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Workspaces Overview

A workspace is a folder on your computer's file system you designate (using Author) as a location for storing a set of (often related) HotDocs templates. For example, when you first open Author, before you can create a template, you must use Workspace Explorer to create a workspace where you can store that template, as well as any related templates.


You use workspaces to organize and store HotDocs templates the same way you would use folders to organize and store other file types on your computer. In fact, when you create a workspace in HotDocs, HotDocs merely creates a folder on your disk and adds a file called AuthorWorkspace.hdw that enables HotDocs to recognize that folder as a workspace. For a workspace to function properly, you must create it through Workspace Explorer, or Author won't recognize that folder as a workspace. You must also store your templates in a workspace or the HotDocs template editor does not work. You can create as many workspaces as you need to help you keep similar templates organized.

If a workspace is version controlled, it represents your local working copy of the templates you store there.

Common Tasks

Among others, Workspace Explorer enables you to perform the following common workspace-oriented tasks:


You explore workspaces and their contents via Workspace Explorer (the first window you see when you start Author). However, you can also view the contents of workspaces (albeit without the features that the Workspace Explorer provides you) from Windows File Explorer, by navigating to your default  Documents > HotDocs Author > Workspace Name.

Multiple User Access

If you work with a team of template authors who need to access the same workspaces and templates, HotDocs provides a version control plugin to enable your team to access the same workspaces and templates in an orderly manner. A source control system also keeps track of and backs up the changes you each make, so no one's work gets lost, or permanently overwritten. For this reason, a version control system is a good idea, even if you work on your projects by yourself.

If you do not want to use a version control system, you can place a workspace on a network share, but this does not provide the same kind of aid and protections, and is not considered "best practice". Indeed, while more than one team member at a time can access the same workspace on a network, that is the only advantage this approach offers.

Common Reference Topics

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