HotDocs Author Overview

HotDocs Author is the desktop-based portion of HotDocs Advance you use to author HotDocs templates. For example, you can use Author to transform existing Word and plain text documents into HotDocs templates, or you can use Author to create templates "from scratch."

In this topic Hide

  1. Overview
  2. Common Tasks
  3. Workflow
  4. HotDocs Author Elements
  5. Compatibility with Previous Versions of HotDocs


HotDocs Author consists of the following interface elements (covered more fully below):

Common Tasks

Among others, HotDocs Author enables you to perform the following common tasks:


When you create a template in HotDocs Author, you follow the workflow outlined in the HotDocs Author Workflow Overview. Once you create your template, you upload it to HotDocs Hub (the portion of HotDocs Advance where your template users access the interview HotDocs generates from the template you create.  to automate the process of delivering interviews to your clients or customers, collecting their answers, and assembling final documents containing that information.

HotDocs Author Elements

When being introduced to Author, it is useful to think of it as comprising four distinct parts or interface areas:

Workspace Explorer

Workspace Explorer is the first window you see when you first start Author and is the primary organizational element of the HotDocs Author Interface. The behavior and purpose of Workspace Explorer is similar to that of a file explorer on your computer. For example, you use Workspace Explorer to:

HotDocs Author Add-in for Word

When you create a DOCX template in HotDocs Author, the template loads in Microsoft Word. The HotDocs Author add-in for Word provides you the tools you need to author your template. The Author add-in  has two parts:

Component Studio

Component Studio is the interface you use to access and edit your template's component file. Components are the basic building blocks of a template. A template relies on components to determine how to ask for the data you want to gather in the interview HotDocs generates from the template you build.

With Component Studio, you can:

You can open Component Studio either from Workspace Explorer or from the Author tab of the Word ribbon.

HotDocs Composer

When you create a plain text template or an answer intake from Workspace Explorer, HotDocs displays these within a specialized text editor called Composer.

When working with answer intakes, Composer provides you with:

When working with plain text templates, Composer provides you with:

Test Window

The Test Window is the interface that enables you test the interview HotDocs generates from each template. You can access the Test window from the following locations:

Workspace Services System Tray Item

When you first start HotDocs Author, the system tray in the Windows taskbar briefly flashes a Workspace Services notification to alert you that Author Workspace Services is starting. Workspace Services runs as a background service that keeps all of the interface elements in Author in sync, and runs Author Test interviews.

Compatibility with Previous Versions of HotDocs

HotDocs Author provides some backwards compatibility for users of HotDocs classic authoring tools, such as HotDocs Developer 11. This enables you to import: