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Data Refresh from Excel (Import Properties)

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Ref: 201011081453AR
Last Edited: 31st August 2012
Applies to: Process Navigator, Excel Interface. 11.1 Onwards


The major addition to Process Navigator (PN) release 11.1 is the introduction of data refresh functionality called Import Properties. This enables properties to be imported into maps without the maps having to be redrawn, which is what currently happens with the generate from Excel functionality. 
To import properties from Excel into your process map, you can add the column for the desired property as normal. To see how properties are added, follow this KB article link HERE. A data refresh will do the following:
  • If the property does not exist, it will be added. 
  • If the property does exist, it will be overwritten. 
  • If a shape does not exist, no action will be taken. 
  • If a property needs to be set to a blank value, the value "trEmpty" can be entered into the cell. 
This feature will not work with Excel exports created prior to 11.1. In this case, the maps must be re-exported to Excel before being updated. 

For help with exporting files to Excel, please see the following article HERE

How to change an existing property

Please see HERE for more information
  1. Open Process Navigator and export map(s) to Excel 
  2. Open the resulting Excel file and change the required property. Save changes 
  3. Load map in Process Navigator. Select Multi-Map > Import > Import Properties. Select the Excel file and choose Loaded Maps (alternatively all maps in the multi-map root may be chosen). Click OK 
  4. Wait until processing has finished (Message “Finished load-time actions” appears in Progress window) 
  5. Open the map and view the Properties window for the changed shape. The property will reflect the changes made in Excel. 

How to add a new property

Please see HERE for more information
  1. Open Process Navigator and export map(s) to Excel 
  2. Open the resulting Excel file and insert a new column. Give the column a header name (in the format Prop:propertyname). 
  3. If the property is to be given a blank value, the word trEmpty should be added to all rows in this column. Otherwise, the required value or values can be entered as normal. If no value is entered, the property will not be added. 
  4. Repeat steps 3-5 in How to change an existing property
It is possible to delete unwanted columns and worksheets from the Excel file prior to importing properties, as long as the minimum content is left in place (see below). This is useful in making the file less "cluttered" and easier to navigate through. 

Minimum content required for Data Refresh:
  • First 4 columns (Shape Master, Reference, Text and Predecessors) 
  • GUID column (only for versions prior to 11.2)
  • Process Elements and Filenames sheets 
An automated task has been added which allows a modified Excel file (or files) to be imported as part of a batch process, for example, an overnight Publish. 

In order for this to be implemented the following steps must be taken: 
  1. Add the following line into the Website Publication section of the publication_tasks.xml after the SETMULTIMAPROOT task. This will need to be done for each site. <Task Type="IMPORTPROPERTIES" ExcelFilePath="C:\Triaster\ImportFolder" /> 
  2. Edit the path to give the folder name where the Excel file will be picked up from 
It will be possible to add more than one Excel file into the folder. However this is must be used with caution due to the risk of data being accidentally over-written. If more than one Excel file is present, the files will processed in date order starting with the oldest.

If different files are being used to hold different properties, the Excel file should only contain those property columns for which data is being imported. If this is not done, required property values may be over-written with blank values.

Once a map has been exported to Excel, individual properties of shapes within the map can be modified without the need to use Import from Excel. The map is not recreated from scratch (as with Import from Excel) so there will be no change to the layout.

Note: it is not possible to change a property name using Data Refresh. 
Note: Import Properties will only work for properties data. This is data stored in columns which specify Prop in their column name. Therefore the Shape Master or Text columns will not update if using Import Properties.

Need further help? Contact the Triaster Support team by e-mailing or by calling us on +44 (0)870 402 1234.
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