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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS Assessment - Individual Reports - Mail Merge Issue : Special Characters in Technical; ...
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    SIMS Assessment - Individual Reports - Mail Merge Issue : Special Characters

    Hi all
    This had me struggling this morning for an hour

    We use assesment - individual reports for generating ROA's (we stopped using Profiles because it was so damn hard and inflexible).

    Anyway we have a "Comment Aspect" in the marksheet to capture teacher comments.

    One subject would randomly fail to display the "comment aspect" for some students.

    I thought it might be an issue with how I'd defined the ROA template ...word tables...and one cell having up to three comment aspects depending upon which 'course option' the student was studying.

    Anyway, I worked out what the problem was...the comments that would not appear had a pound symbol £ within the text (a teacher was telling parents about a revision book that costs £4).... I removed the £ and as if by magic the comments appeared

    BTW : The £ made the whole aspect comment dissapear not just the pound symbol

    I just wanted to share this with you in case it trips any of you up !

    Does anyone know of any other characters / symbols that will cause an issue ?

    Regards

    Phil

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwfc_nottingham View Post
    Hi all
    This had me struggling this morning for an hour

    We use assesment - individual reports for generating ROA's (we stopped using Profiles because it was so damn hard and inflexible).

    Anyway we have a "Comment Aspect" in the marksheet to capture teacher comments.

    One subject would randomly fail to display the "comment aspect" for some students.

    I thought it might be an issue with how I'd defined the ROA template ...word tables...and one cell having up to three comment aspects depending upon which 'course option' the student was studying.

    Anyway, I worked out what the problem was...the comments that would not appear had a pound symbol £ within the text (a teacher was telling parents about a revision book that costs £4).... I removed the £ and as if by magic the comments appeared

    BTW : The £ made the whole aspect comment dissapear not just the pound symbol

    I just wanted to share this with you in case it trips any of you up !

    Does anyone know of any other characters / symbols that will cause an issue ?

    Regards

    Phil
    That's a new one to me! Gonna try this on my own DB and see if I can replicate it, then get thinking of a solution...

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    No problem here.
    I think in the past we have had problems with symbols and certain characters, but usually it just replaces it with some gook.
    Nesting tables / cells can have an issue, but multiple aspects in a cell would only affect the rules regarding deleting rows that don't have any data.

    It might be that the symbol was entered using a non-standard keyboard? Or from a Mac or something and it's not recognised. If they copy pasted in from a strange format it could do something funny.

    Can you recreate the issue yourself?

  4. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    bwfc_nottingham (20th December 2013)

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    We're having a nightmare with Individual Report Templates and recently migrated to new PCs with Office 2010.

    If we insert a page break or anything like that - all of the report colums etc jump and get inserted in the wrong place at runtime. Everything is fine in the template, run it and it's broken.

    LEA team have been zero help. I sometimes wonder what I am paying them for!

    Anyone else come acros this problem? Reason we want to use a page break is because some kids have fewer subjects and some kids have more subjects and we always want the comments section on page 2 (not half way up page 1 or half way down page 2).

    Cheers!

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Page breaks worked okay for us I think but most templates just have a large table which acts as an automatic space controller so we don't use them.

    Depends on your template size but try to verify it to make sure all elements are okay.

    It can help to start from scratch and possibly even use office 2003 if you're in a rush.

    There are a couple of threads which list all the things to check when using 2010, from some M$ Patches to tweaking the Word settings. I think most are now in a sticky document on SupportNet but it's probably easier to find here.

    It's worth starting from scratch as if you've edited old templates and tables have become nested then they always go crazy.

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    When we do the individual reports and save the changes in office 2010 it does the same stuff. If i go to one old machine in the school with office 2003 on and open the word template, not make any changes but save it then save the individual report, it fixes it!!

    Really wierd and annoying, looking to change to office 2013 soon so hopefully that will solve it.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Yeah there are definitely issues with Office 2010. I have found that following this routine solves any problems 9 times out of 10:

    - Make any changes you need to
    - Save the template
    - Verify the template
    - Save again and close
    - Now back in SIMS, save the template and clone it
    - Open the template from the clone (do not save it!)
    - Without making any changes, verify and save the cloned template
    - Finally, save the cloned template in SIMS

    It's a bit of a pain but usually doing that means my cloned version of the template works fine, then I delete the original and rename the clone.

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    CAM
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    I've had issues with Individual Report ever since Office 2007 over two different schools, it only worked off the bat in Office 2003. I do the same as LosOjos but works after a second verify instead of cloning. Sometimes I have to delete and replace the Reg tag to make it work on older templates.

    I think I traced it to a spell-check problem in 2007 and disabling that works, but then you lose access to spell check as you go which is a nightmare for a serial typo maker like me. >.<

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    Cheers all nice to know I am not going mad.

    The most ironic thing is our LEA made us upgrade to Office 2010 from 2003 under pain of "you will not be supported if you stay on 2003" and now it doesn't bleedin work properly and they don't know how to fix it as they are still running on Office 2003!!!

    *facepalm*

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    I have found that most of the problems I have had with individual reports have been to do with how Word (whatever version) works with tables, especially when I have rows with different numbers of columns. I have been using Office 2013 for a while and have found it to be better than 2010 but I ALWAYS verify the template before saving.

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    It's definitely all in the verifying! In fact, you don't even need to specifically verify the document: just click the red cross in the top-right of the window and select "yes" when it asks if you want to save (the Verify macro gets automatically called when the window is killed).

    This is what I now do when I have a non-working template and it seems to work every time:

    • open the Word template
    • make a small change e.g. inserting a space and then deleting it (this is just to trick Word into thinking that a change has been made)
    • DO NOT SAVE THE DOCUMENT!
    • Instead, click the red cross (top-right) to close the window and then select "Yes" when you are asked if you want to save your changes.


    There is one other thing that seems to make a big difference: in a table, select the whole table and right-click and select Table Properties / Row and make sure that there is no tick against Allow Rows To Break Across Pages.

    Andy

  13. Thanks to ee31ag from:

    AButters (18th December 2013)

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Just closing and saving doesn't do an auto-verify, because if it did, it would take time, which it doesn't. Plus you'd get a results window.
    What it does do, is make sure the tags are saved properly as they should be, which doesn't happen if you manually choose to save.
    So defo close then save when prompted makes a difference.

    Verifying is most useful to check tags haven't been corrupted, i rarely do unless something really fishy is going on. Also the routine crashes for really large templates so it's useless.

  15. 2 Thanks to vikpaw:

    AButters (18th December 2013), bwfc_nottingham (20th December 2013)

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    Thanks!! Ill try that!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    No problem here.
    I think in the past we have had problems with symbols and certain characters, but usually it just replaces it with some gook.
    Nesting tables / cells can have an issue, but multiple aspects in a cell would only affect the rules regarding deleting rows that don't have any data.

    It might be that the symbol was entered using a non-standard keyboard? Or from a Mac or something and it's not recognised. If they copy pasted in from a strange format it could do something funny.

    Can you recreate the issue yourself?
    That's a good call re copy and paste vikpaw.......I know teachers have been cutting / copying and pasting comments .....the said teacher had told half a dozen pupils to buy the revision book at £4 and all those pupils lost the comment.... I didn't try to recreate the issue I just deleted the £ symbol and wrote pounds

    I've searched via google for special characters causing issues in word mailmerge and drawn a blank. Strange huhh. If I get some time over Christmas while the teachers are out of school I might try and recreate the problem. I don't see why a pound should cause the issue, so maybe there was a hidden dodgy character in the paste

    Merry Christmas

    Regards

    Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    Also the routine crashes for really large templates so it's useless.
    Vik, can you give more details on what you mean by large. I have some with around 200 and have not had any crashes that I can remember.

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