What do you mean you don't read HDA?

For any WebCenter Content or Records administrator who's done any customizing or troubleshooting of the server has undoubtedly run across an .hda (HDA) file.  A HDA file is proprietary data structure in ASCII text files used by WebCenter Content.  Why HDA and not some other format such as XML? Well, I'll have to leave that argument for the developers as to the benefits of one over the other.  But one thing is clear...while it may be very fast and easy for a computer to parse and read HDA, it's not so easy for humans. Sure, the LocalData section is easy with its name-value pairs, but try reading a result set with 75 attributes and it becomes a bit more difficult. Thanks to the advent of the IsPageDebug=1 option, handling HDA from the server is now easier to read.  But for those files directly on the server, they are still a challenge.

To make it easier to read (and edit) HDA files, Lee Klement, one of our illustrious Senior Principal Instructors in Oracle University, wrote an Excel spreadsheet macro to do just that.  He created it over 10 years ago, but the format has stayed the same so it works just as well as it did the day it came out (for all the old timers out there, you'll see references to Xpedio in there).

HDA Utility

I was recently working with an Oracle consultant on a project when he mentioned the frustration of reading the HDA files coming out of the Archiver and thinking about writing an Excel Macro for reading them. That's when I handed him a copy of Lee's wonderful spreadsheet and made his day. Figuring others out there could benefit from this tool, Lee gave me the OK to share it here.

After opening the spreadsheet, the primary worksheet has instructions on how to open and save the HDA files.   And as with other sample components offered here, it's available as-is.


I've also written an hda editor for eclipse, see : https://bitbucket.org/ciprian_iancu/com.virtual7.ucm.hdaeditor/src/8bf8a0ef4d1c/release/plugins

Just drag and drop in you eclipse plugin folders and restart your eclipse.

Posted by Ciprian N. Iancu on February 27, 2012 at 05:37 AM CST #

I downloaded Lee Klement's Excel spreadsheet. In the Readme accompanying the spreadsheet it is mentioned that the "Functionality of the workbook is accessed through a custom menu inhe standard Excel menubar, 'HDA Utils'." To open the macro, I have to go to the Review tab an choose Unprotect Sheet, but I am prompted for a password. Can you share that password?

Posted by John Schuster on March 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM CDT #

Hey John,

There shouldn't be any need to unprotect the worksheet in order to get the macro to run. That is simply keeping the readme sheet in place. You should be able to simply enable macros in Excel in order to use it. I can run and edit the macro without the need to unprotect the readme sheet. Do you have other Excel files that have custom macros that add menu items you could test with?


Posted by guest on March 16, 2012 at 11:06 AM CDT #


Macros aren't too popular around here, so I don't havething to test with. When I downloaded Lee's workbook there was a "Security Warning --Macros have been disabled". I opened the Options button accompanying the warning and enabled the content. I still didn't see "HDA Utils" in the Excel menubar.

I assume Lee's workbook has been upgraded to the version of Excel no in use. I have Excel 2007.

Can you suggest anything else I might try?

Since the days of IntraDoc, I've dreamed of a utility to handle HDA files. To be so close to having one is exciting!

Posted by John Schuster on March 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM CDT #


Thanks for all your help getting over my initial hurdles with this utility. I've been working with the utility to the exclusion of nearly all else since my last post.

The reason for my intense focus is that after manipulating HDA files with a text editor for over ten years, I can't help but feel this utility would be of great value in migrating instances of Stellent, as old as 6.2, to Oracle WebCenter Content.

So, I ask you, or any readers of this blog, if you have experience using this utility to that end?

By the way, I've documented details of using this blog. If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to share it.

Posted by John Schuster on March 28, 2012 at 07:30 AM CDT #

One thing to watch out for when using this utility. If you modify any data and save to HDA, the file created by the utility will not contain the HDA version line. It is the first line of the file and looks similar to this:

<?hda version="11gR1-" jcharset=UTF8 encoding=utf-8?>

Simply refer to your source HDA file and add it manually.


Posted by guest on January 17, 2013 at 03:16 PM CST #

There is a chrome extension as well to read HDA..


Posted by guest on April 05, 2013 at 05:59 AM CDT #

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Kyle Hatlestad is a Solution Architect in the WebCenter Architecture group (A-Team) who works with WebCenter Content and other products in the WebCenter & Fusion Middleware portfolios. The WebCenter A-Team blog can be found at: https://blogs.oracle.com/ ateam_webcenter/


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