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Template Import Overview

Template import is the process of bringing one or more HotDocs templates stored in another location into your current workspace. For example, you can use Author's import functionality to import a template from a previous version of HotDocs or to import a template from another HotDocs Author workspace.


The template import functionality prevents you from having to re-author templates created in previous versions of HotDocs. This feature, primarily aimed at providing backward compatibility, can also be used to import one or more templates from other HotDocs Author workspaces stored on your computer, removable disk, network, etc. When importing an Author-compatible template, template import performs all of the conversions and functions necessary to enable you to use the template in the Author environment. In addition, the import feature will import any dependent images or templates for any template you import. Lastly, using the import functionality generates an import report that alerts you to whether or not the import was successful and provides you with explanatory detail.

Common Tasks


You can access the template import feature from the Workspace Explorer clicking the Import button. Using the template import functionality, you can select the file you want to import, attempt the import, and read the import report. Once a template is successfully imported, it will be copied (not moved) into your workspace and ready for use.

Author-Compatible Templates

Generally speaking, most templates created in current and previous versions of HotDocs can be imported into Author. The following table presents further compatibility detail for your reference:

File Type Author Import Capability
HotDocs Author Templates All templates created by HotDocs Author can be imported using Author's import functionality.
DOCX Templates created in HotDocs Developer 11 Can be imported (with some caveats).
Plain Text (.ttx) Templates created in HotDocs Developer 11 Can be imported (with some caveats).
Component Files (.cmp) created in HotDocs Developer 11 Can be imported, and based on their content, Author imports these as either an Answer Intake (formerly interview template) or a stand-alone component file (with some caveats).
Templates created in HotDocs versions prior to Developer 11 Must first be converted to work with Developer 11 before they can be imported (requires HotDocs Developer 11).

When importing templates that contain dependencies (Insert or ASSEMBLE instructions referring to other templates), be aware of the following:

  • You need to import each of the templates inserted or assembled by the parent template separately. Author will warn you about which dependencies could not be imported in the import report and will present errors for the dependencies in the parent template's error list.
  • Unlike in legacy versions of HotDocs, Insert instructions can only refer to templates in the same directory (workspace folder) as the parent template. Author will warn you of this in the import report and will present errors in the parent template's error list.

Template Import Report Window

When you attempt an import, Author opens the Import Report window containing an import report which notifies you of the following:

  • Whether the import failed or was successful
  • If the import failed, what caused the failure and provides information that may lead to potential fixes
  • If the import process required any fields in your template to be upgraded or modified, and if so, how many
  • If there are any import warnings, which describe actions HotDocs sees as potentially important for you to know (or address) about your imported template

The Import Report Window also enables you to click the Open in web browser button and view the import report in your web browser.

Should you wish to retrieve the import report, it is stored in HotDocs Author > workspace folder name > Logs as an HTML (.html) file containing a time stamp for when Author generated the report.

Common Reference Topics

Among others, the following reference topics may relate to this conceptual area: