Hackpad FAQ

Please add new questions to the very bottom.

Is there a way to create a new pad via URL? 

You can go to "hackpad.com/some name" to create a pad named "some name". It will not, however, have the URL "hackpad.com/some name". There is no way to pick the exact URL of  Pad (it will always be followed by a unique string of characters).

Permissions and privacy

Will my data always be safe?  

Yes. We are building an organization that respects your data, your ideas, and your privacy. We facilitate continued development and support of Hackpad by providing corporate document solutions to small and medium business customers.

  • How can I change the Settings of my Pad? 
  • Click the green icon to the left of the Pad title to select your desired privacy setting. 

    Does the privacy setting of my Collection impact the privacy of my Pads? 

    No. Collections are labels, and the privacy setting of a Collection does not impact the visibility or edibility of the Pads within it. sFor example, if on your Public Workspace, you have 3 Public Pads in an invitee-only Collection entitled "Group Outings", all of the Pads will be discoverable, readable and editable publicly, and the existence of this Collection will only be known to those who are invited to it.   

    Where is edit history? How can I roll back changes made to my Pad? 

    It’s linked as "View History" and accessible under the Gear icon at the top right of all Pad pages.  Click the "Revert" link next to any historical snapshot to revert the Pad to that state.

    Can anyone I’ve shared a pad with delete the Pad’s contents permanently? 

    As the pad’s owner, you can revert the Pad to a previous version after an edit is made. If you own a Pad, you can control contributions by locking it, so that any changes must be approved by you. This is called Moderation mode. Just click the lock at bottom of any pad you’ve created to activate this feature. 


    Can anyone edit my pads or only those whom I invited to it? 

    It depends on the "Shared with" setting. 

    If set to "Invitees only," only people invited can edit. markdown

    For "anyone with the link" or "everyone (public)" pads, anyone can edit. 

    The default setting for a new Pad on the hackpad.com public Workspace is "anyone with the link", which means the Pad is not indexed by Google (unless you share a link that is pasted on a public blog/site, in which case Google WILL follow the link and crawl the Pad). We suggest that you keep all sensitive data in "invitee only" Pads to ensure security. 

    The default setting for a new Pad on a private Workspace is "shared with workspace members". 

    Can I create "a private pad" by granting access to a select few collaborators, or no one except me? 

    Yep! Just click under "shared with" and select "invitees only."

  • What kind of access is "anyone with the link"? 
  • "Anyone with the link" gives those with who have the URL the ability to read and edit only that Pad. Pads that are set to "anyone with the link" are not indexed by Google. 

    If I create a new pad linked from an existing one, do the permissions carry over to the new pad? 

    Yup. When creating a new Pad within a Parent pad, the child Pad inherit invitees, followers, and "Shared with" permissions from the parent Pad. 

  • For "everyone" and "anyone with the link" pads is there any spam comment protection? 
  • We have a strong user model, meaning editors must either login with Facebook, Google or using a verified email address before they can make  changes.  If it becomes an issue, you can also always activate Moderation on the pad so that all changes require approval.

    Are "everyone (public)" and "anyone with link" pages indexed by search engines? 

    Only "everyone (public)" Pads are exposed to Google. 

  • Is there a way to change the default behavior of new Pads in a Site or at least set them all to "anyone with the link"? 
  • No, not currently. 

    Can I change the owner of a pad? 

    You cannot change the owner of a Pad. The best solution is to copy and paste the text to a new Pad you’ve created.

    Is it possible to share an entire Collection instead of each separate Pad? 

    Yep! Just click on the Collection name, and on the page that pops up, you should see an "invite people to Collection" box. You can type them in one by one, or paste a whole list of people/email addresses, separated by commas.

  • How to access Hackpad linked to old Gmail account which I have as a secondary email?
  • Just send us an email at support@hackpad.com

    Login question

  • Why do you ask to "Manage my Google Contacts" when I sign up via Google or "Manage my Facebook Contacts" when I sign up via Facebook?
  • The only reason we ask for this permission is to make it easy to invite teammates to your Hackpad using their first and last names. We take your privacy very seriously and use this data for no other reason outside of autosuggesting email addresses. We make no changes to your contacts, and agree that the "manage" language is misleading. Nevertheless, it is dictated by Google/Facebook and is outside of our control. 

    Is it possible to log in with OpenID? Is this feature planned? 

    Not currently. 3 auth schemes is already too many!

    Account settings

  • How do I set my profile picture?     
  • Login with Facebook or Google and we’ll use that profile picture. You can set your own by clicking your name at top of the Workspace nav pane (expand by clicking the three horizontal lines at the top left), clicking your email address, and on your Profile page, selecting "Change profile photo."

    How frequently does HackPad email pad followers? 

    Something like 2followers minutes, capped at 60 minutes.  This means that the frequency is reduced the more people are following a pad, so it depends.

    How can I change the subscription settings so that all of the viewers of a pad don’t receive email updates for every little modification? 

    Email updates are under the control of the recipient, not the person who makes the edits. So if a recipient doesn’t want to receive further updates it’s easy unsubscribe from within the email they receive.

  • How do I cancel/delete my account?
  • We can do that for you - just send an email to support@hackpad.com.


    Is there a full list of keyboard shortcuts available? 

    Yes, they are all listed on the How to use Hackpad tutorial. 

  • How can I format my text, like text size or centering text? 
  • You can alter text size using headings. You cannot currently center text, but you can use Tab to position text on the page. Hover over the buttons in the edit bar to learn what each one does, and it’s keyboard shortcut. Feel free to experiment in a new Pad. 

    Media Embeds

  • Is it possible to embed html objects such as videos or maps?
  • Yes, we support a wide variety of video, image, and audio embeds. See the full list here: Hackpad Rich Media Demo


    I’ve posted a link to an image in my Hackpad but it isn’t showing up, what am I doing wrong? 

    1) Make sure the link to embed is on a line by itself

    2) Links that use a shortening service like bit.ly won’t be identified (currently). 

    3) There are known problems when embedding on Linux using Chrome (never works) and Firefox (sometimes works). We’re looking into it, sorry for the annoyance.

    If you are still having trouble embedding a link, let us know at support@hackpad.com, and include the URL that is giving you trouble if you can.

  • How can I remove an image in a Pad?
  • Highlight the line below the image through the line above and then hit delete/backspace. 


    Can Hackpad turn a word into an external hyperlink? 

    Select the phrase and then click the link button. Paste the URL and it will be transformed into a hyperlink. 

  • How do I unlink or edit a hyperlink? 
  • You would delete and recreate the link. There is currently no link-editing mechanism. 


    Can I create a pivot table with hackpad or are you planning to develop this feature? 

    Not yet, but we do support basic tables. Click the Pencil icon and then the Table in the edit bar. 

    Foreign Languages

    Is it possible to change typing direction (for Arabic writing text starts from right to left) same as text directionality controls at google docs?  

    It’s buggy currently. I’ll look into it. This will work by changing the right-click menu’s setting called Writing Direction in Chrome (Switch Text Direction in Firefox).


  • Is there a way to resize cells in a table?
  • No, not currently. We have a vision for more robust table support in the coming months, so stay tuned! 

    http://hackpadtopdf.com/Import/Export and Dropbox Sync

    How do I download a plain-text version of my Hackpad? 

    Just plug in whatever pad ID you need.  You can also download a zip file with all your pads in html format from https://hackpad.com/ep/profile


  • How can I import pads from a different site or in general xml/html files? 
  • You can currently import your Google Sites or Mediawiki on the Administrator’s "Manage this site" page under the Import/Export tab. 

  • Is there a way to download hackpad backup through the API? Ideally as a zip of pads in HTML format with internal links?
  • Artem Goutsoul, Absolutely! Read more about our API here. We don’t yet support export of inter-pad links. 

    You can export Hackpad to PDF by using http://hackpadtopdf.com/

  • How often does Hackpad sync pads to Dropbox? 
  • Hackpad syncs with Dropbox every few minutes. 

    History/recent changes

    Can I add new point in edit history (e.g. "save" button)? 

    Not yet. 

    How do I show recent changes to a page (since my last login, at least)? 

    Your Hackpad homepage shows latest changes to all pages you follow. For individual pads, you can click on the "Latest changes" link in the bottom left hand corner of the pad.

    Organizing pads

    How can I remove a pad which has become useless? 

    Only the person who started the Pad can delete it. If you’re the owner, click "Delete" under the Gear icon at the top. 

    How do I get Hackpad to show a Table of Contents on the right side?

    The Table of Contents appears automatically after you have any fully bold lines on your pad.

  • How to get a * symbol in the browser title bar next to your pad name? 
  • Insert a tab next to the title of the pad. Use case: Indicating current/pending edits

  • Is there a way to organize Collections on the homepage?  
  • No - they should list alphabetically, though, so you could get creative with naming them.

  • Is there a way to simply list all the Pads within a site?
  • The site’s homepage lists all the pads on the site (unless your Workspace Admin has elected to the Stream to display only the Pads you follow). A short-form browse view of all the pads (without the latest changes) can be activated in the toggle at the top right. 

  • Can I make a copy of a current pad in a click? Or is it a create new, copy, paste routine? 
  • Currently it’s a create new - copy - paste. 

    Can I move a Pad between Workspaces? 

    Yes! Here’s how: 

    1) Make sure that you’re viewing your Pads on the stream view and not list view. 

    2) Click the burger icon (three horizontal lines at the top left) to open the workspace navigator. 

    3) Now, find the "grabby handles" of the Pad you’d like to move (they’re a series of horizontal dots above the title, centered), and drag them to the desired workspace. 

    Voila! The collaborators.  and privacy settings of your Pad will be preserved. 

    Subdomains (Hackpad Sites)

    Is there a way to have hackpad.mydomain.com?

    Is there a way to have a third level domain (ex: foo.hackpad.com)? 

    Yep. We offer public (free) subdomains that we call Sites. Private Sites are free for up to 5 users, and $10/active user/month after that.

    Create a hackpad private Site by clicking "+ new site" at the top of http://hackpad.com after logging in, or just go to yourprojectname.hackpad.com.

    What are the advantages of a private paid Hackpad Workspace? 

    The primary benefits are:

  • Is there a way to move a Pad to a different Workspace while? I know I can copy/paste but this loses the owner, who it’s shared with, etc.
  • Absolutely! You can move an existing Pad to a new Workspace and preserve the Pad’s invited collaborators and privacy settings. 

    1) First, click the three horizontal lines at the top left to open the Workspace navigation pane. 

    2) Then, grab the Pad you’d like to migrate by clicking and holding on the lines of horizontal dots above the title, and drag it to the desired Workspace. Voila! 

  • How can I leave a subdomain that I’ve been invited to? 
  • Open the Workspace you’d like to leave. 

    Launch of Workspace navigation pane by clicking the three horizontal lines at the top left. 

    Click your email address and then select "Account Settings" in the dropdown. 

    Click the "Leave site name" button under "Site Membership". 

  • How do I delete a Site?
  • Collections

    Is it possible to share an entire Collection instead of each separate Pad? 

    Yep - You can click on the Collection name, and on the page that pops up, you should see an "Invite people to Collection" box. You can type them in one by one, or paste a whole list of people/email addresses, separated by commas.

  • So what will happen if I insert a public pad that into a Collection that is open to invitees only? Which one has priority? Will the pad will inherit the parent’s permissions? Thank you.


  • How do I remove a Pad from a Collection?
  • You can remove a Pad from a Collection on the Collection page - just use the Gear icon on the right of each Pad and select "Remove from Collection".

    Is there a way to delete a Collection? 

    Click through to the Collection page, and there is a link to delete it on the bottom right.


    Does HackPad work on iPhone/iPad and iPhones? 

    Editing HackPad works on iOS 5+ devices (iPhones and iPads both). It also works on recent versions of  Android (we’ve verified on Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.) A read-only view is available on all older versions.Etherpad 

    Tech questions

    Can I see your API?  

    Sure! Here it is: Hackpad API. Here is a blog describing version 1.0.

    How (frequently) does HackPad save? Is it after every keystroke? 

    rhinYep, sometimes every two keystrokes.

    When typing from mobile devices, the pad seems to update after each empty space.

    What is hackpad’s software stack? 

    nginx + mysql + java nio + rhino

    Why isn’t HackPad open source? 

    While we’ll consider open-sourcing hackpad in the future if it makes sense, it is currently being run as a free service for consumers with a paid version for collaborative teams and businesses. 

    Is HackPad a fork of Etherpaiced? 




    Is it possible to include syntax highlighting of a little snippet of code in a pad? 

    If you title a pad ending with a common code file extension, you’ll get syntax highlighting and a monospace font that will persist throughout the pad. Some examples: 





    Sometimes you’ll want to use both regular text and monospace formatting in a single pad. To do this, just start a new line after the paragraph of text, and hit space four times to begin monospace formatting. Hit delete at the start of a new line to exit monospace mode. 

    See Hackpad Code Syntax Highlighting for additional details and examples. 

    How can I remove a pad which has become useless? 

    Only the person who started the Pad can delete it. If you’re the owner, click Delete at the bottom right of the Pad page. 


    Is there a way for people to collaborating on the pad to chat like in Etherpad? 

    Not for now. We may introduce person-to-person chat at some point in the future. Please vote it up on Hackpad Improvement Requests if you want it sooner!


    Is the billing per "site" or per "user"? What I mean is this: Hackpad is free up to 5 users on a site. If I go over this limit, I start paying. But what if I go over this limit on two sites? Do I start paying $2 per user per site (meaning $4 for myself, for example)?

    Ask a new question here

  • How do I move an entire Collection to a new Workspace?
  • For Private Workspaces what is "Pinned Home Pad URL" setting for in the Configuration tab?  

    How can I remove a space on the iphone app that I added by mistake? I added a space that belongs to someone else and now it’s asking me to login to it, which does nothing of course, and I have no way to remove this space from my phone. I don’t see the space at all online (here).

    Can i display a list of all documents containing open [] todos (e.g. by using a special search term)?

    Will there be an opportunity with HackPad to offer the service on our own domains where we point a sub-domain to HackPad?

    Do you offer a branch of Pad? I have made a template that I’d like to use over and over (e.g. software requirement document). Copy & paste works in theory, but that brings up maintenance issue. IYoung Ha Kim Not at the moment, but thanks for the feature request! 

    Is it possible to import a Microsoft Word document to hackpad? Copy-pasting from word seems to be breaking all the formatting. 

    I love some of the city guides which are hosted, where can i find and browse through all the public pads

    Thanks for the request, Patrick Villiger! We’re working on a portal that will allow you to explore all Public pads. Stay tuned! 

    For some reason I can’t make titles. # space and then wait, does not make my title. I’m on google chrome in linux (Elementary OS).

    Jonas Ostir Sorry to hear you’re having trouble. Are you using the Vimperator or Vrome plugins, by chance? These extensions work to capture key events and do something custom, which will break  our stuff by nature. We’ve found a workaround: It turns out you can just press Shift-Esc to disable Vimperator/Vrome inside a text area (to use macros and the rest of Hackpad to it’s full extent), then insert to re-enable it. Let us know what you think! 

    Julia Kuznetsov, nor Vrome nor Vimperator are installed. I disabled every other plugin I installed and still it does not work. Any other tips or tricks I could try?

    Found the solution: changing the keyboard layout from Belgium (Azerty) to English (Querty) solved the issue..

    Do you provide educational licenses for private spaces?

    Is there a way to make a space editable by only the members, and viewable by anyone? If I’m not mistaken a place is either public (editable/viewable by all) or private (editable/viewable by the members) but I’m looking for something in between. Is this something that can be achieved with moderation? If so: it is possible to prevent new members from joining (only my students may 

    Do you have any free plan for non-profits to have private sites? 

    Can tables be used as a spreadsheet?

    Johan Deknudt We don’t currently support calculations in tables, Johan, but thanks for the feature request! 

    Is there a way to see all your workspaces at the start up window rather than the default hackpad workspace?  If not can you change the default one to be a different one and not the hackpad one?

    Viv Chamberlin-Kidd No, there is no way to set your default workspace when you enter hackpad.com into your browser window. If you would like to go directly to your workspace, we suggest creating a bookmark that will sit in your Bookmarks Bar, allowing you to reach your desired site in a single click. 

    how to use and send info to the trainer?

    Deleted a hackpad document by accident - is there a way to retrieve this back?

    Jurjen Söhne Please send us an email to support@hackpad.com and we’ll take care of you! 

    Is it possible to make a workspace public accessible (by choosing "everyone" option) but unable to create a new pad for non-members?

    Just like this official blog, we can see all pads, but we are not able to create a new pad in this blog.

    Each single pad can be "moderated", and I want to moderate the whole sub-domain.

    Yu-Ming Hsu Unfortunately we do not offer such a function. If you’d like to prevent editing, create a public site and invite people as members. Then, moderate each Pad you would like to prevent from editing. 

    Is it possible to sync Pads with Dropbox in Markdown format, and allow editing offline?

    ie. Allow two-way sync with Dropbox? And on a similar note, will there be an Android app that allows offline editing? Thanks. Ed Chadwick Not currently, but thanks for the feedback and feature request! 

    I frequently have an issue where headers aren’t created when using the hash symbols

    They’ll just appear as normal text and I have to re-create them a couple of times for them to appear correctly, or they just won’t cooperate at all.  Update: this is happening in Firefox 28.0 and a page refresh usually resolves the issue. 

    How to embed the new Google Maps (URL https://mapsengine.google.com/map/... )? 

    Filename collisions when using Dropbox sync

    I created two workspaces, and then I created a pad with the same name in both of the workspaces. The URLs for these pads, of course, have a unique character string at the end. But when these pads get synced to Dropbox, they don’t have those unique character strings and end up overwriting each other. I would have thought each workspace would gets its own sub directory under ~/Dropbox/hackpad. Is this a known problem?

    Press "End" key then insert "#" , How to Fix it ?

    I was unaware of the 5 user limit for a private site. I use hackpad for a small non-profit organization, so we currently are looking at the free option. Will reducing the amount of users remove the requirement to pay or did I just open Pandora’s box? :)

    How can I disable the bully-like autocorrect that comes with the phone app? It’s too much. It just added "ow" as I typed this question for no good reason...

    How do I archive a hackpad?  In other words, I’d like a hackpad hidden from the default view, but still accessible later, e.g. by "Show Archived Hackpads"

    It looks to me as if you call a workspace a ’site’ in some places and that this means I might need several private, paid-for sites for complex work. Can you confirm is workspace = site or not?