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AutoTag Options


You can set AutoTag's options to control how tags are read and how they display in your template. To set these options, select the Options icon from the Options menu in the AutoTag Manager tab.


View the Options Tutorial Video.

Standard Options

The Standard tab in the Options dialog allows you to change the look and feel, change how tags are displayed, set the default locale, change how PODs are created and change the interface language of AutoTag.

Version 15.X and newer

Version 14.X 


Look and Feel


AutoTag allows you to customize how the style of the AutoTag interface. This will only affect any popup windows that appear such as the Tag Editor.


The style property above must be set to skin for these options to become available. AutoTag ships with many different skins that allow you to customize the look and feel of AutoTag's popup windows. Keep an eye out for the changing seasons...


Display Tags

Select Field

The value of the text in the select field of the tag will be displayed between two square brackets in the template. Note if you are using long SQL selects that your tag name will become very long. It can always be shorted by adding a nickname property to the tag.  

Tag Name

All new tags inserted and existing tags when saved will be displayed as the type of tag it is between 2 square brackets in the template. For example, an Out Tag would appear as [out].


Frame PODs:

Inserted PODs can be framed. If they are framed, then when the original POD is changed, you can update all templates that use that POD.

For example, if a POD is the corporate logo, and the logo changes, then you can update all templates that have the logo in the template as a framed POD.

  • none - PODs are created without any framing.
  • bookmark - Use bookmarks if some template designers are on version of Microsoft Office prior to 2007. Bookmarks can also handle irregular PODs.
  • content control - Use content control framing if you have Microsoft Office 2007/2010 and you do not need irregular framing.
  • locked content control - Use locked content controls (bookmarks cannot be locked) to insure that the POD in the frame is not able to be edited.


Note: Content control framing is safer because you cannot delete part of it and it's extent is very clear (you can edit or delete just one end of a bookmark). 

Open POD Bin on Start

When enabled the POD Bin will automatically open when Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint are opened.


The default formats for dates, times, numbers and currency depend on the locale setting. For example, the use of commas or periods in large numbers, the order in which a month and day are displayed, or a currency symbol depend on the locale when the document was originally created. 

  • {default} - this will use the locale that is set for MS Office. The locale setting applicable to MS Word is configured in the Review/Language/Language Preferences settings of the menu ribbon.
  • {template} - This setting allows you to use the locale assigned to the Microsoft Office template you are currently using.
  • {system} - This setting allows you to use the locale assigned to the operating system running AutoTag.  
  • Defined Language - This setting allows you to define a specific locale for your language and region. For example, if you select "Deutschland," the currency will appear with a Euro symbol and decimal points will be replaced by commas for the decimal symbol.


NOTE: The Engines also have locale settings. If you use AutoTag to generate your report, the locale options set in AutoTag will be used. If you use an Engine to generate your report, the locale settings in your .config (.NET) or .properties (Java) files will be used. 

AutoTag Interface Language

This setting defines the language that the AutoTag interface (Ribbon, popup windows, wizards, etc) is displayed.

  • {default} - this will use the default operating system language for the AutoTag interface language.
  • selected language - this will set the AutoTag interface language to the languag selected.  Note that AutoTag is not fully translated to all languages and is limited to the list of languages in the image above. If you would like to translate AutoTag to your language you can contact and you will be sent the language file of terms to complete the translation.

Advanced Options

The Advanced tab in the Options dialog allows you to change whether tags are written as fields (Word only) or as text, change how tags are read by AutoTag, and change the menu profile. The Design menu profile shows all of the standard AutoTag icons. The UDT only menu profile removes the Data Bin, Tag Builder and Edit Tag icons.

Version 15.X and newer Version 14.X
Advanced Options.PNG

Read Tags Pane

These settings affect how AutoTag reads text in your template and decides whether to interpret it as a tag or not. If you have Text tags in your template, you must select the Text also option. You may also need to select the Prior text option. If you only use templates containing Office2007+ and/or Field tags, turn off both of these options. 

  • Text also - AutoTag will evaluate any Text tags in your template as well as the Field tags. This setting will cause a minor impact on your system's performance.

  • Prior text - Will scan the template (up to the current position of the cursor) to check for Text tags as well as Field tags. This scan occurs each time the Tag Editor opens or validation is run, and may cause a noticeable impact on your system's performance.

  • ContentControl - Will scan the template to check content controls for text tags.

Dbl-Clk - Tag Editor

If selected (default), then double clicking on a tag will bring up the Tag Editor. If it is not selected, then double clicking on a tag will operate in the standard way for Microsoft Office. You need to restart Office after changing this setting.

RMB - Tag Editor

If selected (default), then pressing the Right Mouse Button (RMB) for the context menu will include several AutoTag commands at the bottom of the menu. If it is not selected then the context menu will have nothing added. You need to restart Office after changing this.

Write Tags as Field or as Text

This option affects how the report generator reads your tags and how AutoTag writes tags into your template.


  • Text - tags are inserted into the template as plain text. This is similar to adding tags manually without using AutoTag.

  • Field - Displays the tag as a field reducing its size in the template. It is specific to each product in Microsoft Office.

    • Word - The name of the tag displays in your template and the entire full text version of the tag (including its attribute settings) displays as a tooltip when you position the cursor over it.

    • Excel - Places all content in a cell containing tags inside an Autotag("cell contents...") macro. This macro then displays the tag nickname(s) when the cell is not selected. The cell is limited to 255 characters, so be aware that full tag text will be displayed if you are over this limit.

    • PowerPoint - It will displays tags as hyperlinks where the full text version of the tag is encoded in the hyperlink address and the tag nickname(s) are displayed on the slide.

  • Fields, 2007+ - This option is available in Microsoft Office 2007 and later editions only as it makes use of functionality that does not exist in earlier versions. It is specific to each product in Microsoft Office.

    • Word - You must save templates in the DOCX format to use this format. It will display Chart Tags as native Microsoft Word charts, Import & Out Tags that generate an image ask native Microsoft Word images, and remaining tags as a field.

    • Excel - It will display Chart Tags as Excel charts, Import & Out Tags that generate an image as native Microsoft Excel images. Remaining tags will be displayed using the Fields method.

    • PowerPoint - It will display tags as hyperlinks where the full text version of the tag is encoded in the hyperlink address and the tag nickname(s) are displayed on the slide.

Note: If all your tags are fields (the Write Tags Field button is selected), be sure both the Read Tags options (Text Also and Prior Text) are unchecked. Otherwise your system will run very, very slowly.


Open Logging Console

(See first image in Advanced Section). When you click Open Logging Console, this will open a window that will display the current log file information. You have the option to change the logging level to four levels (Debug, Info, Warn and Error) as well as define the maximum number of lines to display. You can also copy the contents of the window to the clipboard.

Create Log File

This will create a log file and display the name and location of that log file. The default location will vary depending on your version and bitness of Microsoft Office installed.


Defines the options available in the AutoTag Ribbon based on the selection.


  • {default} - uses the default installation setting, which is set to AutoTag.
  • AutoTag - the default setting providing all the basic options of the AutoTag Ribbon Menu.
  • PODs only - This is a simplified Ribbon that only displays operations need for users to use PODs, but not to change them.

Data Source Parameters

When sending information as a variable parameter into a program there is often concern for safety. Because you are allowing another program access to your application, you must ensure that what is sent will not cause harm to your application or the data it accesses. It is for this reason that we have setup different modes to pass variable parameter information into AutoTag.


  • Substitution - Parameters are substituted and the setParameter() method is not used.

  • Parameters Plus - the setParameter() method is used unless the variable starts with an underscore. For variables that start with an underscore (${_var}) AutoTag will use the previous Substitution setting. This is useful if your ${_var} is not a parameter, but is part of the SQL SELECT statement (such as the ORDER BY clause).

  • Parameters Only - the setParameter() method is always used. This provides the full measure of security.

Additional Information

When a variable is placed in a select statement, there are two issues to be concerned about using the substitution method.


  • The first is that you may have Name = '${name}' in the select. But the ${name} may be O'Malley in which case you have Name = 'O'Malley' which the data source then interprets as Name = 'O' followed Malley' by which makes no sense and causes an error. Windward handles the specific case of a  '  in the name, but there are many other cases where this can be problematic.


  • The second concern is one of security where someone sets ${name} = O' execute update my salary = 10000000 and it runs that command as part of the select.


  • We address this issue by using the available SQL functionality where we give it the raw select statement, mark the ${vars} as variables, and then call setParameter(), a provided part of both the JDBC and ADO.NET API, to set the parameters. This sets the parameters properly with the database driver insuring that it is always placed in as a parameter and just a parameter.
    • Why is this a breaking change? Using substitution uses the syntax Name = '${name}'. With setParameter() you use the syntax Name = ${name}. Note that the  '  is gone. This is because setParameter() knows if they are needed and will add them in that case. But existing templates are under the old approach. Because of this, if you are using parameters, then when the engine sees '${name}' it will strip out the ' on both sides. You can turn this off in your properties file using The default for this property is false.
    • To convert your templates you can use the Clean Template action which will change '${name}' to ${name}. You can also manually run the template through the engine to a report, applying no data sources. All selects will be cleaned up to match the parameters setting you are using.
  • This is presently implemented for SQL data sources only. We are working on similar functionality for XPath but that is more difficult as it does not provide a setParameter() functionality.


Data Source Credentials

If a data source requires credentials (a username & password) to access its data, you must provide these credentials in AutoTag to access the sample data. You have three ways to store these credentials for in order edit tags in the template.



  • Common (all users) - Stores the credentials in plain text (it is UUEncoded) in the template. Anyone editing the template has access to the data source and does not need to enter the information, or even know it. Anyone with the template and moderate programming skill can read the password in the template.

  • Encrypted by user - Stores the credentials in the template in an encrypted format. It is encrypted using your current login to your Windows system. Once entered for a user on a computer, that user on that computer (assuming they use the same login) will not need to re-enter the credentials. But any other user, or on a different computer or login, will require the credentials to be re-entered. This encrypted information is stored in the template so someone who has the template, with a powerful enough computer, could eventually crack this encryption.

  • Do not store - The credentials are not stored in the template and will have to be re-entered each time the template is opened. The credentials are held in memory while the template is open so the credentials will not have to be re-entered each time you hit the data source.

Debug settings

Only turn this on if instructed to do so by Windward tech support.

  • none - debugging is disabled.
  • Log Reports - debugging is turned on and actively logging information to the log file.

Hidden Options

Data Sources

  • UpdateTagsOnDatasourceRename - When renaming a data source normally each tag needs to be visited to update it to the new data source name.  With this setting set to true, this will happen automatically as soon as you rename a data source.
    • true - renames all tag data source references upon renaming a data source.
    • false - does not update any tag data source references upon renaming a data source.
    • Not Set - nothing is affected when a data source is renamed.


  • KeepPODBinOpen - Always keeps the POD Bin open regardless of other operations
    • true - keeps the POD Bin always open.
    • false - closes the POD Bin during normal operations.
  • UsePODStylesWhenInserting - Uses POD styles encoded in the POD when inserting the POD into the template.
    • true - Will apply the encoded POD style to the POD upon insertion into the template.
    • false - Will insert the POD into the template without applying any styling.