Frequently Asked Questions


Why Waterwoo?

First of all, if you’re very concerned about security you should be using WooCommerce to distribute your PDFs because it collects more information from customers during checkout, even with free files. Plugins such as Easy Digital Downloads will only collect a name and an email, even if a product is sold, and so that is all that can be stamped. WooCommerce allows you to collect name, email address, phone number, business name, and more.

WaterWoo has a further edge on ALL other watermarking plugins in that it offers two watermarking positions on the page. That means on each page you can have a header AND a footer, or a header and an overlay, or an overlay and a footer, or one or the other — it’s up to you! What further sets WaterWoo apart is that positioning on the page is fine tune-able – you can put the watermark absolutely anywhere you want on the page. Other plugins limit watermark placement to specific quadrants of the page, but WaterWoo will watermark anywhere on the page – and with two separate watermarks if desired.

WaterWoo has a ton more leverage in robust yet easy-to-understand backend settings. These settings will help you get your files watermarked exactly how you need them – on a per file basis. You can have a different watermark – different text, different font, different colors – for every file in your catalog should you desire. It’s still a lightweight plugin that operates quickly on most file sizes. You won’t believe it’s not magic.

Actually… WaterWoo is magic.

Why doesn’t the first page get watermarked?2018-08-02T11:43:09+00:00

If your watermarking is skipping the first page, maybe the parser (TCPDI) is not reading that page as part of the document. Is it possible the cover page was added as an afterthought? The cover page must be reintegrated into the PDF source code, and often this can be done by removing it, adding it back in, and saving the file as a PDF.

I recommend using a PDF viewer such as Apple Preview to delete the cover page, save, then drag and drop the cover page back into place from another open version of the same file, then ‘Export as PDF’ to save it. This should help smooth out any problematic PDF syntax issues. Similar work can be done using Adobe Acrobat; Preview is just simpler. For PC, you can try Foxit.

What shortcodes are available?2018-01-02T10:05:07+00:00

Simple shortcodes

Shortcodes available are [FIRSTNAME] [LASTNAME] [BUSINESSNAME] [EMAIL] [PHONE] [ORDERNUMBER]. Additional, special shortcodes are described below. Using these as placeholders in the footer or overlay input fields, WaterWoo will magically replace them with the customer’s values upon download. Use square brackets and all caps.

Product quantity shortcode

To add in the number of a product purchased, you can use the [PRODUCT-##] shortcode, where ## is replaced with the Product ID. product ID is like a WordPress post ID, but for products. You can find the product ID listed underneath the product title on your main WooCommerce Products listing page (hover over the desired product title to see the ID listed clearly for you), or by hovering over the product title and looking at the browser status bar (lower screen, look for the number after “post=”). This must be an item found in the cart in order to work. This shortcode will not work with the testing feature.

With version 3.0 of WooCommerce, the # in this shortcode becomes a wildcard. No more need to match it up with the product that might be in the cart at some point. Use [PRODUCT-#] [PRODUCT-##] or [PRODUCT-###] as a shortcode (you get the idea). It will be replaced by the number purchased of the file downloaded.

Date shortcode

[DATE] can be used as-is, and will insert the order date.

To add a future date marked from the date of purchase, you can use the [DATE-#YRS] [DATE-#MOS] [DATE-#WKS] [DATE-#DAYS] shortcode, where # is replaced with the number of days/months/weeks/years desired. This shortcode is based on 30-day months, and 365-day years, so it might be best to use days if you need precision.

Inline CSS styles

To style a link (<a>) or tag when using HTML, the following inline CSS options are available: font-style:italic, font-weight:bold, and text-align:center and text-align:right. This feature allows you to center text.

Here’s an example of the code you could use to center some bold text in your watermark:
<span style="text-align: center; font-weight: bold;">center some bold text</span>

This might also work:
<span style="text-align: center"><strong>center some bold text</strong></span>

Opacity shortcode

With version 1.7.2 comes a shortcode for creating transparency. This is very helpful for people not wanting to obscure their PDF content, since the watermark sits on top.

{OPAC-0.5}This is sample text{/OPAC}

“This is sample text” will be at 50% transparency.

{OPAC-0.1}This is very transparent text{/OPAC}

“This is very transparent text” will be at 10% transparency.

Note there is an open tag and a close tag around the text. If text does not wrap when using this tag, you may have to use tags.

I am getting an error message2018-01-31T18:09:09+00:00

Ack! That’s horrible. Please let us know right away!

Uncaught exception ‘InvalidArgumentException’ with message ‘Cannot open’…”

If you get this error while trying to watermark or test watermark a file, it is likely because your filename uses unsafe characters like spaces in the PDF file name. Replace spaces with dashes or underscores or remove them.

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of n bytes exhausted

If you get this error, please refer to “Recommendations” in the plugin documentation.

I can’t activate my API License key2018-01-29T12:04:46+00:00

An API key is not necessary for the plugin to have full watermarking functionality, so don’t panic.

The first thing to make sure is, is your API key less than a year old? They last one year, then must be renewed. Renewals are 50% off, just make sure you’re logged into your account before buying for the discount to show. You can find out more on your account at Secondly, your API key is entered under WordPress Settings->WaterWoo License. It is not found in the WooCommerce or WaterWoo settings.

where to find waterwoo license settings

WaterWoo License settings are located in the WordPress “Settings” panel

waterwoo license key activation page

Activation/Deactivation tabs for WaterWoo

There is also an option to deactivate a license, which can be used if you want to move it to another domain, or just to reset.

It doesn’t seem to work.2018-01-02T09:58:37+00:00

First make sure you have checked the box at the top of your settings page (Woocommerce -> Settings -> Watermark) so that watermarking is enabled! If you’re not using Global watermarking settings, make sure watermarking is enabled at the product level.

If your watermark contains characters that aren’t in Windows-1252, set “Déjà Vu” as your watermarking font. This would include the types of characters seen in French and Polish, for example. When in doubt, please try Déjà Vu.

Maybe make sure your original file name doesn’t contain spaces. Replace blank spaces with dashes or underscores and keep file names simple. This isn’t usually the cause of problems, though.

Make sure your uploaded PDF file is not already encrypted/passworded. WaterWoo needs full access to the PDF guts to do its magic!

Some PDF files are mildly corrupted. Re-saving them with Apple Preview or Adobe Acrobat can help clean them up so WaterWoo can do its job. If we find that your PDF is the problem and not WaterWoo, it is up to you to repair your PDF.

Will WaterWoo PDF watermark images?2018-01-02T09:57:32+00:00

WaterWoo PDF is intended to watermark PDF (.pdf) files. If you are specifically looking to watermark image files (.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .etc), you may want to look into a plugin such as Image Watermark.

You can; however, watermark on PDFs with transparent (GIF, PNG) images. Image width and height must be indicated when using an tag in your watermark input. Use the full image path (not a URL) for more reliable results.

Where do the watermarked files go?2018-01-02T09:56:17+00:00

They are generated with a unique name and stored in the same folder as your original WordPress/Woo product media upload (usually wp-content/uploads/year/month/file). The unique name includes the order number and a time stamp. If your end user complains of not being able to access their custom PDF for some reason (most often after their max number of downloads is exceeded), you can find it in that folder, right alongside your original.

Test PDFs are stored in the test PDF folder (wp-content/plugins/waterwoo-pdf-premium/assets/pdf). As of WaterWoo version 1.8 test PDFs can be wiped off the server with the touch of a button on the Global settings screen.

If a customer has trouble generating a PDF, make sure they have download permissions on their order. If you’re still having trouble, use the Test Run feature.

My watermark isn’t English2018-01-02T09:55:23+00:00

Select the “Deja Vu,” “Furat,” or “M Sung” font in the Settings panel if your language uses accent characters. To see if your language will be watermark-able with the Deja Vu font, view this chart. Select Furat for Arabic script, or M Sung for Chinese. Right to Left (RTL) watermarking is possible with WaterWoo.

A primary reason watermarks do not show up is when the watermark contains special characters but a font which doesn’t support those characters is in use.

Why does the watermark go off the page, create new pages?2018-08-02T11:40:22+00:00

Your watermark text string is too big or long for the page! FPDF is a little dumb, and created a blank page trying to accommodate the overflowing text.

Try decreasing font size, adjusting margins, adjusting rotation, or using the X and Y fine tuners to move the watermark back onto the page. The built-in adjustments on the settings page ultimately allow for watermarking on all document sizes. You may need to edit your watermark if it is too verbose.

How do I test my watermark?2018-01-02T09:51:00+00:00

The Premium version of Waterwoo allows on-the-fly manual creation of watermarked PDFs on the settings page. Look for the Test Run feature under WooCommerce -> Settings -> Watermark, fill in the settings you want, and go!

An alternative is a trickier way: creating a coupon in your Woocommerce shop to allow 100% free purchases. Don’t share this coupon code with anyone! Test your watermark by purchasing PDFs from your shop using the coupon. Once you have purchased the file once, delete your coupon and you can test your changes from your “” screen as long as your download privileges remain valid.

Where do I change watermark settings?2018-01-02T10:15:48+00:00

You can find the WaterWoo settings page by

  • navigating to the WooCommerce -> Settings -> Watermark tab, — or —
  • clicking on the “Settings” link under the WaterWoo PDF plugin title on your WordPress plugins panel

Individual product (simple and variable) settings are all located on the Products editor screens, on the same screen panel where you edit product price and inventory.

Does this work for ePub/Mobi files or .XYZ (not .PDF)?2018-01-02T09:48:06+00:00

No, this plugin watermarks PDF file types only.

Do I have to use WooCommerce for this to work?2018-01-02T09:46:38+00:00

Yes. WaterWoo watermarks PDFs sold through the WooCommerce WordPress e-commerce platform. Custom watermarking data is culled from the checkout form, e.g. customer name, email, telephone number etc.