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Commonly Used Charts in Reports You can Create Automatically with Windward

Download the PDFLaptop with chart graphics coming out of the screen

The amount of data created every day is estimated at trillions of bytes. This is way too hard to keep up with and yet businesses today depend on data driven decisions to reach their goals. This is why data visualization is important. Charts offer a better and easier way to present data for quick interpretation in reports.

However, faced with an overwhelming amount of data and increasing pressure to get more done faster and without error, it can be daunting trying to create charts and graphs to explain market research, project analysis, and so much more. This is where report automation steps in to speed up the process of generating charts for your reports and other projects.

Report automation software like Windward simply requires a datasource to connect to and it will create stunning charts using the data provided. Even if you have all your data saved on an Excel sheet, you can automate the process of turning this data into a visually appealing chart that is easier to understand and remember.

Since different data sets may require different charts to present the information for maximum impact, the software provides various options. You can generate various types of charts. Here are some of the most commonly used.

Bar Charts and Column Charts

These are the most commonly used charts, but also often confused. Bar charts are horizontal while Columns are vertical. Bar charts are often used when you need more space to show values from left to right, whereas column charts offer more space from bottom to the top.

The categories of these charts are: Clustered, stacked and 3D.

Example of a column chart
Example of a bar chart

Pie Chart

This circular chart is used often to represent proportions or percentages. For example, a business can use it to show its market share in comparison to competitors. Usually, the values are not more than seven and none of them represents zero percent.

Example of a pie chart

Line Chart

A line chart can be derived from a column or bar chart. The values from these charts are plotted along the vertical and horizontal axis and a line is used to connect the plotted values. This chart helps to illustrate trends over a period of time. For example, demand for a product or sales figures for the year. In the medical field, it is also used to illustrate trends in infections or reports of particular occurrences. The types of line charts include: Line and line, line with marks, stacked line and 3D line chart.

Example of a line chart

Combo Chart

This is a combination of column charts and line charts. It can be used to represent the relationship between percentage and figures. For example, dollars represented in the line graph while percentage in the columns.

Example of a combo chart between a bar chart and a line graph

Scatterplot

You can generate this graph to illustrate correlation between two data sets. For example, daily adverts and sales figures. It's a combination of plotted points and a line showing the relationship.

Example of a scatterplot

Area Chart

Stacked data, for example, performance of different regional offices can be illustrated using an area graph instead of using bar charts. It gives a cumulative picture that is easier to understand especially for data collected over a long time.

Example of an area chart

There are several other charts that can be generated using Windward. Some can even be custom designed to suit particular projects.

A use case is if you have Windward linked to your CRM and you need to create a sales report. You might compile a table-based report and then go ahead to include charts to show trends in demand, impact of marketing campaigns on sales and finally the cumulative sales figures.

Windward will pull the necessary data from the CRM, calculate the necessary totals and then using the templates provided, create the necessary charts when you use the Chart tag.

In just a few minutes you will have an impressive sales report...of course that depends on how well you sold. Why not give it a try with our 14-day free trial?

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

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Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

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Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

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Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

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Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Written by:_
Genesis Abel

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