Overview - The 5 Steps of AutoTag
Windward AutoTag is our solution for creating custom reports and documents from one or multiple sources in Microsoft Office. Here, you can get started with learning to use AutoTag. This page is is intended to give enough information to give you a good understanding and ability to get started. If you need additional information, we have included links to other pages that give much more detail!
The 5 Steps are:
The 5 Steps of Using AutoTag
Step 1: Install AutoTag
First, you need to get AutoTag installed. Click here for more detailed instructions.
Run the program WindwardWebInstall.exe.
Enter your AutoTag license key when prompted.
Start Microsoft Word or Excel.
When Word or Excel first starts, it may indicate that you do not have a valid license. Click Yes. At the prompt, copy and paste your license key into the license key field.
Verify that the AutoTag menu is available by opening MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. If AutoTag is not present, please reboot your system.
For troubleshooting, see the Instructions page.
After AutoTag is installed, two new features appear on your Microsoft Programs tool bars. Learn more about the AutoTag interface here.
Step 2: Create a Data Connection
From MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint, navigate to the AutoTag Manager tab. Once on the AutoTag Manager tab, click on the upper half of the Data Sourcesbutton. This will open the data source Connection Editor.
Note that if you click on the bottom half, you will get a dropdown menu which lists data sources that are already connected; this may be blank.
(These instructions are for SQL databases. Please see below for other types)
1. In the Connection Editor window, in the New tab, click on SqlServer Database under SQL data sources. The Details pane will change to prompt you for your data source details.
2. Enter a Nickname for your data source connection. It is best practice to always assign a nickname to your datasource in the Name field. This will make your life much easier down the road when working with templates or tracking down issues.
3. Enter the database name here. This will auto-populate from the server once the server is set. In most cases you will need to set your username & password in order for AutoTag to auto-populate the list. You can type in the name or select from the list. To use Windward's sample database, use mysql.windward.net.
4. Fill in your credentials or opt to use your Windows Identity. To use Windward's sample database, use User Id=demo, and password=demo
5. Display Tables - User and User Owned are the same thing for MySQL. User will pull the metadata of the tables (only) created for a database. System will also pull the system tables MySQL adds to the database used to administer and configure each database.
6. Click Connect, and then Test your connection. If all parameters and credentials are correct and a connection is made, you will receive a successful notification. Clicking Close will save your information.
Step 3: Create a Report Template
A "report template" is simply a report document without any data. This single document can be used over and over to create specific or individualized reports.
Simply open MS Word, Excel, or Powerpoint and create a document which looks the way you would like your final report to look, leaving blank areas for Tags (Step 4) which will populate the area with the data you want to appear once you run your report in Steps 5. You can create the template to display almost anything you'd like, including headers, footers, borders, bullet points, numbered outlines, page breaks, images, backgrounds colors, multiple fonts and more.
Important: Make sure to save this template as a normal document (.doc, .docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.) and not as a ".dot" or other template-file extension.
Here's an example of a template in Word. Note the blank areas that have been created where you would like the report data to appear:
Step 4: Add Tags to a Report Template
Now that you have created a way to retrieve your data through AutoTag (Step 2) and designed a template (Step 3), you're ready to link the two. This is what is known as "tagging" -- adding data placeholders to a template.
There are numerous ways to add tags (drag and drop, wizards, and more), and we won't walk through those here. For step-by-step tutorials on adding tags, head over to the Windward Tutor.
After adding Tags, our report shown in Step 3 will now look like the report below.
Step 5: Generate Your Report
Once you have a report with tags, you can run it with up-to-the-second data. You simply choose the desired Output with a button click from the AutoTag menu.
Here's how our report from appears as a PDF:
Learning More About AutoTag
For more information about AutoTag, we offer Tutorials, Videos, and Help Articles.
We strongly recommend Windward Tutor. Here you'll find:
- Introductory tutorials
- Feature-specific walkthroughs
- Steps for connecting to your data source
Quick Start Video
You can watch a Quick Start Video, which will walk you through the basic AutoTag functionality.