Create an OL Connect template from a Word document

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In many projects the design and content of an OL Connect template starts in a third-party application. A typical starting point is Microsoft Word. An example is the content of a letter which in some scenarios includes images, local formatting, and mail merge fields.

This article explains three ways to start an OL Connect print template based on a Word document. Let’s have a closer look at these approaches.

Copy and Paste

Copying content from Word and then pasting it into a section of your OL Connect template is probably the first approach one would try. Although this is the quickest way to bring in content, it also copies over a lot of extra code which makes it harder to apply formatting and make content conditional. This code is not directly visible to the user but reveals itself when switching to the Source view.


  1. Fastest way to import most of your Word content.
  2. Creates conditional content and adds placeholders for variable data fields using standard OL Connect methods.


  1. Initial formatting does not match the Word content.
  2. Images are not copied over.
  3. Mail merge fields are added as static text.
  4. HTML source code typically contains a lot of extra code. Not much of a problem for most users but makes it hard to modify/optimize content for users familiar with HTML source code editing.

PDF background

Nowadays it is easy to save Word files to PDF. OL Connect Designer provides the ability to create a template from a PDF. This option automatically inserts a page for each page in the PDF and works with PDF files created from other applications too. Subsequently add absolute positioned boxes for your personalized content. These elements are placed in front of the PDF image and can also be used to mask/overlay possible mail merge fields/placeholders.

To create a print template based on a PDF file:

  1. Open your document in Word and choose: File > Export > Create PDF.
  2. Launch OL Connect Designer and choose: File > New > PDF-based Print Template.
  3. Select the PDF and click Finish.
  4. Load the data and add one or more absolute positioned boxes for your personalized content.


  1. The document looks exactly like the Word document.


  1. Content is static and cannot be conditionally shown or hidden.
  2. You will need to mask/overlay mail merge fields by adding an absolute position box or remove these fields in Word before creating the PDF file.

Word import

The Word-based Print Template wizard was introduced in OL Connect Designer 2022. It lets the user select a .docx file on disk, after which the application determines the page size and margins for the new template. The contents of the Word file are added to the first section in the document. Possible images are written to the Images folder and a base stylesheet is added to the Stylesheets panel.

The end result may not perfectly match the original Word document but it will definitely kickstart the creation of your new template. Designers familiar with Word content will be delighted with clean HTML content, which can be verified in the Source view.

In case of a Word mail merge document the placeholders are translated to their equivalent in OL Connect. The data model and scripts are automatically created based on the markers in the Word file.


  1. Reads the page size and margins of the Word file.
  2. Adds images to the Images resources.
  3. Writes style rules to a CSS stylesheet file.
  4. Creates clean HTML source.
  5. Imports mail merge fields, converts this to a data model and generates the accompanying User scripts.
  6. Create conditional content and add placeholders for variable data fields using standard OL Connect methods.


  1. Initial formatting will not fully match the Word content.
  2. Editing CSS stylesheets is not for everyone.

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