HotDocs Author Release Notes

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About Release Notes

Because we update the various parts of HotDocs Advance independently, we provide the following:

About HotDocs Author Release Notes

HotDocs Author is the desktop-based portion of HotDocs Advance you use to author HotDocs templates in preparation for uploading those templates to HotDocs Advance. As you install HotDocs Author separately from HotDocs Advance and may need to update Author independently, we provide you with separate release notes materials.

New Features and Enhancements

The following HotDocs Author incremental releases contain new features and enhancements:

1.192.0 (Cloud-only, 26 September 2023)

Feature Enhancements

  • Improvements to authentication with Advance, reducing authentication requests when uploading templates.
  • API documentation for HotDocs Classic templates is now available on the Core Assembly Service landing page.

1.191.0 (Cloud-only, 28 June 2023)

New Features

1.190.1 (Cloud-only, 19 April 2023)

New Features

1.190.0(25 February 2023)

  • This release contains various background improvements to HotDocs Author.

1.189.1(12 November 2022)

  • This release contains various background improvements to HotDocs Author.

1.189.0(17 August 2022)

1.188.0(13 May 2022)

  • This release contains various background improvements to HotDocs Author.

1.187.2 (Cloud and restricted on-premise, 21 April 2022)

  • Author now uses WebView2 runtime to display interviews. 

1.187.1 (Cloud-only, 17 February 2022)

  • This release contains various background improvements to HotDocs Author.

1.187 (11 November 2021)

  • This release contains various background improvements to HotDocs Author.

1.186 (15 July 2021)

1.185 (27 March 2021)

1.184 (19 January 2021)

New Features

  • You can now use answer packages downloaded from Advance with Author to work with image files.

1.183 (7 October 2020)

New Features

  • A new type of variable, the Image variable, is available. You can now add placeholder fields to templates for users to upload their own images during the interview.
  • Multi-line answer text boxes now have a maximum height of 50 lines.
  • A new dialog element, the interview event dialog element, is available for integrators to create a custom event in interviews.

Upgrade Note

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.8 is now required.

1.182 (30 July 2020)

New Features

  • Spelling errors in text entered during a HotDocs interview are now marked in Word when the template is assembled.
  • Author now supports SQL Express 2019 LocalDB.
  • When using interviews with dialogs, actions are now available from the interview outline. Clicking the ellipsis on an item brings up a menu of available actions.

Bug Fixes

  • The "ask automatically" property now saves correctly when using Table variables.
  • The "Hide spreadsheet buttons" option now hides the control buttons in spreadsheet dialogs.

1.178 (11 January 2020)

Feature Enhancements

  • Author no longer creates a default workspace on upgrade

1.177 (17 December 2019)

New Features

  • Template authors can now define an Assembled Document Title and filename in template properties
  • Author creates a default workspace on installation

Bug Fixes

  • Ampersand characters used in a component's prompt are now displayed in interviews
  • Text inserted through LIST formatting now inherits the formatting of the preceding text
  • A Single Select variable in a nested repeat with an option source of repeat dialog no longer causes document assembly to fail
  • Very large numbers now render correctly when formatted verbally in Spanish

1.176 (11 September 2019)

New Features

Bug Fixes

1.175 (28 May 2019)

Bug Fixes

  • If you update a component's Width on Spreadsheet dialogs display setting to Automatic width, the change is now saved to the component file
  • When you assemble a document, Author no longer inserts unnecessary paragraph marker characters for text fields set to both multi-line and multi-paragraph
  • Prompt text is no longer truncated on single-line fields set to full width
  • You now receive an error message when attempting to nest repeated dialogs that do not have a parent-child relationship

1.173 (30 August 2018)


  • If you are using the latest version of Advance to deploy your templates, you need to download a new configuration file before you can upload your templates from Author to Advance

New Features

  • In Workspace Explorer, if you set the template types filter to Include Auxiliary-only Templates before closing Author, when you open the Workspace Explorer again, HotDocs "remembers" this setting and your auxiliary-only templates remain visible in the templates column

Bug Fixes

  • In Component Studio, when pasting text into a component's Title property, if the text begins with a left chevron, but does not contain a right chevron, HotDocs disallows the paste; to complete the paste as expected, the text must include a right chevron  (#HA-6329)

1.170  (19 July 2018)

New Features

  • Added capability to rename local variables and parameters within a computation; HotDocs ensures the new name is valid and updates all references within the script (but not yet to references embedded in fields within Text literals) to the variable or parameter you are renaming
  • HotDocs now automatically updates all references in currently open templates to a component you rename in Component Studio you launched from the HotDocs Author Word Add-in process
  • Added a link to the Workspace window to enable you to suggest and vote for new features for HotDocs Author

1.169  (5 July 2018)

New Features

  • Added a new tutorial for introducing selection variables to new users
  • Added the ability to create optional keys in option sources to deal with information such as middle names that aid in uniqueness, but that is not required
  • Changed the Used In tab on components to Info that now displays the type of the compound, as well as what other components or templates use that component
  • Changed the UNION function to work with lists of any type, as opposed to working with Multiple Choice variables
  • Added warning to alert users that import templates from earlier versions of HotDocs that Multiple Choice variables are now deprecated
  • In the Field Editor, you can now base conditional regions on Single Select and Multi Select selection variables
  • The Interview recognizes input date and number formats for all supported languages
  • Increased consistency for display of comparisons in the Field Editor

1.168  (22 June 2018)

New Features

  • You can now create selection variables (single select and multi select) which are components that improve on and replace multiple choice variables. You can create selection variables using the HotDocs Field or Component Studio and (among others) you can use them to do the following:
    • Present a list of options that you define in an interview—in a format like you would see in a standard multiple choice test
    • Use the Option source property to point to the source of the data you wish to present in the interview and have in your assembled document
    • Use sets of tabular data, such as Fixed tables and Built-in tables, as the Option source for your selection variable
  • Test interviews now show interview loading progress more quickly
  • You can now use the LIST CONTAINS EXPRESSION operator using HotDocs scripting to determine whether include or exclude certain blocks of text from an assembled document

1.067  (7 June 2018)

New Features

  • Updated styling to HotDocs interviews so the look and feel is more consistent between the HotDocs Author Test interview and the HotDocs Hub interview
  • Updated field properties so that what they show is more consistent with how the assembly process works – specifically, when you override a default property at the field level, the other default property settings at that field now become set overtly
  • You can now declare a repeat context for a parent dialog; this enables HotDocs to better track any errors for auxiliary templates
  • List format property updated to more correctly show how HotDocs formats lists when you use the formats provided by default

1.066  (24 May 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • When uploading one or more templates to HotDocs Hub, you can now add a comment to the upload package to help identify and describe the template when uploaded to Hub
  • In Template Properties, the Interview Language drop-down list now shows only the languages that HotDocs supports in interviews (i.e. user interface elements such as strings, text boxes, prompts, etc.)
  • When editing a component in a pop-up component editor opened from the Field Editor, the OK button is now the Close button (to better reflect that edits you make do not require confirmation)
  • Built in functions and built in local variables are now system functions and system local variables to enable the use of built in for a new feature currently in development

Bug Fixes

  • Formerly, in certain environments, a bug in Microsoft Word prevented the HotDocs Author Add-in for Word from loading when opening a template from within an Author Workspace; a HotDocs workaround fix now enables  the add-in to load, as expected (#HA-5608)

1.065  (10 May 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • You can now configure your workspaces to upload your templates to instances of HotDocs Hub that implement the new (HotDocs Advance) API, as well as instances that still implement the old uploading API. Regardless of which type of Hub you connect to

Bug Fixes

  • In the interview for a template where a REPEAT instruction's END REPEAT field is on an otherwise empty line with the paragraph mark immediately following the END REPEAT, when you click Document Preview, HotDocs now displays a preview of the document, as expected (#HA-5557)

1.064  (26 April 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • Added an Extend Selection button in Workspaces to enable you to quickly select all templates that use the selected auxiliary template so you can upload all these templates to HotDocs Hub at one time
  • Find functionality now works with all relevant component properties
  • Increased the initial size of the modal component editor

Bug Fixes

  • Previously, when you clicked the Test button on the Author tab, and then (before you answered any questions in the interview) you clicked Document Preview, some few templates displayed error messages or a spinning disc that never resolved; HotDocs now correctly displays a preview of your document, as expected (#HA-4959)

1.063  (12 April 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • No publicly exposed features added

1.062  (29 March 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • In Component Studio, in the Additional information expander, the summarized content (if any) displayed to the right of the expander label is now grayed out to visually separate it from the label itself
  • In Component Studio, in the right click menu on component lists, the duplicate command is now hidden for components that cannot be duplicated
  • Various string changes:
    • The Test Interview Window is now labeled the HotDocs Test Browser
    • The names of the variable properties Fill width, Fill alignment, and Fill character are now updated to Padded width, Answer alignment, and Pad character
    • The text variable property Height is now named Answer text box height
    • In Component Studio, various italicized help text now better reflects recent changes in terminology

1.061  (15 March 2018)

Bug Fixes

  • In an interview where a Multiple Choice Variable has prompts set for the options, the Prompt text now displays in the interview, as expected (#HA-5119)

1.060  (28 Feb 2018)

New Features

Bug Fixes

  • In an interview, when clicking the additional information button for a true/false variable, HotDocs now also moves the cursor to the answer text box, as expected (IC-486)
  • In HotDocs Author, clicking Test now causes HotDocs to properly display the HotDocs Test Browser, even with "localhost" added to the Compatibility View Settings in Internet Explorer (HA-5001)
  • For an interview where the computer's System locale is set to a locale that uses a period as the thousands separator, HotDocs now correctly displays number values on the Document Preview tab, as expected (#AC-742)
  • In an interview for a parent template whose child template has a Word page number field in either the header or footer, HotDocs now displays the Document Preview page and assembles the document, as expected (#HA-5006)
  • Previously, when using the Advanced Field Editor, or Other Expression Field Editor, in certain cases, some field text was lost or corrupted; these editors now preserve the text correctly, as expected (#HA-4812)

1.059  (14 Feb 2018) Limited release

New Features

  • Improved workflow of popup component editors from modal dialogs in component studio

1.058  (31 Jan 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • Modified AssemblyService build event to copy only the JS runtime files needed for specified configuration

Bug fixes

  • Red text no longer covers left side of New Workspace / New Template windows

1.057  (17 Jan 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • More work on language modules to support the new Interview Language property in the Template Properties
  • Code signing certificates renewed for macros, etc.

1.056  (03 Jan 2018) Not released publicly

New Features

  • Modernized template locale naming
  • Grouped true/false variables on a dialog now show None of the Above in the answer file when a user selects this value

1.055  (20 Dec 2017) Not released publicly

New Features

  • Moved locale-specific settings into language modules
  • Created locale and language-related template properties

1.054  (6 Dec 2017)

New Features

  • Workspace Explorer now displays templates with corrupted files, along with an error message
  • Template file names are no longer limited to 65 characters; rather the file name (which includes the file path and name of the workspace) is limited to the 259 character limit imposed by the Windows operating system
  • Grey text in outline within interview is now more grey
  • Test browser window now closes in response to ALT + F4
  • Link Content to Dialog modal dialog window now shows a window title

1.053  (11/22/2017)

New Features

  • You can now use the Advanced HotDocs Field Editor to create and edit HotDocs Fields and their properties when editing a template by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+,
  • Added new keyboard shortcuts in the dialog editor for creating and adding components to the dialog
  • The HotDocs Field Editor now appropriately disables editing component properties until a component has been selected
  • Workspaces can now be moved or copied to a different location on your hard drive and be used in HotDocs Author
  • In Component Studio, when writing a script (in a computation or dialog) and you use CTRL + SPACEBAR to complete the script more quickly, you can now auto-complete components with spaces in the name

Bug Fixes

  • In an interview, when interacting with a dialog that has an ERRORTEXT built-in local variable, HotDocs now prevents the user from navigating to later parts of the interview in all circumstances, as expected (IC-418)

1.052  (11/8/2017)

New Features

  • Added a message telling people how to re-enable the HotDocs Word Add-in in the case it becomes disabled
  • HotDocs 11 Interview templates now import as Answer Intakes, even if the component file was previously imported in another context
  • HotDocs now more elegantly handles component names containing characters that are illegal in HotDocs Author when Importing templates from earlier versions of HotDocs
  • True/False variables on spreadsheet dialogs now default to UNANSWERED
  • Added F8 shortcut for Auto-format on the Script tab
  • Auto-format now correctly alphabetizes contents of drop-down lists
  • Auto-format now better handles variable names containing spaces
  • Field Appearance dialog now includes a Refresh check box that refreshes all fields in your template
  • Component name character limit now 100 characters

1.051  (10/26/2017)

New Features

  • In the HotDocs Field Editor, you can now update any invalid HotDocs Field modifications using the Update button
  • Import feature enhancements:
    • HotDocs now comments out (retains in the template with their functionality removed) ASK ALL, ASK DEFAULT, ASK NONE, and ASK UNANSWERED instructions instead of reporting an error
    • Removes all unsupported command-line options in ASSEMBLE instructions

1.050  (10/11/2017)

New Features

  • In MS Word, you can now create and edit HotDocs fields longer than 255 characters
  • New and improved Word to PDF converter
  • New and improved Word to HTML converter
  • Improved Parse error message for IF var=UNANSWERED

1.049  (9/28/2017)

Alert – Potential "Active Content" Security Warning When Opening DOCX Templates

If your computer has both HotDocs Developer 11 and HotDocs Author installed, you may see an "active content" security warning when you open a DOCX template from Workspace Explorer. To prevent this message, in Microsoft Word, click File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Macro Settings  > Disable all macros except digitally signed macros.

  • In Component Studio, when editing a variable, the Field Editor tab now indicates when there are no valid actions in Action list

1.048  (9/13/2017)

New Features

  • Logging in Author now uses Serilog

1.047  (8/31/2017)

Alert – During installation, you will be prompted to upgrade SQL Server Express (required)

New Features

  • In Component Studio, the functions in the Models tab are now reorganized to better indicate their contents

1.046  (8/16/2017)

New Features

  • A "silent" (Sys Admin-centric) install of HotDocs Author and HotDocs Core is now available
  • A new schema for the answer file XML now makes answers "type safe"
  • You can now add HotDocs fields to Additional Information  properties in variables and dialogs
  • You can now add HotDocs fields to Multiple Choice prompts and Alternative Text Lists

1.045  (8/2/2017)

New Features

  • New schema for answer files begun (for upcoming release)
    • Making answers more type safe
  • Improved background checks for component and local name validity
  • Improved "go to error" trouble-shooting help
    • Now works for fields in Titles and Prompts
  • Added support for creating fields in Multiple Choice option prompts and Alternate Text list components

1.044  (7/20/2017)

New Features

  • The Component Studio now provides the ability to:
    • Edit properties for multiple components at once through a property grid that is available when you select multiple components in the main component list
    • Rename multiple components at once using the new Find and Replace With feature in the Rename Component's dialog box
    • Duplicate one or more components using the Duplicate Components dialog box available in the component toolbar when you open a component for editing
  • The import feature now recognizes a curly brace { beginning a dialog element name and then renames that component to begin with an epsilon ε (or the next available Greek letter that makes that name unique in the component file) and update any dialog content lists and dialog scripts referring to this dialog element

Release Candidate 1 (0.9.42) (6/21/2017)

New Features

  • The HotDocs Test interview for spreadsheet dialogs now includes the ability to add another row by pressing ENTER or  CTRL+INS keyboard shortcuts
  • The HotDocs Author Installer now provides alternate text for UK and international providers
  • In Workspace Explorer, the HotDocs Tutorial pane now includes a title bar with an X (Close) button (you can reopen the pane from the Help menu)
  • The Author Source Control Plug-in (works with SVN out of the box) has been enhanced:
    • Now added by default to the installer – this feature will become optional on the next release  (if you don't want to install the plug-in by default in this release, see below for instructions on how to turn this default feature)
    • Source Control status now appears in Workspace Explorer so you can check-in and out from the right-side of Workspace Explorer
    • A "wait" mouse cursor now appears at the Workspace Explorer window during long-running source control operations
    • Author workspace files are now added to source control so that Upload Destinations you set for your workspace are accessible to others using your source controlled files
  • Workspace Services now disabling caching for anything that uses this service; this ensures that when you install an update to the HotDocs Author software, you do not need to clear your cache

Removing the Source Control Install Feature

If you don't want to install the HotDocs Author Source Control Plug-in, you can remove it.

To remove the source control plug-in from the install

  1. After you download the install, extract the files to the location where you want them.
  2. Select and delete the Plug-ins folder.
  3. Run the install as per usual.

0.941 (6/8/2017)

Alert – Update Workspaces from Previous Preview Releases

To ensure the compatibility of workspaces created with any preview release version of Author with the upcoming release of Author version 1.0, you must open any workspaces you have created with this version (0.9.41) of Author. The act of opening the workspace causes the necessary update to the workspace folder to occur.

New Features

  • Component Studio now exhibits better performance:
    • When you select an item in the main components list using the mouse, the preview window now appears or updates immediately, without delay
    • When using the keyboard arrows to navigate up and down the list of items in the component list on the left of Component Studio, the preview window now only updates once you stop navigating up or down the list
    • You can now only drag and drop a component onto a dialog from the Components tab on the right of the Component Studio
  •  HotDocs Composer now features:
    • A redesigned ribbon organized in groups to help you more easily locate buttons and commands
    • A redesigned interface (including a "HotDocs blue" header to better enable differentiation from Component Studio and Workspace Explorer
    • An improved interface for editing an answer intake which now features two windows
      • A Component Studio window enabling you to edit the interview computation in harmony with all other computations
      • A Composer window that enables you to reassign the component file and interview computation the answer intake points to, arrange the two windows of the editor, etc.
  • Default formats that are no longer relevant no longer appear
  • When attempting to import templates from Developer 11 with unsupported security settings, the import report now warns you of this problem

0.940 (5/25/2017)

Alert – Updated Registry Entry

To be consistent with newer terminology, the registry entry: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\HotDocs\Author\Window\Show Development Services Notifications] has been changed to: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\HotDocs\Author\Window\Show Workspace Services Notifications]. The current install does not set this registry key (its default value is “True”), therefore, by default, Workspace Services shows notifications. If, in the past, you set this option to not show notifications (in the HotDocs Options dialog box), you need to do this again once you install the latest preview version.

New Features

  • A new tutorial has been added to the 11 previously available; the new one is labeled Lesson 11 while the one previously labeled 11 is now labeled Lesson 12
  • When you create your Tutorials workspace in the Workspace Explorer, HotDocs now adds a folder called Tutorial Documents within the Tutorials workspace; this folder contains the initial Sales Agreement.docx file you use in the tutorials to create your first template
  • During Import of templates from versions of HotDocs prior to version 11, plain text templates now appear below component files in the filtered list of files to import
  • The Author installer now refuses to run if you choose to install a version that is not compatible with your computer operating system's "bit-ness" (32 bit versus 64 bit)
  • The Expression popup editor now includes the ability to create a component, harmonizing with the same capability available in other popup editors in Author
  • In the Dialog Editor, you can now drag and drop multiple components at once from the right component tab onto the Contents tab of the editor
  • A new Interview Behavior property (available in the Template Properties dialog box) now enables template users to navigate beyond any required variables in the interview (without allowing users to finish an interview until they answer the required variable)
  • The Field Editor now exhibits improved performance in responding to changes to components
  • The Dialog Editor property relating to linked dialogs now corresponds better to the wording in the Field Editor

0.939 (5/16/2017)

New Features

  • A new series of tutorials enable you to become familiar with Author. The tutorials contain the following features:
    • View the tutorials from the tutorial pane that displays as you work in both Workspace Explorer and Word. The tutorial panel appears when you create and open a workspace called Tutorials. You can also open and close the tutorials from the Author Help tab and the Author Word add-in. (HA-1558)
    • The tutorial templates are installed with Author and do not require internet access to use (HA-1556)
    • You can start a tutorial again with a freshly created template from the tutorial pane's table of contents (HA-1557)
    • After finishing a tutorial, you can mark a tutorial as complete to update the status of the tutorial in the tutorial pane's table of contents (HA-1561)
  • HotDocs Options are reorganized, relabeled, and now contain three new interview-related settings:
    • Show asterisks for required variables (displays an asterisk and red text for any variable you make required using the REQUIRE instruction) (HA-2387)
    • Show unanswered warning when finishing (enables you to toggle whether or not a warning displays if there are unanswered interview questions) (HA-2387)
    • Show answer summary (enables you to determine whether or not the answer summary tab displays during an interview) (HA-2387)
  • You can now create a new dialog component from within the Field Editor (HA-2267)
  • Spreadsheet dialogs in interviews now have improved styling and show a separate additional information button for each column (IC-209)

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a problem where, under certain conditions, users may not be able to save their template or run test interviews due to a “Value cannot be null” error (HA-2421)

0.938 (4/27/2017)

New Features

  • The new Script Editor section in the HotDocs Options dialog box provides you the ability to customize the size and font of the text in the script editor (HA-123)
  • You can now reorder parameters on a computation by right-clicking an existing parameter and using the Move Left or Move Right arrows (HA-821)
  • Test interviews are now DPI-aware and display text at a comfortable size on high DPI displays (HA-1846)
  • The new My Formats section of the HotDocs Options dialog box enables you to edit and reorder the HotDocs Author provided formats and input masks, as well adding new ones (HA-1942)
  • When choosing a date format for a field, the drop-down list displays the current date in that format to help you choose the format you like best (HA-1947)
  • When you define a Prompt for a variable, the Title property now displays a truncated version of the Prompt’s value (HA-2154)
  • Application names and main windows titles are now more consistent (HA-2347)
  • Interview improvements:
    • When the help button is clicked, an updated and improved help page appears (it also dynamically hides applicable sections of content if you choose to hide certain interview UI element) (IC-223)
    • Dialog menu formerly had a little icon, now has larger icon and Actions label (IC-220)
    • Simplified Interview Navigation Bar (fewer buttons, Next Unanswered and Previous buttons removed (IC-224)
    • New default widths for Date and Multiple Choice variables and Outline and Additional information panes to increase content visibility (IC-221, IC137)
    • The Erase Answer button appears only when pertinent (IC-139)
    • The dialog status icon now appears in the title only when the outline is hidden (IC-222)
    • The Test interview toolbar buttons display improved images and also creates a stronger distinction between the test interview toolbar and the interview itself (IC-219)

Known Issues

  • Under certain conditions, users may not be able to save their template or run test interviews due to a “Value cannot be null” error: current workaround, close and reopen the template (HA-2421)

0.937 (4/12/2017)

New Features

  • The language used to refer to libraries has been updated to bring it in line with other HotDocs products; the template library is now a workspace and the template library window is now the Workspace Explorer. (HA-2115)
  • When creating or opening a new workspace or template, Author now displays improved wait cursors, busy indicators, and message boxes to indicate what is loading. (HA-1950)
  • Author, Composer, and the HotDocs Author for Word Add-in now check for a valid license at startup. (HA-226)
  • When applying a format to a field, the format box now includes example text to make format selection easier and the chosen format is shown in the field following the variable name. (HA-1940)
  • The amount of number and date formats included with Author is increased and date formats now use date notation to reduce potential ambiguity. (HA-2195)

0.836 (3/31/2017)

New Features

  • The size and position of a popup component editor is now retained when the editor is closed and reopened (#HA-2069)
  • Composer improvements:
    • Editing a template in Composer is now closer to the experience when editing a template in Microsoft Word (#HA-2053, #HA-577)
    • The keyboard shortcut F6/Shift+F6 now moves focus between panes (#HA-507)
    • Plain text templates now display if the template is in a read-only state. (#HA-310)
  • Interview improvements:
    • Mouse-over and focus effects now occur as you interact with the interview (#IC-149)
    • A Navigation Bar with improved look and usability is now located at the bottom of the interview (#IC-152)
    • Alerts, prompts, and confirms have been upgraded to be HTML-based (#IC-24)
    • Additional Information buttons now display at the end of a prompt for components and, when clicked, the contents open in the Additional Information pane instead of a dialog box (#IC-161, #IC-196)
    • Additional Information pane contents for multiple choice variables now includes a grid of all multiple choice options (#IC-162)
    • Additional Information pane contents now have headings above the text (#IC-195)
    • You can use the keyboard shortcut Alt+O to toggle the outline and Alt+I to toggle the additional information pane (#IC-165)

0.835 (3/15/2017)

New Features

  • A new template property that enables a template author to designate a template's output is always converted to a PDF format (#HA-1861)
  • A new field editor for conditional punctuation markers (#HA-101)
  • The ability to import multiple templates (with their auxiliary templates and any static files, such as images) at a time (#HA-171, HA-172, HA-460)
  • The ability to Find, Find Next, and Replace items in a HotDocs script using buttons on the script tab toolbar, as well as keyboard shortcuts (#HA-1464)
  • The ability to indent and unindent lines of HotDocs script using buttons on the script tab toolbar(#HA-1465)
  • Layout & keyboard access of Script Editor toolbar improved (#1466)
  • Improvements to text, number, and date value editors (part of comparison editors) (#HA1518)
  • Improved handling of non-uniform tables (tables that include merged table cells) (#HA-1702)
  • Increased intuitiveness of creating auxiliary templates (#HA-1952)
  • When creating a REPEAT within a table, improved icons for repeat-type option list (#HA1960)
  • REPEAT instruction now supports selecting a table and additional text beyond the table (#HA-2009)
  • When importing a template containing a computation which does not set a result type--HotDocs now sets the computation result type to None so that it works in Author (#HA-2045)

0.834 (3/1/2017)

New Features

  • The ability to use the Field Editor to insert and update marker fields representing punctuated lists (HA-100)
  • The ability to use the Field Editor to insert and edit formatting marker fields for (for example) conditionally formatting  text in a template (HA-110)
  • Improved import - unescaping "escaped" chevrons when importing a HotDocs 11 template into HotDocs Author (this is because in Author, fields in DOCX templates are actually Microsoft content controls) (HA-170)
  • Improvements to making inline (popup) expression editors consistently styled in their various locations (HA-1505)
  • Improved Import report
    • Now appears in Author window instead of being directed to your default browser (HA-1570)
    • Added minimal CSS styling for increased readability (HA-1571)
    • Add a warning to the import log for any template with its answer source property set (HA-1583)
  • Improved interface in the Less (collapsed) view of the HotDocs Field Editor – appropriate subheadings (Content Placeholders and Regions and Rules) are visible in Less mode as well as in the More mode (HA-1863)

0.833 (2/16/2017)

New Features

  • The ability to add an upload destination using a .hdrepoconfig file downloaded from HotDocs Hub using the Import function of the Upload Destinations dialog box now includes cross-compatibility with HotDocs 11 (HA-1381)
  • In Component Studio, the ability to select multiple templates at once using the Select Multiple feature in the main components list now lists selected components in a tab, has some performance improvements, and other refinements (HA-7, HA-1705, HA-194)
  • In the Field Editor, when you choose to base an IF instruction on a computation, computations with the result type of None are hidden automatically to prevent errors. (HA-680)

0.832 (2/2/2017)

New Features

  • In the Template Library Window's left pane, you can now use CTRL and SHIFT to select multiple templates (HA-881)
  • As a template author, you can now place image placeholders in your template using the HotDocs Field Editor (when importing HotDocs 11 templates, IMAGE INSERT instructions are imported as image placeholders) (HA-71)
  • Template libraries stored on a network location can now have more than one author working on them at once (HA-1142)
  • In the Template Library Window, you can now add an upload destination using a .hdrepoconfig file downloaded from HotDocs Hub using the Import function of the Upload Destinations dialog box (HA-1302)

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a problem where Field Editor and Component Studio performance can be poor when working on templates with very large component files

0.831 (1/19/2017)

New Features

  • As a template author, you can use the new Express Navigation template property to control whether or not clicking Next during an interview will skip any child dialogs and proceed to the next dialog (AC-162)
  • You can now control, using the new Express Navigation template property, whether or not clicking Next during an interview will skip any child dialogs and proceed to the next dialog (AC-162)
  • If you have set any advanced properties for a HotDocs field, the advanced properties expander in the HotDocs Field Editor will now display them by default (HA-1231)
  • The appearance of the fields you add in your template now includes formats by default (HA-1232)
  • The Template Library Window now filters out auxiliary templates from the default list of templates, based on the new “Auxiliary template only” template property (HA-1244)
  • The Auxiliary templates and Errors lists in the Template Library Window now display their contents more similarly to how they do in the HotDocs Field Editor (HA-1245)
  • In the Template Library Window's Library menu, template library related items now include "template" as part of their label (HA-1246)

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a problem where Component Studio performance degrades over time

Known Issues

  • Field Editor and Component Studio performance can be poor when working on templates with very large component files

0.830 (12/28/2016)

New Features

  • Preliminary back-end work has been completed to enable logging in to Azure and running the assembly service for HotDocs Hub and authenticating against a beta instance of Hub; interviews work as expected (AC-163)
  • Tooltips are now available for the buttons in the Template Library Window and Component Studio (HA-313)
  • You can now import templates that you or someone else created in HotDocs Author; you can browse anywhere to import the file you need (HA-461)
  • In the Field Editor, whenever the Add Field button is enabled, you can now press the ENTER key to add the field (HA-648)
  • The appearance of the fields you add in your template are now standardized, and symbols now appear in the field whenever you change the default Advanced Property settings (HA-954)
  • You now add auxiliary or sub templates to your current template using a placeholder field instead of an INSERT instruction (HA-956)
  • In the Template Library Window, the panes that were labeled "Referenced by" and "Dependencies" are now labeled "Used in" and Auxiliary Templates

Known Issues

  • Component Studio performance degrades over time; you must restart Author to reset Component Studio

0.829 (12/7/2016)

  • In the Template Library Window, you can now link a template library to one or more HotDocs Hub upload destinations, choose a current upload destination, and upload a template to HotDocs Hub (HA-875, HA-874, HA-280) [Note: At this time, HotDocs Hub does not yet allow these templates to be consumed by users.]
  • In the Field Editor, you can now navigate through the Action list, placeholder types, and condition types using keyboard shortcuts (HA-646, HA-945, HA-221)
  • In Component Studio, you can now insert placeholder fields using the Field Editor tab in the tools pane of a component editor. The Field Editor tab is visible any time your cursor is in a text area that can contain HotDocs scripting. (HA-46)
  • In Component Studio, the components in the components filter have more helpful tool tips and the new component drop downs are streamlined (they do not contain supplemental components unless you select them from the filter) (HA-574, HA-575)
  • When you have a document open in Word, you can now use the Create Template button in the Word Ribbon to turn that document into a template (HA-317)

0.828 (11/16/2016)

Please be aware that there is a new Getting Started feature available for you to test. See the Getting Started.docx located in the Current Preview file.

  • In Word and Composer, you can now use the keyboard shortcut ctrl + / to quickly navigate to (and ctrl + shift +  /  to quickly navigate from) the Field Editor (HA-647)
  • In the Field Editor, you can now use your keyboard to navigate through the options and easily see which option you're currently focused on (HA-646)
  • In Word, when you delete all of the text in a HotDocs Field, HotDocs now deletes the empty field (HA-481)
  • The Error Panels in the Library and Component Studio are now split into two lists: Errors and Dependencies. You can now clearly see when the selected template or component has an error and when it is a dependency that contains an error. (HA-283)
  • In Component Studio, you can now use Fast Field Insertion to add HotDocs Fields to component properties with interview display text (HA-136)
  • In Component Studio, when you edit a component property with interview display text, the Field Editor tab now appears in the Tools area (HA-46)
  • In Component Studio, following the redesign the component editors have now been tidied up to remove empty tabs and minor display errors (HA-687)
  • The styling in the Test Interview window has now been updated (IC-100)
  • In the Test Interview window, integrators can now more easily style interview buttons (IC-5)
  • In the Test Interview window, integrators can now more easily style hover images (IC-8)
  • During an Interview, although you can see a placeholder for the first iteration of a repeat dialog in the interview outline, HotDocs does not create that iteration until the template user interacts with it (IC-55)
  • In the Script tab, you now see an error message if you create a script that doesn't return a result but the result type is not set to None (AC-136)

0.827 (10/26/2016)

  • In Component Studio, the component editors are all now reorganized to use tabs rather than expanders for most of the component options. For more information on the changes see the relevant component editor reference topics.
  • In Component Studio, when you copy a component from one component file to another, HotDocs now also copies across any components which the copied component depends on (HA-653)
  • In Component Studio, when a you link a variable to a dialog, that dialog now shows up in the Referenced By tab with the dialog name in bold and a link symbol on the dialog icon (HA-40)
  • In Component Studio, when you write a script (in a computation or dialog), if you hold ctrl + space on your keyboard you see a list of the possible instructions and expressions you can add to your script at that point. You can use the arrow keys and return key to select an option from that list. (HA-83)
  • In Component Studio, when you create a new parameter or local variable, you now see the correct validation message if you try to give it an invalid name (HA-858)
  • In Component Studio, you can now view individual components in the test interview window (HA-122)
  • When you open a read-only component file, you now see a pop-up message that makes you aware it is read-only before you can view the component file (HA-23)
  • If you have a component open in component studio and make an edit to it from elsewhere, HotDocs immediately refreshes the component to reflect the new change (HA-82)
  • When you close a library window, any Component Studio windows you opened from that library now also close. If you have any unsaved changes, HotDocs prompts you to save or cancel closing the library. (HA-230)
  • If you're integrating with the Author API, you now only need to provide a package ID to create an assembly or interview session. HotDocs fills in the template title from the metadata. (AC-3)

0.826 (10/05/2016)

  • You can now re-open HotDocs Author quickly after you close it without freezing (HA-480)
  • The first time you open HotDocs Author, before you create your first library, you can now see instructional text in the right library pane (HA-471)
  • When you open HotDocs Author, you now see a splash screen while the application loads (HA-476)
  • When you open a HotDocs template in Word, you now see a splash screen while the Author Add-in for Word loads (HA-185)
  • In Component Studio, you can now use the Find feature to search components (HA-45)
  • In Component Studio, you can copy and paste a component into a different component file using the ctrl + c and ctrl + v keyboard shortcuts (HA-47)
  • In the HotDocs Scripting Language, the ASK instruction now does not add a component to the interview if HotDocs has already asked it in the interview (IC-25)
  • Child dialogs are now more strongly linked to their parent dialogs. Now if you ask a child dialog, or the variable on a child dialog, HotDocs displays the parent dialog in the interview. (IC-63)
  • When you complete an interview, or series of interviews, you now see the End of Session screen which provides you with download links for any assembled documents (IC-51)
  • During an interview, you can now right-click on an answer field to view the component name and the Edit Component option, which opens the selected component in Component Studio (HA-190)
  • In the Field Editor, you can now use the Change the Formatting Language action to add a LANGUAGE field to the template that tells HotDocs which language default formats it should use to process numbers and dates (HA-179)
  • In the Field Editor, in the Create a Conditional Region interface, the Condition Type list is now ordered to show the available conditions more clearly (HA-434)
  • In the Field Editor, when you click More.. in the actions list, you can now see a more clearly ordered list of available actions (HA-593)
  • HotDocs Author no longer attempts to install if the machine does not have Internet Explorer 9 (or higher) installed (HA-347)

0.825 (09/14/2016)

  • HotDocs can now open the following file extensions from Windows Explorer: .hdlx (library file), .hdint (answer intake), and .ttx (plain text template) (HA-315)
  • When you are importing a HotDocs Developer template into Author, you now see a list of unsupported instructions and dependent templates in the conversion log (HA-361)
  • To improve interview performance, the following instructions are no longer supported in HotDocs Author: ASK NONE, ASK DEFAULT, and ASK ALL (AC-102)
  • The following unsupported instructions now cause an error if you use them in HotDocs Author: DLLCALL, INIKEY, EXECUTE, and MY (AC-101)
  • If you use the unsupported END instruction on its own (e.g. not as END IF or END REPEAT etc) HotDocs Author displays an error message (AC-104)
  • In the template library window, in the Errors expander, you can now see a list of all errors currently in the selected template (HA-52)
  • In the error panels, you can now see and go to errors in dialog elements (HA-350)
  • In the error panels, you can now see and go to errors in the template properties dialog (HA-349)
  • In the Field Editor, you can now use the Add a dialog to the interview feature to add ASK instructions to a text template (HA-178)
  • In the Field Editor, you can now use the Assemble another template feature to add ASSEMBLE instructions to a text template (HA-99)
  • During test assembly, if a template contains multiple interviews, when one interview is complete HotDocs asks if you want to continue to the next interview (IC-52)
  • During test assembly, when you finish an interview you now have the option to return to the interview and continue adding/editing answers (IC-50)
  • In the Field Editor, the pop-up component editor dialogs now have a title and icon that corresponds to the component type (HA-304)
  • In text templates, KEEP HEADER/FOOTER options for inserted templates are now supported (AC-4)
  • In text templates, section properties in inserted templates are now handled correctly (AC-121)
  • For DOCX templates, you can now use Word's Save As feature to save the template in a different library folder (HotDocs creates the necessary configuration and component  files) or in a folder that is not a library (HotDocs saves the configuration and component files in the new folder but it will not act as a HotDocs template until you add it to a library folder) (HA-43)
  • For DOCX templates, you can now use Word's Save As feature to save a copy of the template in the same library folder (HotDocs changes the template file name on the copy and creates a new configuration file that points the copy to the existing component file) (HA-42)
  • In text templates, when you use the multiple replace option for a text variable, HotDocs now correctly adds any preceding spaces from the answer (HA-305)
  • When you import a HotDocs Developer component file, then import a DOCX template which uses that component file, HotDocs now provides a warning that the originally imported component file already exists (HA-318)
  • In the library, if you delete a template containing errors, HotDocs now also removes the associated component file (if it isn't being used by another template) (HA-33)
  • In the library, if you delete a template when there is a file with a similar name in the folder, HotDocs now also deletes the configuration and component files for that template (HA-223)
  • In plain text templates, in the field editor, if you use the replace all feature when the word you have selected is not the first instance of that word in the template, HotDocs now replaces all the words as expected (HA-344)
  • In plain text templates, if you rename a text variable with an invalid name, HotDocs no longer adds the name outside of the placeholder field (HA-328)
  • In DOCX templates, when you first test an interview, HotDocs no longer displays an error message (HA-421)
  • When you first open an imported template, HotDocs is now faster at updating the field appearances (HA-166)
  • In DOCX templates, REPEAT instructions inside a table now produce the expected results in the assembled document (HA-379)
  • In the library, the first time you open a library on a new machine and create a template in that empty library, the template links now work as expected (HA-355)
  • In plain text templates, REPEAT instruction no longer cause a template error (HA-339)

Notes for Users of HotDocs 11 Upgrading to HotDocs Author

We'd like to help you set realistic expectations for HotDocs Author by underlining the fact that this product does not pretend to be HotDocs Developer 12. Instead, HotDocs Author is its own product (with some backwards compatibility). There are many features you can recognize from HotDocs Developer; however, there are many things that are different as well. To ease the transition, we'd like to outline some of the most important ones:

Notable Features in Author

As you experiment with HotDocs Author, take note of the following features that represent significant enhancements over the way previous HotDocs products worked.

  • Streamlined Workspace Explorer focused on creating and editing templates
  • Simplified organization of template and component files in workspace folders on disk
    • Optional integration with SVN source control for all files in a workspace
  • New method of embedding fields in DOCX templates
    • Fields have customizable appearance
    • Fields no longer delimited with chevrons
  • HotDocs Field Editor – an entirely new way to create and edit fields within templates and component properties (prompt, additional information, etc.)
  • Entirely new UI for editing components
    • Support for Undo/Redo of component changes
  • Extensive background processing of templates to:
    • Expedite finding and fixing errors in your templates and components
    • Comprehensively track (and show) dependencies between templates, components and other files
    • Eliminate delays associated with uploading templates for use in HotDocs Hub
    • Detect changes on disk (arising from source control or file edits from other users/processes) and updating all features accordingly, all in the background, without requiring user attention.
  • All interviews presented in a browser window
    • 100% accurate testing of all template functionality

Supported Template Types

This release of HotDocs Author supports:

  • MS Word DOCX templates
  • Answer intakes (formerly known as "interview templates")
  • Plain text templates

Differences in Terminology

With HotDocs Author we have done some work to update the terminology of certain features and functions to bring it in line with other HotDocs products. Here are a few of the most obvious and important ones:

HotDocs 11 Term

HotDocs Author Equivalent

Variable field

Placeholder field

Interview template

Answer intake

Component manager Component Studio
Component file properties Template properties
"Shared" component file Component file
"Pointed" component file Template configuration file
Template developer Template author
Resources Additional Information

Changes to Workspace Features and Functionality

In Windows Explorer you will see some significant differences in how workspace folders (template libraries) are structured. There is no longer an .hdl file representing the workspace itself. When you create a workspace, Author creates a workspace folder (in Documents\HotDocs Author by default) and places a file there called AuthorWorkspace.hdw. (Without this file, HotDocs won't recognize the folder as a workspace.) As you create templates, they are stored in this folder. Removing a template from the folder removes it from the workspace.

In HotDocs Author, workspaces are used only for template authors; they are no longer something the end-user will see. As such, template organizational tools such as folders or custom ordering of templates are not currently supported. You also cannot create a workspace within another workspace folder. Rather, a workspace (via the Workspace Explorer) acts as a searchable, sortable (A-Z) and filterable list of the templates within your workspace folder.

HotDocs Developer allowed a template author to create a new template based on an existing one by selecting an existing template as the "initial content" of a new template. In Author, a new template's initial content must be a document, not an existing template.

Permanently Deprecated Features

The following features of HotDocs Developer are no longer supported in HotDocs Author:

  • Ability to read old binary component files (from versions prior to 2009)
  • "Row-based" repeats (Every REPEAT field in a text-based template must now always include a matching END REPEAT field. Missing END REPEAT fields for repeats in table rows should be added automatically during import)
  • Application Link Dialog Elements (buttons that appear in a desktop interview, which cause an arbitrary executable to be run on the desktop)
  • Personal Information variables
  • Resources of the following types:
    • HTML Help
    • Windows Help
    • Folio InfoBase
    • Custom Program
  • ASK NONE / ASK DEFAULT instructions – by clearing the "Ask automatically" flag on pertinent variables or dialogs, these archaic instructions should no longer be necessary
  • Post-assembly features that rely on MS Word
    • PLAY instruction invoking Word macros on assembled documents
    • Moving keyboard focus to the "TypeHere" bookmark in the assembled document
  • INIKEY, DLLCALL, and EXECUTE instructions (long unsupported, now removed)
  • Any use of dialog elements in expressions or as the object of SET instructions (as if they had answers, which they do not)