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Excel Output Limitations


This article provides information about the limitations of AutoTag when using Excel, as well as how to work around these issues.

Word to Excel Output

  • Crossing formats (like DOCX -> XLSX) is strongly discouraged and the generated output will often be a poor match because the file format settings are so different.

DOC template to XLSX output 

  • Each paragraph in the report template is given its own cell.
  • A table in the report template is mapped to rows and cells as you would expect.
  • A table inside a cell cannot be done in Excel, so it is formatted with spaces and cr/lf instead. The first table in the template defines the width of each column for the entire spreadsheet, based on the column widths in that table. In addition, all paragraphs outside of tables will be set to span all of the columns making up the first table so they are the same width in the spreadsheet as the table.
  • You can only hyperlink a cell, not a part of the text in a cell. Windward Reports links using the last hyperlink in the text in a cell.
  • You can format the text in a cell and start a new paragraph in a cell. But you cannot set indentations on the left/right and you cannot set inter- or intra-paragraph spacing.
  • Images are supported
  • Character formatting within a cell. Each cell is formatted according to the first text character format in the cell.
  • Headers and footers are supported (including tags) in version 15 and later.


  • PivotTables are not supported in versions 12.x and earlier.
  • Opening a XLSX file in Excel 2000/2002/2003 – you must click no on “Calculation is incomplete” – this is a bug in Excel. (NOTE: these versions are no longer support by Microsoft, and therefore no longer supported in AutoTag)
  • Named cells are not supported for any format other than XLSX
  • Does not support page breaks 
  • Does not support using tags in headers and footers. Text supported beginning in Version 15.
  • Table header row prints on first page only - does not repeat on other pages
  • Ignores the settings for Gridlines. This is an Excel application only feature.
  • Only formatted text is supported in the header. ie: images, charts, etc. not supported in the header.
  • Excel styles are not supported in versions 13.x and earlier.
  • Does not support fit-to-page in versions 13.x and earlier. (See image below)



  • All XLSX limitations
  • Wrap text not supported.  This is due to a bug in POI code.
  • Does not support charts.
  • Formatting a cell is supported, but limited formatting within a cell.
  • Does not support references to cells in other worksheets


CSV (Comma Separated Value)

  • Only reads tables in the template. All parts of the template not in a table are ignored.
  • All tables in the template are joined as a single table in the generated report.


Table Limitations

  • Named Tables are not supported.
  • Default Table styles are not supported.
  • Ranges are supported.
  • Named ranges are supported.

General Limitations

  • Header and Footers are not supported prior to version 15. Text is supported, but not Tags.
  • Referencing cells is only supported within the same sheet (not within a workbook) and is only available with Output from XSLX --> XSLX. (Ex: PDF doesn't know Excel's code.)

Pivot Table Limitations

A list of current limitations in Excel PivotTables implementation:

  • A PivotTable is non-movable and expandable. This means it can’t be placed in a worksheet containing other dynamic contents, e.g. a ForEach loop. So, place the PivotTables in separate worksheets.
  • A data source for a PivotTable can’t contain more than Z columns.
  • A PivotTable can use only by row expandable ForEach loops. If you have a ForEach loop that expands by columns, that won’t work.


POD Limitations 

When you create a POD, you're creating an XML file that defines all the tags and the associated data source connection information. 

  • PODs don't work well with Excel. This is especially true when trying to Output from Excel to Word.  Use PODs in Word only.
  • You can do PODs in Excel, however, you must create the PODs that you want to use for spreadsheets in Excel.  You are actually creating an HTML copy/paste, not an XLSX copy/paste, so it will not match well.
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