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Windward

All About the AutoTag Tags

Overview

This page will introduce you to the set of Windward Tags to show you when and why you might use a particular tag.  It also provides general information on AutoTag's Tags: inserting, deleting, naming, and more. 

What are AutoTag's Tags?

A tag essentially says, "When the report is run, go to the data source, find the data that I tell you should be in the report, and insert that information in the template in the place where I tell you." The template knows what data to insert based on how the tag is written, and the template knows where to put the data based on the location of the tag in the template.

 

In programming terms, a tag is simply a command applied to the database or other data source.

 

The Tags will appear as options in your MSOffice Ribbon.  See The AutoTag Interface for more information.

 

         

 

The Tags

Tag Colors

Once you start associating data with your tags, they no longer show their tag-type name -- instead they show part of the name of the data you associated, such as "Customers."  To help you know what kind of tag it is from a glance, each tag has an assigned color.

Stand-Alone Tags

Some Tags can be used alone.  Granted, they can't do much on their own, but they can still be used. You can use an Out Tag to pull in one image.  You could use an Import tag to pull in one sub-report. Combining them with a tag like the ForEach Tag can give you powerful results.

Paired or Grouped Tags

Some tags have a beginning and ending tag.  Like a car, you have to turn it on to use it, and you have to remember to turn it off.

Some of these tags must be used in conjunction with other related tags in order to do anything. They may also require the incorporation of stand-alone Tags. 

 

Brief Tag Info

 

Tag(s)

Color(s) Stand-Alone Tag? Uses
Out Tag

Blue

Yes
  • The most commonly used Tag. After inserting an Out Tag, you can assign it to pull one piece of data from your data source.  This can be a piece of text, an image, a sub-document, a URL, dates, times, and more. 
  • When used in conjunction with a ForEach Loop, it will pull one piece of data for each specified dataset.
  • They can be used in conjunction with other tags for more creative and powerful templates
Import Tag Purple Yes
  • After inserting an Import Tag, you can assign it to pull one piece of data from some place which is NOT in your data source (such as an image on your desktop, a legal document in your network files, a URL, or any other location that is not in your database).  This can be a piece of text, an image, a sub-document, a URL, dates, times, and more. 
  • They can be used in conjunction with other tags for more creative and powerful templates
Set Tag Chartreuse No
  • Normally, you might only need 1 or two Set Tags per document. 
  • The Set Tag is used to create a variable to limit or change the results of your Output by defining a named variable which can be referenced later by other tags.
  • It could be inserted and defined by itself, but it useless without other tags. 
ForEach and EndForEach Tags Orange No
  • These are the second most commonly used tags, and are some of the most powerful tags. 
  • This tag repeats through each node in a dataset that you define, just like aforeach statement in programming is used to iterate through an array or object collection.
  • Use these tags to create an iterative loop that returns data for any tag that is between the beginning and ending tag. We often refer to it as a ForEach Loop.
  • Use these tags with other tags to create documents or reports such as a set of individualized invoices or billing statements, inventory lists for multiple departments
  • ForEach Loops can be nested within other ForEach Loops
  • These tags must be used together.
Query Tag Fuscia No
  • This tag saves system resources by reducing calls to large SQL Databases. Designed primarily to be used with SQL databases, Query Tags let you save the results of a query and then later refer to the data retrieved by that query without having to re-access the database.
  • When inserted at the beginning of a document, all the data you associate this tag with will be available throughout the template to all the tags that follow.
If and EndIf Tags Forest Green No
  • Use these tags to create customized documents based on criteria that you set, using and If/Then statement. In simple terms, the If Tag says, "If the condition that was set is met, Then perform a particular action."
  • Use these tags to:
    • Print data only for one set of data, such as Belgian customers only.
    • Keep lines from printing in an inventory sheet if they are over-stocked. 
    • In a set of legal forms, print sections for married couples, but do not print sections regarding children if the dataset for Children is empty.
  • These tags must be used together.
  • They can be used in conjunction with other tags for more creative and powerful templates
Else Tag Fluorescent Green No
  •  Just like the If Tag, the Else Tag has two parts:
    • Evaluating if a condition (set by the If Tag) isn't met.
    • Determining what to do if the condition isn't met.
  • Use this tag for ideas like creating a set of invoices where, if the amount is past-due, a set of text that warns the customer of fines or other adverse actions is inserted.
  • The Else Tag must be used between the If and EndIf Tags.
  • It can be used in conjunction with other tags for more creative and powerful templates
Switch, Case, and EndSwitch Tags Brick Red, Crimson Red No
  • Use this tag to create a set of conditions and actions such as printing employees from different departments in different colors, or inserting an image of a flag for every country in your finished template.
  • These tags must be used together.
  • They can be used in conjunction with other tags for more creative and powerful templates
Link and EndLink Tags Gold No
  • Use these to create a clickable link in your final document, or to create a hyperlink to other places within the finished document.
  • These tags must be used together.
Bookmark Tag Blue Yes Use this tag to create clickable links to other sections within the finished document.
Chart Tag (none) Yes
  • This tag lets you create a variety of charts: column, bar, line, pie, scatter, doughnut and bubble. 
  • You can select a data set for the X and Y axes, and compare series on the same graph.
Function Tag, Drill Down Tag, Gauge Tag     Deprecated

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Using Tags

Inserting Tags

There are many ways to insert tags, and there are slightly different methods for adding tags in Excel versus Word and PowerPoint.

See our Adding Tags page or Tutorial to get started.

Tag Nicknames

When you click on an inserted tag, a Tag Properties section appears in the AutoTag Ribbon.  There are different options depending on the type of tag. Tag properties will be discussed on each tag's Reference page. 

 

One of the Properties options for almost all tags is to set a Nickname. We suggest in our Best Practices that you should re-name your tags. There are a few reasons:

  • Naming helps others to be able to understand what you're trying to accomplish with your template.
  • Naming helps you remember what you're trying to accomplish with a template if it has been some time since you used it and you don't remember.
  • Naming can make your template look cleaner. When you associate a large amount of data to a tag, the appearance changes to show you everything that is associated with the tag.
    • Below is an example of a nested ForEach loop with some Out Tags.  The first image shows the tag without a Nickname, while the second shows the same template after giving the tag a Nickname.

Editing Tags

See our article on Editing Tags.

 

Copying and Pasting Tags

We discourage copy/pasting tags as it can wreak havoc in your report.  You can freely copy/paste a tag that has no data associated with it, however, once you assign data to it, you must be careful to select the whole tag (brackets and all) in order to move it and keep all the data intact.

 

Deleting a Tag

It is important to use the Delete Tag button in the AutoTag Ribbon to make sure that you have completely cleared the tag's hidden code from your template.

 

Where can I put Tags?

Tags can be added into the Body, Headers, Footers, Footnotes, Tables, and even into Textboxes. See these pages for further information:

Document (Word) Limitations

DOCX Document Limitations

Limitations on Word FIELD Support

Textbox Limitations

SmartArt and Shapes Support and Limitations

Do Tags Show Up In My Final Output/Report?

Rest assured that your final report will not have bits of text that say "Set Tag" or "Query Tag" or "EndForEach."  Instead, the tag is replaced by the actual data you assign to it.  For tags like the Set or Query, they simply do not appear in the final document. See the example for Tags and Table/Cell Sizes below.

Do I create a new row or line for all the data I want to appear?

When you create a tagged document, you do not need to create a row or add new lines for all the data you anticipate to be returned when you Output. Instead, AutoTag automatically adds a row or line for each item that you tell it to; when you assign a set of data to a ForEach tag, it will create a row for each new piece of data that matches all the criteria that you set for it. (See the next example.)

Tags and Table/Cell Sizes

Even if your template looks too busy, or the cell height seems incorrect, the final report will have evenly spaced rows that accommodate the data you assigned to it.

Here, the tags have taken up enough space in the cell (under Product Name) that an extra line was needed.

Upon Output, the rows accommodate the actual text and number of rows of data that were selected.

Note that the all the tags under the Product Name cell had no effect on the cell height, and that rows have been automatically added for each piece of data.  In addition, there are no visible tags in the final document.

 

What's next?

Now that you know all about AutoTag's Tags, head to AutoTag 101 for more help, try out the tutorials at Windward Tutor, or start playing with our tagged Templates.