Can I use Word/Excel 2003?

At this time, we only support .DOCX and .XLSX files. Office 2003 formats (.doc and .xls) are not supported. We also don't support Word .dotx files and .xlsm, these are special Word/Excel templating files.


Can I reduce the file size of the generated PDF/Word/Excel? Why is the file size of my generated PDF file bigger than if I used 'Save As PDF' direct from Word/Excel?

Our PDF generation is done by 3rd party component, and so we don't have any clear reason for why the file size is bigger. To shrink the file size we suggest compressing any static embedded images in the template. This can be done in Word by following these steps.

Ultimately every generation component is different in terms of how it converts Word document contents. It's possible that our component will generate smaller files than the other programs given a different source Word/Excel file.

Can I use XLSX or DOCX files created in Open Office as data templates? Can I use Open Office to open XLSX or DOCX files generated by the platform?

We currently support Microsoft Office tools, specifically Word and Excel. This applies to the DOCX and XLSX files uploaded as templates as well as any DOCX or XLSX files generated by the platform. Open Office and other Office alternatives are not officially supported, though you may find these tools work in certain situations. Please note that we do not support any issues you encounter due to use of a non-Office tool.


My generated docx output does not open in Word, giving errors such as 'unreadable content' or 'file is corrupt and cannot be opened'.

The issue is likely due to the dotx template being used in your Word data template. This means that your Word doc is linked to an inaccessible dotx file, usually located on your personal PC or on a network drive. The dotx file is obviously not available to the MESH platform when it generates the file and naturally is not found when you open the Word output file on another machine. You will need to clear the dotx template of your Word file, which will let the Word file default to the standard 'Normal' dotx template.

To do so, follow the steps:

1. Display the Developer tab in the Word ribbon, and navigate to it.

2. Click the Document Template tool. Word will display the Templates and Add-Ins dialog box.

3. Clear whatever text is found in the Document Template field, even if it says 'Normal'.

4. Click OK to reset the Word doc to have no required/attached dotx.

5. Close the dialog and save your Word template.

When opening my generated xlsx output in Excel, I get errors such as 'Excel found unreadable content. Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook?'

This issue is likely due to the placement of static images within repeatstart and repeatend tags in your Excel data template. The images may not have been located and formatted correctly within a cell or cell range correctly. Follow the steps below to correct the placement of static images within your repeat sections:

1. Remove the static image from the repeatstart section (ensure you have made a backup first).

2. Un-merge any merged cells where the image was placed.

3. Select a single cell where you would like the image to be placed and then insert the image.

4. Once inserted, right click on the image and select 'Format Picture', then check move and size with cells

5. You can then merge and re-size the cells behind the image as required.

6. Save and re-upload your excel template.

Why does my Excel template generate PDF outputs that have parts cut off/missing?

There are several possible causes for this, most common being you have specified a custom page area in your Excel template file which cuts off your generated contents. Our PDF renderer will obey your defined printable page area, excluding any content outside the defined page.

To diagnose this as the problem:

1. Open your template in Excel.

2. Turn on the Page Break Preview by going to View, and then selecting Page Break Preview. You will now see solid blue lines around your defined page area. You may want to unhide any hidden columns this fully.

3. Notice where the solid blue lines outline, and more importantly check to see if any part of your content or placeholder statements are outside the defined box. If so, this is the likely cause of your issue.

4. To fix an incorrectly defined page or print area, simply update your template Excel file to clear this defined page area. Do this by going to Page Layout, Print Area, Clear Print Area.

5. Save your fixed template and upload it to our platform. Your subsequent PDF outputs should generate as expected thereafter.


Avoiding cut-off of repeating sections

In repeating sections that contain images in your report output, it can be difficult to prevent images being cut over pages. This is mainly because the images could be landscape or portrait in nature. This variability means it is difficult to predict the height of the incoming images.

Try to ensure that the chosen cell height you assign to the image fields are a factor of the page height, e.g. ensure that 2 x image cell height adds up to exactly the typical printed page height. This way, if you had 3 rows of images, then 2 rows would fit into the first page exactly and the 3rd row would go onto the next page without any image cut-off.

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