in that case, we don't use a specific template that we used before, but either define our own, or don't use a template at all.

This paper may help: Template-Based Information Extraction without the Templates


A web data extractor can rely on the template of a website in a template-based approach. The opposite could be non-template based approach.

Given this is for the web from a programming sense, I would change the second to read:

If no template exists, then other heuristics must be used to gather the relevant data. (Then explain a bit about the techniques used ... e.g. keyword searches, perhaps metadata, etc.)

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