Tag Archives: wordwriter

Using OfficeWriter COM

The COM version of OfficeWriter has been deprecated.   However, some customers have existing applications that use the ExcelWriter and WordWriter COM dlls. The officially supported versions of OfficeWriter (v8.x and v9.x) no longer include the COM dlls.   The latest versions of the COM dlls are ExcelWriter 7.6.1 and WordWriter 4.6.1.   The last automated installer which contained the COM dlls was OfficeWriter version 4.5.1.

One of the most important things to know is that OfficeWriter’s COM dlls are 32-bit. If you are migrating an existing application to a 64-bit server, any application using OfficeWriter COM will need to be assigned to a 32-bit application pool.

This article provides more information about the points mentioned above, as well as anything else you may need to know about using OfficeWriter COM.

How do I know if my application is using OfficeWriter COM?
What functionality is included in the COM version of OfficeWriter?
Getting the Documentation
Getting the COM dlls
Installing ExcelWriter COM
Installing WordWriter COM

How do I know if my application is using OfficeWriter COM?

If your application is classic ASP, it is obviously using the COM dlls.

But there is another possible scenario. If you have an ASP.NET application using a very old version of ExcelWriter, your application may have a dependency on the ExcelWriter COM dll.  This is because before the pure .NET version of ExcelWriter was released, we provided a .NET wrapper for the COM version.  Note: If you are using OfficeWriter in .NET, we highly recommend migrating your code to use the pure .NET objects which are fully supported, more up-to-date, and fully 64-bit compatible.

Note: ASP.NET applications using only WordWriter will never have a dependency on COM. This is because WordWriter, a newer product than ExcelWriter, has always been a pure .NET product. (A COM-callable wrapper was provided for use with classic ASP)

To determine whether your .NET application has ExcelWriter COM dependencies:

  1. First check if your code is using the SoftArtisans.ExcelWriter namespace.  This namespace contains all the interop classes provided by our .NET wrapper (The pure .NET objects, on the other hand, are all in the namespace SoftArtisans.OfficeWriter.ExcelWriter)
  2. If your application uses both the ExcelTemplate and ExcelApplication object and it was written using certain versions of ExcelWriter, you may find that your code references both namespaces mentioned above.  This is because the pure .NET ExcelTemplate object was released before the pure.NET ExcelApplication object.  ExcelTemplate .NET was released in ExcelWriter v5 (OfficeWriter v2) and ExcelApplication .NET was released in ExcelWriter v6 (OfficeWriter v3)
  3. If you see a reference to “SAEXCELLib” rather than SoftArtisans.ExcelWriter,  your developers probably imported the ExcelWriter COM dll into a .NET project rather than using our custom .NET wrapper.   The .NET framework will create a default wrapper if a COM dll is imported into a .NET project in Visual Studio.

What functionality is included in the COM version of OfficeWriter?

ExcelWriter COM Functionality and Limitations
ExcelWriter was already a mature COM product before the .NET version was introduced.   The ExcelWriter COM dll has no dependency on the .NET dll, and it includes full ExcelTemplate and ExcelApplication functionality.  However, in recent years, as most customers migrated to the .NET, many new features were added only to the .NET version.   Therefore the COM version of ExcelWriter has some significant limitations, including:

  1. No support for OOXML file formats (.xlsx, .xlsm)
  2. No automatic grouping and nesting functionality (released in ExcelWriter .NET v7.1.0)
  3. Does not support all new Excel formulas introduced in Excel 2007 and above
  4. No server-side calculation engine (released in v9)

Wordwriter COM Functionality and Limitations
WordWriter is a pure .NET product with a COM-callable wrapper (CCW) provided for use with classic ASP.  The CCW includes only the WordTemplate object. If you are using WordWriter in classic ASP, all the template-based functionality is available.  However, since 4.6.1 was the last release, the COM version does not include any fixes or enhancements added to later versions.  See the OfficeWriter change log to determine which new features and fixes were introduced after 4.6.1 and therefore are not included in WordWriter COM.

Getting the COM dlls

OfficeWriter version 4.5.1 was the last public release that included COM dlls in the installation package.   It includes ExcelWriter 7.5.1 COM and WordWriter 4.5.1 COM.  The latest versions of the COM dlls, ExcelWriter 7.6.1 and WordWriter 4.6.1, are available by request for customers with an active support contract.  This request may be made using regular support channels.

Note:  If you are planning to do a manual installation, you will also need a copy of LicenseManager.exe v4 or above in order to enter your OfficeWriter v4 (or ExcelWriter v7) license key.  LicenseManager.exe is included in the automated installer package, or you can request a copy from Support together with your request for the COM dlls.

Getting the Documentation

The latest documentation for using ExcelWriter and WordWriter in classic ASP is included in the OfficeWriter v4 documentation, which can be downloaded here: http://support.softartisans.com/download/OfficeWriter4Documentation.zip

  • ExcelWriter ASP documentation is in the file “EW-COM-7.pdf”
  • Instructions for using WordWriter in classic ASP are included in the main WordWriter v4 documentation – “WW-4.pdf”

If you are using ExcelWriter COM through the interop in an ASP.NET application, there is no up-to-date documentation available for this configuration.   However, there are some resources in older versions of the documentation that may be helpful.

Installing ExcelWriter COM

Installation instructions can also be found in the ExcelWriter v4 documentation.

  1. Install an ExcelWriter v7 (or OfficeWriter v4) license key
    The License Key can be entered using the full OfficeWriter installer or the LicenseManager.exe utility (version 4 or above)

    • LicenseManager.exe can be found in the program folder of an OfficeWriter installation on a different box
    • or you can request a copy of LicenseManager from SoftArtisans support.
  2. Register the COM dll – “SAXW7COM.dll”
    In versions 4.5.1 and below, the OfficeWriter installer will register the COM dll automatically, but it won’t be the newest version of the dll.  If you have an installer for  v4.5.1 or below, one option is to run the installer and then copy over the newer dll and register it.  That way you will have the full program folder in addition to the dlls.

    If you are doing a manual installation, or if you are updating a previous installation with the newer version of the dll:

    1. navigate to the directory containing the dll and enter:
      regsvr32 SAXW7COM.dll

      Note: On a 64-bit OS, make sure to use the 32-bit version of regsvr32, usually located in C:\Windows\SysWOW64. So you would enter:

      C:\Windows\SysWOW64\regsvr32 SAXW7COM.dll
    2.  Reset IIS by entering:
      iisreset
  3. Make sure your application is running in a 32-bit process
  4. Since ExcelWriter COM is 32-bit dll, if your server is 64-bit you must assign your virtual application to an application pool running in 32-bit mode:

    1. Open the IIS management console
    2. Create a new app pool or select an existing one
    3. Click on “Advanced Settings”
    4. Set “Enable 32-Bit Applications” to True
    5. Click “OK”

    Installing WordWriter COM

    Instructions for installing WordWriter for ASP can also be found in the WordWriter v4 documentation.

    These are the main steps for installing WordWriter COM:

    1. Check the system requirements
      • The COM-callable wrapper (CCW), WordTemplateCCW.dll, is a COM object that makes internal calls to the WordWriter .NET assembly.  Therefore, to use WordWriter in ASP, all of the system requirements for running WordWriter in ASP.NET must also be satisfied.
      • Version 4.x of the CCW also has a requirement for the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable. If this is a 64-bit OS, make sure to get the 32-bit version of the C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable. Download Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable for x86 systems
    2. Install a v4 license key
      The license key can be installed using the automatic installer or (if you are doing a manual installation) the LicenseManager.exe utility (version 4 or above)

      1. LicenseManager.exe can be found in the program folder of an OfficeWriter installation on a different box
      2. or you can request a copy of LicenseManager from SoftArtisans support.
      3. Put the WordWriter .NET assembly “SoftArtisans.OfficeWriter.WordWriter.dll “ in the GAC.
        SoftArtisans.OfficeWriter.WordWriter.dll is a .NET assembly.  The CCW allows you to use the .NET WordTemplate object from ASP. The assembly must be installed in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) to allow the CCW to work.

        In versions 4.5.1 or below, the OfficeWriter installer will automatically put the WordWriter.NET assembly in the GAC, however it won’t be the latest version of the dll. Here is how to manually add the .NET assembly to the GAC:

        1. On versions of Windows prior to Windows 2008 or Windows 7, copy the file “SoftArtisans.OfficeWriter.WordWriter.dll” to C:\WINDOWS\Assembly.
        2. On Windows 7 or Windows 2008 and above, use gacutil.exe. Unless you have Visual Studio installed on the machine (which most servers do not), you may need to download the Windows SDK to get a copy of gacutil.exe.
          Open a command prompt and navigate to the directory with the .NET dll and enter:

          gacutil /i SoftArtisans.OfficeWriter.WordWriter.dll
        3. Register the COM dll “WordTemplateCCW.dll” with regsvr32
          In versions 4.5.1 and below, the OfficeWriter installer will register the COM dll automatically, but it won’t be the newest version of the dll. If you have an installer for v4.5.1 or below, one option is to run the installer and then copy over the newer dll and register it. That way you will have the full program folder in addition to the dlls.

          If you are doing a manual installation, or if you are updating a previous installation with the newer version of the dll:

          1. navigate to the directory containing the dll and enter:
            regsvr32 SAXW7COM.dll

            Note: On a 64-bit OS, make sure to use the 32-bit version of regsvr32, usually located in C:\Windows\SysWOW64. So you would enter:

            C:\Windows\SysWOW64\regsvr32 WordTemplateCCW.dll
          2. Reset IIS by entering:
            iisreset
          3. Make sure your application is running in a 32-bit process
            The WordWriter .NET assembly is compiled with /anycpu and can run natively on 64-bit operating systems. However the CCW dll is 32-bit and must run in a 32-bit process.If your server is 64-bit, assign your virtual application to an application pool that is set to run in 32-bit compatability mode.

            • Open the IIS management console
            • Create a new app pool or select an existing one
            • Click on “Advanced Settings”
            • Set “Enable 32-Bit Applications” to True
            • Click “OK”

How to Use the LineBreakstoParagraphs Property

The LineBreakstoParagraphs Property

A new feature in the WordWriter 8.6.1 WordTemplate Object is the ability to output new paragraphs where there are line breaks in your data using the LineBreakstoParagraphs property. This allows the user to have their text separate into new paragraphs every time there is a line break. The biggest benefit of this feature is that each new paragraph that is inserted will inherit the paragraph styles of its MergeField, including hanging paragraph settings, indentations after paragraphs, alignment, spacing, and orientation, to name a few. This means a single merge field can now output many identically formatted paragraphs rather than a single, large paragraph.

How to Use

By default, LineBreakstoParagraphs is set to False, and line breaks are inserted as soft breaks. A soft break is when text goes to the next line, but is still a part of the previous paragraph. Therefore the new line lacks any typical spacing and indentation that would occur between paragraphs. A soft return can be done in Word by pressing Shift + Enter. To use LineBreakstoParagraphs, you must set the property to true before calling Open(). Also be aware that this property only works on OOXML Word documents (.docx, .dotx, etc).

Comparison

LineBreakstoParagraphs Set to FALSE (DEFAULT)
 KB_LB1
LineBreakstoParagraphs Set to TRUE
KB_LB2

Sample Code

// Names of your mergefields
string[] NamesArr = { @"MultiLineString" };

//Your long multi-line string of text with linebreaks.
object[] ValuesArr = {  
@"Lorem ipsum .... 
Mauris ac elit ... 
Cras mi nisi....};

WordTemplate WordTempl = new WordTemplate();

//Set LineBreakstoParagraphs to true
WordTempl.LineBreaksToParagraphs = true;

WordTempl.Open(Page.MapPath("/LineBreakstoParaDemo.docx"));

//Set the datasource to the arrays.
WordTempl.SetDataSource(ValuesArr, NamesArr);
WordTempl.Process(); 
WordTempl.Save(Page.Response, "Demo.docx", false);

Creating Dynamic Links With MergeFields in Microsoft Word

Introduction

MergeFields allow users to import dynamic content in Microsoft Word. While this feature is very useful in many situations, it can be unclear how you must handle MergeFields nested inside of fields like hyperlinks. A user might want to have both dynamic link test and destinations for their hyperlinks. Unfortunately, how to achieve this is unclear because Hyperlink field codes only take a destination parameter. There is no place to put a merge field for your dynamic display text. In this article, I will show how to create fully dynamic links for Microsoft Word 2007 and up!

Step 1: Adding a Hyperlink Field

  • Put your cursor where you want to place the hyperlink
  • Go to Insert->Hyperlink
  • In the dialog box:
    • Next to Text to Display, enter something like “Temp Display Text”
    • Next to Address, enter something like “Temp Link”

You Should Now Have Something Like This:

KB_Step1

Step 2: Adding a Dynamic Destination Location

  • Press ALT+F9 to see the field code.
  • Delete the “Temp Link” text inside of the quotes.
  • If you have a base url location, enter it in between the quotes. Then proceed to the next step.
  • Now we must add a MergeField to get dynamic urls.
    • Put your cursor before the closing quote of your destination location.
      • Go to Insert-> Quick Parts-> Field.
      • Select MergeField from the Field Names menu.
      • Add the Field Name to identify the MergeField.
      • Click “OK” to exit the dialog.

You Should Now Have Something Like This:

KB_Step2 Continue reading Creating Dynamic Links With MergeFields in Microsoft Word

How to prevent line breaks after an empty merge field

Problem

When you use the WordTemplate object to populate a WordWriter template document with data retrieved from a data source, you may have situations in which a merge field is not bound to a value. The most common scenario is creating a mailing address. Each field of a mailing address may be represented by a merge field. Typically, the second line of the address is optional. In the generated document, if the merge field corresponding to the second line of the address does not have a value, a blank line may be present.

In Microsoft Word, a blank line generated during a mail merge can be suppressed using application settings. With WordWriter, a blank line is not automatically removed.

WordWriter template document:

Generated document:

Solution

The following discussion uses a merge field called AddressLine2 as an example, but is applicable to any field with optional value.

In the WordWriter template document, if the line break is separate from the AddressLine2 merge field, the line break will be present in the generated document whether or not Continue reading How to prevent line breaks after an empty merge field

What’s new in OfficeWriter 8.5

Spring has sprung, bringing with it our newest release of OfficeWriter: OfficeWriter 8.5!  What’s in store for this maintenance release? Scroll down to see the latest additions our development team has been working on.

WordTemplate – Embed DOCX files into templates

In OfficeWriter 8.0, we added the ability to embed RTF or HTML documents in Word files with WordTemplate.  The feature uses the document modifier to signify that a RTF or HTML document will be inserted. To learn more about using the document modifier, see our guide on inserting an embedded document under our WordTemplate Tutorials.

HTMLtoWord

We have also extended the feature to include DOCX files. Now you can embed other Word documents into your WordWriter templates. Continue reading What’s new in OfficeWriter 8.5

What’s new in OfficeWriter 8.4

PIVOT TABLES ARE HERE!

OfficeWriter 8.4 packs a powerful punch with exciting new features, most notable of which is ExcelApplication support for PivotTables in OOXML (XLSX, XLSM) files. ExcelWriter already supports the use of PivotTables in ExcelTemplate and SSRS reports,  but now you can programmatically create, manipulate, and remove PivotTables with ExcelApplication.

BlogPostPivot

The new PivotTable API gives you the freedom to:

  • Create PivotTables from scratch (see our tutorial on Creating a Basic PivotTable)
  • Add and manipulate PivotTable fields – data value fields, column labels, row labels, and report filter page fields
  • Access common settings like empty/error values, refresh data when opening a file, and the number of cached items to retain

With the API you also have the ability to change the data source of a PivotTable. Continue reading What’s new in OfficeWriter 8.4

Enhancing your Word Document with Images Using OfficeWriter

One of the questions that comes up frequently when talking with customers is how can they get their images into their Word document with OfficeWriter? Depending on how you are using OfficeWriter and making your Word documents, there are a few ways to do this. The following outline several of these methods and cases in which to use them.

1. Design your document in Word with images

This is the easiest way to get images into your document. Since OfficeWriter can use the Word file you have already created and allow you to enhance it with data from a database, you can get all of the design functionality of Word with the enhanced capabilities of OfficeWriter. This method is commonly used when designing a document that uses your company logo, for example.

2. Dynamically insert images into a document

Another option is to design your document in Word, but leave a place holder for a dynamically loaded image. (A quick overview on how to do this can be found here.) This method is great when the document is structured the same each time it is run and you want to keep your company logo static, but use different department logos.

3. Design your report with images stored in a database

You can use one of two methods to directly insert images into a Word template from an image column: the placeholder method or the the image modifier method.  For example, in MS SQL Server, there is a column type “varbinary” used just for that purpose. This method is perfect for creating an employee directory containing the employee’s picture along with their contact information, or for a product catalog, showing the product alongside the product details. (For further details on how to to design your report with images stored in a database, please see our documentation on inserting an image.)

4. Design your report with images referenced by PATH in a database

This is the more complicated case of the bunch. Unlike the previous instances where you were obtaining your images directly from a database, this process involves accessing your images stored in another location, such as a network share. Continue reading Enhancing your Word Document with Images Using OfficeWriter

Everything You Need to Know About OfficeWriter: The Whitepaper

Looking for a comprehensive overview of OfficeWriter? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve partnered with Andrew Brust of Blue Badge Insights to give you an inside look at how OfficeWriter can benefit your company’s business intelligence.
OfficeWriter Whitepaper
Microsoft Office and Data: A Love Story
Excel and Word are the Will and Kate of the Office software world, but if you try to use them for data analysis, they’ll morph into Milli-Vanilli. OfficeWriter prevents that from happening.
In this whitepaper, you’ll learn:
  • How OfficeWriter’s API and templates provide bridges between Microsoft Office & databases
  • How OfficeWriter enhances SQL Server Reporting Services
  • How OfficeWriter turns SharePoint lists & libraries into full-fledged Office docs
That is simply the beginning. Get a full overview of OfficeWriter today.

Can a web application send additional information after streaming a file to the browser?

Problem

Your web application uses OfficeWriter to generate and stream a document or spreadsheet to the browser. Subsequently, you want to send additional instructions to the browser to update the web page, display a pop-up confirmation message, or re-direct to another web page.

Solution

It is not possible for a web application to stream a file to the browser and subsequently send additional information in the same response. This limitation is a consequence of the request-response nature of web programming and is not specific to OfficeWriter. The same limitation applies to any web application which performs media streaming or file downloading.

The HTTP protocol mandates that there can be only one response to each request. A response consists of HTTP headers and content. The HTTP headers provides information about the file and optionally specifies how it should be handled. In the case of file downloading, the response’s content must contain only file data. If there are non-file data in the response, such as HTML code to update the web page or perform additional actions, the foreign data would be taken to be part of the file, causing the file to be corrupted.

After a web application streams a file to the browser using OfficeWriter’s Save method, attempting to redirect to another web page may generate the following error: “Cannot redirect after HTTP headers have been sent.” This is because OfficeWriter’s Save method sets the appropriate HTTP headers before streaming the file and the instruction to redirect requires another set of HTTP headers.