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7 Practical Ways Generated Reports Will Benefit Your Business


You may be reasonably familiar with document automation and probably considering introducing it to your business process.

The process of easy document generation offers incredible advantages to the business, and once generated how can they benefit your business? Time and money are usually key factors for businesses and we will begin with those advantages of document generation.

#1 Ensures Accuracy

There is a lot of embarrassment that you can avoid when you automate document generation. Inaccurate or outdated data, misspelled words, missing information, and unapproved inclusions maybe just some of the problems you would encounter with manually made documents. With auto-generated documents, the template is pre-approved and human error is eliminated to ensure up to date and accurate information in the document. You ensure that everyone gets it right the first time and there is no need for several edits.

#2 No More Time-Squandering Process

With generated documents, drafting, editing, and proofing are all done in the creation stage of the document. This means a lot of time savings with document automation that would have been spent typing and creating a document is eliminated. Generated documents are like fast-food, they are ready to go and that will save considerable time.

#3 Saves Money Considerably

One of the biggest expenses that so many businesses try to bring down is paper. So much money goes into buying the paper because you may need to print a draft and then another and another before you print the final copy. This is just a waste of paper and money. Generated documents do not have to be printed often when it comes to the best document generation software. This will save the business a lot of money in the long run. These documents can be created and then shared without having to use paper.

#4 Less Time Spent on Initiation Training

When you recruit new employees, you do not have to spend a lot of time explaining the document generation process and the standards that they will have to follow. Most of this is already in the template and the auto-generation takes care of the important aspects of the business standards so new employees do not need to learn so much to be able to create documents.

#5 Easy Storage and Access

Automatic report generation is easier to store since they can be stored on a general server or on the cloud. This means that you do not need to worry about physical files and cabinets to store these documents. And this kind of storage makes access easier because no matter where you are, you can access the documents as long as you have the permissions. This also means the documents are not just easy to store, they are also easy to carry around since if you have a computer or even a mobile device, the document can be accessed in just a few clicks.

#6 Better Collaboration with Clients

Generated documents give the business the ability to efficiently collaborate on projects with a client. If you need a client’s input on a document, you simply need to give them clearance to access that document wherever they are, this means you do not have to keep on going back and forth to physical addresses trying to get a project done. This enables faster delivery for the client and they are usually satisfied with the level of efficiency that they are served.

#7 Robust Security and Confidentiality Maintained

For some businesses, the issue of document sensitivity is very important. They need to ensure that sensitive documents do not land in the wrong hands. With generated documents, you are able to ensure different levels of security that suit your business. Only people with authorization can access particular documents and yet you do not need a lock-and-key process to ensure safety.

In Conclusion

The advantages of document generation are centered around efficiency and saving money. Your business will be able to serve its clients with better efficiency and at a reduced cost. The automated workflow that replaces the manual process will also make your employees happier.

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.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

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

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"

Rename a Datasource

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

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

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

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).

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

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.

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.

Tags are Color Coded

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

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.

Advanced Image Properties

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

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

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

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.

Genesis Abel

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Genesis Abel


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