Extend the fixed-format export feature in Word Automation Services

Extend Word Automation Services in Microsoft Office 2013 to replace the library used by the fixed-format export feature.

Introduction to the Word file conversion service fixed-format export feature

This article describes how to extend the fixed-format export feature of Word Automation Services to use different fixed-format export DLLs, so third-party developers can replace those provided by Microsoft. This mechanism requires and extends the Office client fixed-format extensibility COM interface. For more information, see Extending the Office 2007 Fixed-Format Export Feature.


Word Automation Services allows third-party developers to replace either or both of the fixed format outputs supported:

  • PDF

  • XPS

To replace each format, the DLL must be located in the same directory as the core library (Sword.dll) for Word Automation Services (install path: <<install root>>\WebServices\ConversionService\Bin\Converter\), and must have the specific file name specified in table 1.

Table 1. File names for fixed-format export DLLs

Format File Name


The DLL must export a method with the following signature.

HRESULT HrGetDocExporter (
IMsoDocExporter **ppimde,
IMsoServerFileManagerSite *psfms,
PFNKeepAlive pfnKeepAlive

The function requires the DLL to supply two interfaces and a method pointer, described in the following section.

If the function returns failure the service will not fall back to the Microsoft-provided exporter. Instead, the service will report the conversion as having failed.


The IMsoDocExporter interface is identical to the existing interface documented on MSDN. For more information, see Extending the Office 2007 Fixed-Format Export Feature. When the previous method returns success, this interface performs the conversion.

Beyond the requirements described in the aforementioned article, developers of fixed-format export DLLs must be aware that the service can call the provided IMsoDocExporter on a different thread from the one on which the service called HrGetDocExporter. The DLL must be able to handle this without marshalling the call back to the thread that called HrGetDocExporter, because the service does not run a message pump and the marshaled call will never get through (resulting in a hang and subsequent failure).


The IMsoServerFileManagerSite interface is defined as follows.

#define INTERFACE  IMsoServerFileManagerSite
STDMETHOD_(BOOL, FGetHandle) (const WCHAR *pwzFileName, HANDLE *phFile, BOOL fRead, BOOL fWrite) PURE;

This interface exposes the following methods.

Table 2. Methods exposed by the IMsoServerFileManagerSite interface

Gets a file handle.
Releases a file handle.

This interface does not inherit from IUnknown. Accordingly, the fixed-format export DLL is allowed to keep a reference to it for its lifetime.


The fixed-format export DLL calls this function to get file handles to write to. It must not try to open files through any other mechanism because the service runs in a highly restricted environment without access to most places in the file system.

BOOL FGetHandle (
const WCHAR *pwzFile,
HANDLE *phFile,
BOOL fRead,
BOOL fWrite

Table 3. FGetHandle parameters

Specifies the name of the file the fixed-format export DLL wants to open. This must not be a full file path—it must specify only a file name (for example, Output.pdf).
Specifies the handle to the specified file, if the file is opened successfully. The fixed-format export DLL can then use this HANDLE in normal file operations until it closes it by calling the FCloseHandle method.
Specifies whether the file is to be opened with read access.
Specifies whether the file is to be opened with write access. This function returns TRUE to indicate success and FALSE to indicate failure.


The fixed-format export DLL calls this function to close file handles obtained through calls to the FGetHandle method.

BOOL FCloseHandle (
HANDLE phFile,

The phFile parameter specifies the handle to the file to be closed. If the value returned by this method is 0, the operation failed. All other values indicate success.


When the fixed-format export DLL is active, it must call the KeepAlive function at regular intervals (configurable by the administrator) to prevent the service from assuming that the fixed-format export DLL is hung and terminating the process.

typedef void (*PFNKeepAlive)(void)

Additional resources

For more information, see the following resources: