Skip to main content

Change the Associated Datasource


If you have an established template and want to change the datasource that it's currently connected to to another datasource, it is possible. However, the process can be complex, so be sure to use a copy of your template so that you have your initial one to fall back on if you need to try the process again. 


This is an article geared towards advanced AutoTag users. 


  • If you have not been using a data source nickname with your template, you will need to establish a nickname in order to complete the steps below.
  • This is not recommended for templates that are already using multiple data sources. 
  • If you do not use a copied version of your template and your original template becomes unusable, there is nothing that the Windward Support Team can do to help undo the changes. You will need to try and revert to a different version of that file. Here's an article on restoring previous versions of a file.


Under the Covers

  • AutoTag uses data source nicknames to connect to your data when you output. If you do not have a nickname for your data source, Windward creates one called "no name given" in order to run our code.
  • You cannot have 2 data sources with the same nickname. This will become important as you try and change data sources. 
  • If you want to change the data source associated with your tags, the easiest option is to delete the Connection in your connection editor, then create a new data source connection and give the new one the same name as the previous connection which you just deleted (instructions below). When you hit the Update button, your tags will be updated. 


Using the AutoTag Ribbon Drop Down

If you have only a few tags (say 5 or less) it's very easy to use the drop down to change the associated data source.

  • Create a new data source connection (so that you have 2 active data sources)
  • Tag by Tag, select a tag, then use the drop down in the ribbon to choose the new data source. 
  • Make sure to save your template, then go into the Connection Editor and disconnect from your original data source. Save again. 
  • Try to Output to see if your changes worked correctly.

Using the Connection Editor

The next easiest option is to use the Connection editor. Make sure to try this with a copy of your original template.

  • This is a good option for larger templates that have only one data source associated.
  • This option is good for organizations that will not be using the original data source in any other templates.


IMPORTANT! Basically, you will delete the Connection in your connection editor, then create a new data source connection and give the new one the same name as the previous connection which you just deleted. When you hit the Update button, your tags will be updated. Note that in this option, your must change the nickname of your previous data source -- so if you have other templates that are using that original data source and data source nickname, the connections will be broken. The connection editor will only accept 1 data source connection per unique nickname.  

  • In your copied template, open the Connection Editor and write down the name (case matters) of your current data source. Disconnect from that data source and delete it.
  • Create a new data source connection and give it the nickname that you wrote down.
  • Click Test to make sure it's a good connection, then Add, and then Update. After it updates, click close.
    • You may be prompted with a popup to update all the tags in the document. Click yes, then after it is done, click Close in the Connection Editor. 
  • Try to Output to see if your changes worked correctly.



Converting your tags into Text Tags

In Word you can use a keyboard shortcut: ALT+F9.You can follow the steps below and easily use the Find/Replace tool.


In Excel, this is a somewhat lengthy process and is not recommended.

  • This is good for organizations where the original data source is used in other templates, making it so that the data source nickname cannot be changed. 
  • Your tags must already have a data source nickname associated with each tag. If you do not already have a working template with nicknames, this option will not work.
  • This option can be used to update certain tags if you have multiple data sources in that template.


This process takes you through converting your tags into text tags, then using MS Office's Find/Replace tool to substitute the old nickname for the new nickname

Step 1

In your copied template, create a new data source connection and give it a new nickname. Make sure to test it and then close. Save your template. 


Step 2

  • In the AutoTag Manager Tab, find an click the Clean Template button. You may be asked to save the template. 
  • In the popup interface, move your mouse so that you are on the greyed out Text button. Then, all at the same time, Rightclick and press the shift key to make the option available. Click to select it, then hit the Clean button.
  • Your template will now appear with your tags all as long strings of text in the places that they are normally. Don't worry, we'll convert it back to the nice looking 'field' style tags at the end!(You can actually output successfully even when the tags look like this)


Step 3

  • Use MS Office's Find/Replace tool to replace all the instances of your old data source nickname with the new data source nickname that you just created. 
    • All you need to do is search for the exact nickname and replace all instances with the new data source nickname. In both cases, the nicknames must exactly match what you entered in the connection editor, so case does matter.
    • Save your template, and test by Outputting. If the Output is correct, go to step 4 to reconvert your template back to the normal look. 
    • If your Output was not correct, you'll need to figure out what went wrong and possibly try again using another copy of the original template.


Step 4

  • If you were able to Output successfully, use Clean Template again. In the popup interface, use the settings that are already there and simply hit Clean.
  • Once your template looks normal again, save and test the Output. 
  • If your Output is correct, pat yourself on the back-- you're an AutoTag WHIZ!