I have created a workflow that uses the Update Document action to update plain text content controls in a Word document. The controls are set to allow editing and I have also tried setting the option that remove the content control on edit.
For documents that are generated using the template & workflow the contents of the content control cannot be edited. I cannot place a cursor inside the text...it highlights as a single large block.
If I edit the template manually I can edit the contents as would be expected.
It seems that controls populated by the workflow action are effectively read only.
Should that be the case? Has anyone else experienced this and is aware of a resolution?
could you provide a screenshot of how you update the placeholders? Generally they shouldn't be read only.
I faced problems updating placeholders when their name contains blanks or other special characters. Might that be the cause of your error too?
There is only really one approach to do this. I use the Update Document action to pass text into my plain text control (WB1)
My document is generated and the text in WB1 cannot be edited. It can all be deleted, but only all of the text at the same time. I cannot place a cursor in the text, the whole block highlights as one entity.
Compare this to when I update the same template manually (not using the workflow action) and paste in the same text. I can happily do that, edit the content, add, delete etc.
The control properties do not prohibit edit, as the above proves:
I can confirm that content controls are not editable after being filled by a workflow. Never noticed that before.
As there is not much influence that could be taken with the tools I'd assume this behaviour is by design. You could raise a feature request at user voice. I'd support it.
This is a Microsoft word functionality, you have to get the Design Mode under Developer tab activated for you to be able to edit the text within the control.
Hope this helps.
I would not say this is a Word functionality...because if this content control is edited by opening the template and working as normal (not updated by the workflow), the control remains editable at all times. It is only when populated by a workflow that this occurs.
I can see that what you have suggested works. But is not necessarily a nice solution. Most users do not have the Developer tab on the ribbon switched on by default - in Office the default is typically that it is not shown. I think some users will not be particularly comfortable with this.
It is more likely I will tell them to copy then paste text for the content control then delete the original content control.
Hey Barry Cairns,
did you ever find a solution for this problem? We have the same problem in a project.
While Design Mode approach works it's hard for users to achieve as none of them will have the developer tab activated and if feels a bit off to just update text.
No, unfortunately I never did get a solution. I raised it with support who suggested that this is the way it is supposed to work...I can't think of any good reason why that would be the case!
Our only workaround was to tell the users to copy / paste the content outside the control, make their required edits and then delete the content control. Not an elegant solution at all.
I know this is an old thread, but I stumbled upon what may be a fix (at least it worked for me). It seems that if you have only placeholder text in the content control, then the workflow replaces the placeholder text with your workflow variable. Placeholder for placeholder means you can't edit the text freely without going into developer mode.
If you enter a value into the control before uploading it as a template instead of using the placeholder text, the content control is editable as normal.
I figured this out after having it work on one library I created a while back but not on a new one I was creating and it vexed me for about a week before I noticed the difference between the two docs.
We solve this problem by converting the Word .docx document to a Word .doc document, then back to .docx. This gets rid of the content controls and form fields, but leaves the data intact and is fully editable.